This may be more of a motor vehicle question, but since I'm asking about batteries, I think it may be more suited here.

As we know, electronics don't like the cold.

As we also know, last week was real cold.

Now, I've had my fair share of phone troubles in the cold before. For a short while, I lived in the north, and in extreme cold my phone would arbitrarily turn off if I held it out too long. I was wondering if electric cars suffered the same effect at all.

As I understand it Teslas use (in part) Li-ion batteries, like my phone does, and these are the kinds I've heard have the most problems in extreme temperatures. Assuming they follow the same principles as my phone, then driving out of a warm garage may mean your car will arbitrarily turn off on the road. I imagine that's undesirable behavior for a car.

Did this front affect electric cars at all? If not, what measures have the manufactures taken to protect their electrics against this?

Note: I'm not asking about these cars having trouble starting; that's an issue in all cars. But where gas-powered cars primarily rely on batteries to start, electric cars rely on them to keep moving. I am asking if the cold affected the batteries of already-running electric cars.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ This question is primarily a matter of opinion since only the manufacturers have access to that information and likely only allow authorized spokespeople to divulge it. Voting to close. \$\endgroup\$ – Charles Cowie Jan 10 '18 at 22:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ A better question is did the people in the cars freeze without any heat from the engine to keep them warm.... \$\endgroup\$ – Trevor_G Jan 11 '18 at 4:41

Telsa Owner's Manual, page 83

"Temperature limits:
Do not expose Model S to ambient temperatures above 140F (60C) or below -22F (-30C) for more than 24 hours at a time."

It's an explicit warning from the manufacturer, who knows that the batteries and electronics will be affected in sub zero weather. So yes, they are affected.

Of course, batteries in use will experience self heating, so they will not be exposed to the same temperature as ambient weather, so should not see as much as a performance hit as inactive batteries.


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