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  eDrive - Consumption in Winter

If you now think that this chapter is about consumption during winter driving, we have misled you a little with this title. There's a lot of information to this subject in this book. Tesla fans report a 20 percent increase in consumption at just less than 20°C temperature reduction, although this figure depends very much on the circumstances. The additional consumption can rise to 50 percent above two-digit minus degrees.

No, this chapter certainly does not deal with seat heating instead of vehicle heating. Everyone knows, after all, about the potentially drastic collapse of the range of an electric car and adjusts the heating that way. We are concerned here with the losses, if the vehicle is not moving. Here we simulate that someone owns an e-car, but still uses airplanes. People which encounter range problems on the long haul by short flights (heretical remark).

No, we will try to remain neutral, so take our information straight from Tesla fans who certainly do not carry false evidence against their car. However, we pay attention to displays that are shown and even keep counting. The first information obtained in this way is a consumption of approx. 5 kWh in a twelve-hour night, put in the garage at 0 to -10°C and taken out cold at -10 to -20°C.

Mind you, in this case there was no loading, because then there would be no problems at all. The lack of charges would have been compensated. Now you can say of course, 5 kWh, that is estimated at least 20 km range, perhaps also a little more, but what should seriously limit this? We think so, because we park the e-car at the airport now in winter. Or somewhere without electricity and just because of severe frost and appropriate weather do not use a certain time. Take a Tesla Model 3 with 75 kWh, wisely charged to 80 percent. Then after 4 days we would have reached the critical 20 kWh.

This is the temperature at which a Tesla automatically switches off the heating of the battery and thus drastically reduces overall power consumption so that it cannot drop to zero after another two days and has to be towed, pardon, lifted onto a transporter. How such a car can be started below 20 percent in winter is something we are still waiting for, probably just like the driver, until the battery has been sufficiently warmed up.

Now you know why it is said in the manual that you should leave the car plugged in. No, we are not (yet) bothered by the additional consumption, but by the possible disadvantage of a battery that could not be warmed up for a long time at low temperatures.

For vehicles with combustion engines, by the way, 50 mA is considered a limit, e.g. for troubleshooting. It should be noted that this value applies in summer as well as in winter, where the additional consumption is kept within very narrow limits. So it would be a maximum of 0.05 A at 12 V, making 0.0072 kWh in twelve hours. Every car with an intact 12V battery would have to start up perfectly even after six weeks and more.

But what do the 'poor' owners of electric cars when they have to travel for long periods in winter? A place in the garage with electricity from the power grid or other appropriately equipped parking space solves the problem, but what do the others do? Of course, six weeks are now very long, but somebody can get sick. The costs then add up to well over 100 Euro for household electricity, but in our latitudes the cold weather may not last that long.

Other electric cars are much less maintenance-intensive. They can also be left outside for many more days in the cold. However, when the battery is cold, they punish you with deficits in engine performance or, actually much worse, in recuperation. But at least you can get into such a cold car and drive straight away.

Unfortunately, some batteries heat up relatively slowly depending on the driving mode.

If you don't have a Diesel with additional electric heating, an electric car warms up much faster than one with combustion engine, at least at the neuralgic points, e.g. the windshield. However, this reduces the range even more. In addition, you should always have enough cargo (and blankets) on board for any longer traffic jams.

It is also important how the heating is done. Once again the heat pump must be mentioned. However, one should not expect miracles from it. If the outside air has less than -10°C, it will also be difficult for the heat pump, because it takes the heat from the outside air. At local temperatures, which are usually higher, it saves energy and thus increases the range.

But think about the battery again now. After all, it's not cheap to replace. And a new warranty is often only available for less than 70 percent. Tesla will already have a reason for the enormous energy that the battery is given during cold standstill. Hopefully the system won't also keep records of days with particularly low battery temperatures.

In addition to the expected service life and energy output, the high-voltage battery is also problematic when it is charging. The speed in kWh then sometimes drops to single-digit values, even on the fast charger. In winter, combine the time of charging with the battery temperature. Charge even before arrival, although you would easily reach your destination with the available energy.

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