dlukesmith
Posts: 2
Joined: Mon Aug 11, 2014 8:09 am

Cold Weather Range Anxiety

Mon Aug 11, 2014 11:11 am

I am strongly considering purchasing a 2014 FFE for use in the mountain west (pretty cold winters), and I am having some anxiety about my commute of 63 miles, 31.5 miles each way, almost all highway. Unfortunately there is no charge outlet available at my destination. The post “120v charging outdoors” concerns me with mentions of just over 50 mile range in the winter by twscrap.

My initial research suggested that the range seemed adequate, and that many users reported much better range than 76 miles, when driven conservatively. But this new information regarding winter driving is making me think twice. More than 30% loss in range just because of the cold? REALLY?? Are my dreams dashed?? I would like to hear more experience in cold weather climates in addition to jmueller065’s blog and other posts within “120v charging outdoors”.

I understand the benefits of not usiing the heater on trip like this, but is there any other experience with extending the range?

This also may be why these vehicles are only readily available in the more temperate climates.

Also, Sefs mentioned there is only 19.5 kWh of capacity. Is that for the 2013 FFE? I thought the 2014 has a 23 kWh battery, as mentioned on ford.com. Thanks!

ElSupreme
Posts: 89
Joined: Sat May 03, 2014 7:31 am
Location: Atlanta, GA

Re: Cold Weather Range Anxiety

Mon Aug 11, 2014 11:54 am

dlukesmith wrote:I am strongly considering purchasing a 2014 FFE for use in the mountain west (pretty cold winters), and I am having some anxiety about my commute of 63 miles, 31.5 miles each way, almost all highway. Unfortunately there is no charge outlet available at my destination. The post “120v charging outdoors” concerns me with mentions of just over 50 mile range in the winter by twscrap.

My initial research suggested that the range seemed adequate, and that many users reported much better range than 76 miles, when driven conservatively. But this new information regarding winter driving is making me think twice. More than 30% loss in range just because of the cold? REALLY?? Are my dreams dashed?? I would like to hear more experience in cold weather climates in addition to jmueller065’s blog and other posts within “120v charging outdoors”.

I understand the benefits of not usiing the heater on trip like this, but is there any other experience with extending the range?

This also may be why these vehicles are only readily available in the more temperate climates.

Also, Sefs mentioned there is only 19.5 kWh of capacity. Is that for the 2013 FFE? I thought the 2014 has a 23 kWh battery, as mentioned on ford.com. Thanks!
Cold weather takes a serious hit out of EVs. The air is much denser and thus adds significantly to aerodynamic losses. The cold limits the full capacity of Li-Ion batteries, so you can't really get 100%. And heat is a large power draw, and so a good amount of charge is used for heat and not propulsion. Cold tires are less pliable and typically are less efficient in the cold.

As for 23kWh versus 19kWh. Both are true. There is ~19kWh of usable energy in the battery, with ~4kWh used for battery protection. This is to keep the batteries healthy, and from becoming permanently damaged. You don't want to keep the battery at very high or very low SOC (particularly when hot) so Ford hides the top and bottom of the battery. Also if the SOC of the battery drops below a certain threshold it is permanently damaged. So Ford also keeps a good buffer above this point. All of this added together is the 'missing' 4kWh of pack space.
Last edited by ElSupreme on Mon Aug 11, 2014 11:56 am, edited 1 time in total.
Think with dispassion; Speak with equanimity; Act in calm.

2012 Tesla Model S 85, Green
2014 Ford Focus Electric, Ice Storm

hybridbear
Posts: 1425
Joined: Mon Apr 07, 2014 12:46 pm
Location: Minneapolis

Re: Cold Weather Range Anxiety

Mon Aug 11, 2014 11:55 am

dlukesmith wrote:I am strongly considering purchasing a 2014 FFE for use in the mountain west (pretty cold winters), and I am having some anxiety about my commute of 63 miles, 31.5 miles each way, almost all highway. Unfortunately there is no charge outlet available at my destination. The post “120v charging outdoors” concerns me with mentions of just over 50 mile range in the winter by twscrap.

My initial research suggested that the range seemed adequate, and that many users reported much better range than 76 miles, when driven conservatively. But this new information regarding winter driving is making me think twice. More than 30% loss in range just because of the cold? REALLY?? Are my dreams dashed?? I would like to hear more experience in cold weather climates in addition to jmueller065’s blog and other posts within “120v charging outdoors”.

I understand the benefits of not usiing the heater on trip like this, but is there any other experience with extending the range?

This also may be why these vehicles are only readily available in the more temperate climates.

Also, Sefs mentioned there is only 19.5 kWh of capacity. Is that for the 2013 FFE? I thought the 2014 has a 23 kWh battery, as mentioned on ford.com. Thanks!
I don't think you could make the trip in winter without charging at work. We haven't had our car for winter yet to be able to tell you more than Jamie can though in his blog.

As far as the battery - 23 kWh is the total capacity, however, not all of it is useable. The useable capacity seems to be about 19.5 kWh. Edit: I see that EISupreme beat me to the battery capacity answer by a minute ;)
2013 Ford Focus Electric - Ice Storm - leased through 8/15/16
Replaced by a 2016 Tesla Model S 60D

EVA
Posts: 874
Joined: Tue Aug 06, 2013 9:10 pm
Location: Chicago Area

Re: Cold Weather Range Anxiety

Mon Aug 11, 2014 7:48 pm

With no charging at work - you would be really close.

The biggest drop in range in the winter by FAR is heating the cabin. All the other losses are insignificant in comparison.

There are two schools of thought:
1) You'll get 60 miles of range when the weather drops below 45. This assumes you want to heat the cabin, even a little.
2) You'll get the full 70 or more miles of range, but you'll use the seat heaters and blankets to stay warm. (You'll also preheat the car before you leave).

JMueller has an excellent blog describing how he gets great range in the winter - he's a sturdy soul.

One more caveat, if you drive around 45MPH, you'll do much better than 60 in the winter. The elevation changes you are probably looking at, almost work out to be moot unless you drive up the mountain really fast, or your outbound is all downhill and you have a fully charged battery (you will lose regen energy with a full battery).
2014 Platinum White FFE (Turning in mid Dec. 2016 25,000 miles)
2013 Ingot Silver FFE
2012 Titanium ICE Focus
2014 Tesla Model S 85

jmueller065
Posts: 2398
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Location: Southeastern MI
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Re: Cold Weather Range Anxiety

Tue Aug 12, 2014 3:49 am

EVA wrote:JMueller has an excellent blog describing how he gets great range in the winter - he's a sturdy Soul.
Thanks! I think (note: A heavy winter jacket helps LOL).

You must be talking about posts like this one:
http://jamiegeek.myevblog.com/2014/01/2 ... pring-yet/
2018 Cajun Red Chevy Bolt
2016 Magnetic C-Max Energi (lease returned)
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dmen
Posts: 218
Joined: Sun Dec 09, 2012 4:05 pm
Location: Illinois

Re: Cold Weather Range Anxiety

Tue Aug 12, 2014 5:23 pm

EVA wrote: The biggest drop in range in the winter by FAR is heating the cabin. All the other losses are insignificant in comparison.

There are two schools of thought:
1) You'll get 60 miles of range when the weather drops below 45. This assumes you want to heat the cabin, even a little.
2) You'll get the full 70 or more miles of range, but you'll use the seat heaters and blankets to stay warm. (You'll also preheat the car before you leave).
...
One more caveat, if you drive around 45MPH, you'll do much better than 60 in the winter.
Have to disagree a bit. Even without cabin heating you are not going to get 70 or more miles of range in subfreezing temps. I regularly drive to a town 70 miles away on country roads, averaging 40mph, flat the whole way. In summer I arrive with >10% left; in winter I have to charge along the way even if I try to tough it out without cabin heating.

In my experience freezing weather leads to a usable capacity of under 17 kWh so even if getting 250Wh/mi or 4mi/kWh (nice weather numbers correlating to 60mph), you can go 68 miles at best. For various reasons you won't actually see 250wh/mi in the middle of winter, at least not at highway speeds, before you even consider cabin heating. You could probably make it 63 miles if it isn't snowing, but it would be very very close.

And going without cabin heating is sometimes easier said than done. Jamie can manage to go without heated air because his commute takes 20 minutes. Drive 45mph for 30 miles and you are in your car for 40 minutes. Frost on windshield will develop, nose will be numb, and even if you trudge through it, why would you choose to suffer just to make it barely work?

To the original poster- If you have a second car for those admittedly few days that winter throws its worst at you, you will love your quiet smooth FFE ride during the other 3 seasons. But if you have to fret over each minute you run the heater, drive in ski gear to keep from shivering, choose between driving slower than everyone else on the highway or using surface roads that are sure to be last to be plowed, etc, you will not love this car.

Last thought- any public charging options on the route? 30 minutes at a level 2 charger will get you 3 kWh, adding 10 miles range or so and giving enough of a cushion to reliably make it with modest heater use. Adding 30 minutes to a commute home might not be so bad depending on how often you'd have to do it. I wouldn't count this option valid unless there are several charging options... I've seen enough public chargers break, get abandoned or otherwise disappear to not count on any particular one.
2013 Ice Storm FFE, Dec 2012

dlukesmith
Posts: 2
Joined: Mon Aug 11, 2014 8:09 am

Re: Cold Weather Range Anxiety

Wed Aug 13, 2014 8:10 am

Thanks to everyone for your replies. This has been very useful. In response to dmen, I do have another ICE vehicle which could be used for winter days, so I could just trade with my wife for that season. Great advice. However, during spring, summer and fall when the temps are > 45 degrees, is it still likely to get greater than 65 miles if I drive most of that at around 65mph? There is only about 150 ft of net elevation gain, however it gets quite steep right near the destination. That may or may not be an issue due to the regenerative breaking recouping SOME of that.

I wish I could just try the FFE out for a while, but these car dealerships seem to lock you in to a purchase or a lease once you sign... Thanks again!

michael
Posts: 1113
Joined: Sun Sep 22, 2013 9:55 am
Location: Los Angeles, CA

Re: Cold Weather Range Anxiety

Wed Aug 13, 2014 9:25 am

One of my friends is looking into a RAV 4 EV but commutes through the mountains and needs to keep warm in the winter. We found 12 V electric blankets on Amazon for just a few dollars.
2013 FFE Returned after 3 years with 52,000 miles and battery down to 15.2 kWh
2014 Volt returned with 43,000 miles
2014 Volt 26,000 miles
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1962 Corvette 327
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mcowger
Posts: 32
Joined: Sun Jun 22, 2014 1:24 pm

Re: Cold Weather Range Anxiety

Wed Aug 13, 2014 10:46 am

dlukesmith wrote:Thanks to everyone for your replies. This has been very useful. In response to dmen, I do have another ICE vehicle which could be used for winter days, so I could just trade with my wife for that season. Great advice. However, during spring, summer and fall when the temps are > 45 degrees, is it still likely to get greater than 65 miles if I drive most of that at around 65mph? There is only about 150 ft of net elevation gain, however it gets quite steep right near the destination. That may or may not be an issue due to the regenerative breaking recouping SOME of that.

I wish I could just try the FFE out for a while, but these car dealerships seem to lock you in to a purchase or a lease once you sign... Thanks again!

I do the VAST majority of my driving at 65 MPH on freeways. I get 75+ miles range.

WattsUp
Posts: 2113
Joined: Mon Jan 07, 2013 2:58 am
Location: SF Bay Area, CA

Re: Cold Weather Range Anxiety

Wed Aug 13, 2014 3:52 pm

mcowger wrote:I do the VAST majority of my driving at 65 MPH on freeways. I get 75+ miles range.
You live in an area with a moderate climate and mostly flat terrain, I presume?
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