# Problem with Electric Vehicles

Discussion in 'Aircraft Design / Aerodynamics / New Technology' started by Aerowerx, Feb 5, 2019.

1. Feb 5, 2019

### Aerowerx

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I heard this yesterday.

The cold spell we had a week or two ago caused a real problem with electric vehicles.

The batteries don't work when they are cold! Some Tesla owners even complained that they couldn't even get in to their cars, because the locks are electric.

If you wanted a battery operated aircraft you would be limited to warmer weather, and would have to watch the temperature at altitude.

The IC engine wins again!

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2. Feb 5, 2019

### Victor Bravo

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If it was so cold the Tesla batteries would not open the door lock, then how could a Die Hard conventional battery start an IC engine in the same amount of cold?

3. Feb 5, 2019

### Derswede

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Tesla has more of a range problem with the cold. Their batteries lose around 30-40% capacity in cold temps. A DieHard or similar Lead Aid battery has a bit less loss than the Lion battery in the Tesla. Several sites I looked at say a Lead-Acid battery loses only about 20%, other sites say more, but some lost range/capacity. (tough to hand-prop a car)

The door problem is one that several owners have encountered, the funky door latch freezes shut. Tesla's hilarious "fix" was to carry one of those "Handwarmer" pads to help melt ice and let the handle move. "I just spent HOW MUCH on this car and I have to do WHAT to get into this "SmartCar?"

A local AAA guy here got called about a Tesla that was out of battery and on the side of the road. Yes, he did show up with a 5 gal gas jug. Said he did not have enough extension cords to help him out. Car ended up having to be towed. Bit tougher when installed in a plane. When do you declare an emergency??? when power is down to 5%? Lots of unanswered questions with Electric flight. (OAT as 55K feet? "This is the captain speaking, thank you for flying Sparky Airlines with our full electric airplanes. You can collect you carbon credits at the end of your flight. Also, if any of you have an extender battery for your personal electronics, please plug it into the USB port in your armrest at this time. We are descending now, so battery life will rapidly improve in a holding pattern for landing, but we need a bit more juice to extend our flight time. You will get an extra 100 carbon credits if you can do so.

Thank you for Flying SPARKY AIRLINES! This flight will continue to Atlanta as soon as we can start charging the batteries after landing.

Derswede

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4. Feb 5, 2019

### Jay Kempf

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That's not the door story I heard. Tesla, in order to be stylish design a very tight fitting flush door handle that you have to sort of open like a fuel door, push on one side and open with the handle that pops out. Well, a little humidity or freezing rain and guess what... Can't move it.

I have been driving Audi's with winter packages for years. Hold up on the driver's side door handle and the whole thing is heated and thaws itself . Seems frivolous until you are stuck in the ski area parking lot after hours in a 40mph wind at -10F. Then it is a life saver.

Electric cars are not going to have very good range in the cold.

5. Feb 5, 2019

### Aerowerx

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Well, I guess I misheard what was said. I thought they were talking about electric locks.

6. Feb 5, 2019

### Dan Thomas

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Besides cold batteries losing their range, the Tesla also has electric heating for the cabin. Electric heat is famous for using a lot of amperage. Just keeping the windshield defrosted would take plenty.

7. Feb 5, 2019

### Aerowerx

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Apples and Oranges. One grows where it is warm. The other where it is cold (at least in the winter). Don't ever remember seeing an orange orchard in Michigan, but I suppose you could grow apples in Florida if you wanted to.

8. Feb 5, 2019

### Aerowerx

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I suppose you could install a gasoline engine in your Tesla and use the exhaust to keep the batteries warm.:roll:

9. Feb 5, 2019

### Victor Bravo

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Not a gas engine, make it coal fired, just to remind our Tesla and Prius owners where their clean energy comes from

10. Feb 5, 2019

### lr27

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Perhaps electric cars up north could have insulated battery compartments with ventilation. Ditto airplanes. I suspect that defrosting windshields still wouldn't make electric cars have the carbon footprint of ones fueled directly by rotted dinosaurs.

Only SOME of the electricity comes from coal. A diminishing amount.

When I was growing up in Vermont, on really cold days we'd plug in the heater in the car 1/2 hour before we needed it to make sure it was warm enough to start. One could do the same for electric cars.

Wish all you want, but electric cars are coming. And they'll blow you away at stop lights.

11. Feb 6, 2019

### Aerowerx

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My purpose in starting this thread was not to start gas vs electric car argument, but to point out a disadvantage to battery powered electric aircraft.

12. Feb 6, 2019

### Pops

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Electric vehicles at this time are not quite as advanced as the first Model T Ford when it went on the market in 1908.

13. Feb 6, 2019

### BBerson

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My iPad was outside in 30°F for about 15 minutes today and it shut itself off. I brought it in to warm up and turned it back on.
Not sure I want any of that in an airplane.

14. Feb 6, 2019

### Vigilant1

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Some do already--warm up the car and (especially) the battery pack using grid power before the user needs to drive. It helps somewhat, but it still takes a lot of juice to run the cabin heater (approx 25% as much as it takes to power the car at cruise--so a significant range hit). The upscale electric cars have electrically warmed seats to help reduce the need for cabin heat.

Yep, when I can recharge one in 5 minutes (as I do my IC car), at many streetcorners and most exits on the freeway (as I can my IC car), and then drive 300 miles in any weather (like I do my IC car), then I'll start looking at them.

It will be interesting to see how a hurricane evacuation from S. Florida works when electric cars get more popular. To be heard somewhere on I-75 northbound: "Yep, you're 10th in line for this charger, so just 5 hours to wait. That 30 minutes of Supercharger juice should get you another 150 miles -woo-hoo! Getting a little breezy, ain't it? Go inside and get another $10 cheese sandwich while you wait." BJC likes this. 15. Feb 6, 2019 ### Hot Wings ### Hot Wings #### Well-Known MemberHBA Supporter Joined: Nov 14, 2009 Messages: 6,112 Likes Received: 2,072 Location: Rocky Mountains Or a cordless drill. I've started to buy old school NiCads for mine. Lost too many of the OEM lithium due to leaving them out in the cold for too long. 16. Feb 6, 2019 ### Aerowerx ### Aerowerx #### Well-Known Member Joined: Dec 1, 2011 Messages: 4,704 Likes Received: 1,247 Location: Marion, Ohio I had a turbocharged diesel VW Jetta once. I could go 1000 miles on a tankful (but never actually tried it---the most I did was 800 miles). How many electric cars can go 800 miles with a 200 mile reserve on a single fill up? That was back when diesel fuel was under$2.00 a gallon. Sure wish I had kept the thing.

17. Feb 6, 2019

### henryk

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18. Feb 6, 2019

### recmob

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My daily driver is a 2015 Leaf. Though I'm based in FL, we do see cold temps here - though nothing like they have in the NE this year. My car sits outside, and I have seen 30 degrees overnight. The Leaf is not a high end car. It has heated seats, heated steering wheel, and normal cabin heating. I have the base model, so the general heater is like a toaster Upgraded models use the waste side of the AC compressor for heat.

I've got 88,500 miles on my car in 4.4 years. Even with the replacement cost of a battery (IF I had to replace it right now), it would be slightly less then cost of my wife's Kia. Charging isn't an issue at all. Here at my shop (and home) I charge on 220, and it takes roughly 4 hrs to full. Fast charge (not Tesla) takes me 20 minutes, and I've only had to do that a handful of times.

Yes batteries do lose some of their capacity when its cold out, but I don't believe its as big a thing as people make it out to be. I'm sure other cars have the same feature, but the Leaf can be 'told' when I want it topped off and the car will start charging at night whenever its needed to achieve the time set. I have mine set to finish roughly a 1/2 hr before I leave for work, and of charging by nature creates heat, so I've never had any issues.

To date the only work done to the car is normal things: 2 sets of wiper blades, 2 gallons of washer fluid, one set of tires, and a brake line flush. No oil changes, washing the car is super easy - no exhaust crud on the rear of the car. I only wish it had a longer range, but for what I use it for it gets the job done.

For those who want to laugh at driving a electric car: I also have a 2003 Dodge Ram 3500 Cummins. Up until buying this car, it WAS my daily driver and cost me on average of $420/month in diesel. The Leaf?$35 to \$40 a month for the SAME mileage. Can't beat it... and yes, I've smoked some pickups off the line with it.

I've been slowly working on my own ultralight design, first to be powered with the PPG engine and then electric. I have some parts made, but this problem of having to work on client aircraft to keep the doors open is a problem getting in the way

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19. Feb 7, 2019

### pwood66889

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Had that problem before I moved to Florida myself. Do a bit on my LePelican now and then - like today. PM me some time. Percy up in Sopchoppy

20. Feb 7, 2019

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