Archive for March, 2015

The SilverLeaf Navigates Its First Winter… And Copes with “Range Anxiety”: TheSilverLeaf Chronicles 4

Contributed by Dr. Sarah

It’s been a cold winter in Chicago. And electric cars are known to have less battery range in cold weather. Creating “range anxiety.” The SilverLeaf has been tested.

Lake Michigan, March 2015

Lake Michigan, March 2015

Just how severely has my NissanLEAF been tested in its first winter?

Let’s just say it hasn’t been this cold in February in nearly 140 years– going back to 1875. The average temperature in February, 2015 was a painful 14.6 degrees. There were days with wind chills of 30 degrees below– eye-ball-hurting-cold. Beautiful, but cold.

How has The SilverLeaf fared on this test? Not badly.

I’ve charged the car pretty much every chance I could. I plug in every night at home (instead of every 2-3 nights in warmer weather), and at the office where I work downtown three days a week, where I park in a lot where I can plug into one of the numerous outlets on the wall. I even charged at a ChargePoint station — for a couple of bucks– at Walgreen’s when I went in for an urgent care appointment– I’d never used a public charging station while running errands before.

I use the heat judiciously because the heater drains the battery.  On milder winter days–especially if the sun is beating down into the car– I’ll turn the heat off for a bit after I’ve warmed the car up.  I use the heated seat all the time and the heated steering wheel– which is quite nice.

We’ve had quite a bit of snow– not like the 9 feet of snow they got in my native Boston– but we’ve had some blizzards. The car held the road quite well. It got stuck on top of a pile of snow in the alley, but that had to do with the pile of snow, not the design of the car.

So The SilverLeaf has done quite well. I’ve had a bit more “range anxiety” than in the summer. (Can you tell I like using “range anxiety?” It’s the psychologist in me!) But all I’ve had to do is be more vigilant about charging.

Yes, it’s been a really cold, icy, snowy winter in much of the US. But lest we forget about the poorly-named problem of global warming– global temperatures are on average still rising at a very concerning rate. The thing is that we don’t just get warm weather, we get weird weather– like 20 inches of snow in Kentucky– which is why I call it “global weirdness.” And why I drive an all-electric car.  Because I love my kids. And I feel a moral obligation to the children of the world to do my part to tackle global weirdness– cold winters, heightened “range anxiety” and all.

March 9, 2015 at 9:00 pm Leave a comment


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