I’ve noticed what seems like an odd phenomenon in these cold temperatures. When the battery only has one bar of warmth there is no regenerative braking. This morning when I drove down the hill to the interstate which is normally done in almost entirely regen mode there was no regen occurring. Could it be that a cold battery can’t absorb this power? Once I got two bars of battery warmth I got some regenerative power but not the same level as I have seen on milder, as in above zero degree, days.
There is also no question that the cold weather does zap range. I’ve been charging it up to 100% which gives me enough to keep the cabin warm and make it to and from Burlington even at 11 below, which was this morning’s trip. The dealer had recommended that on below zero nights (and days) to charge to 100%. There also seems to some missing correlation between temperature and the GFI tripping. Now, I’ve seen it do it even at 5 above while other times it will be ok at 5 below. Maybe there’s some humidity factor that needs to be considered. The last two nights I have just brought the extension cord indoors and it’s been charging fine.
And unlike my sister-in-laws Subaru that didn’t start this morning my LEAF started just fine.
Average Energy Economy: January*: 2.9 miles/kWh
August – December 31*: 3.6 miles/kWh
1352 kWh Electricity Consumption
153.8 hours Travel Time
3084 lbs. CO2 Tailpipe Emission Reduction
CarWings only has a month and annual by calendar year option so for the consumption values I just added the August – December 31 with the January to date numbers but for the efficiency I think I would have to provide a weighted measure to each number before combining. My abilities extend only so far as to know that I just can’t average the two since this is a measure of electricity used to miles traveled.
If some one out there would like to figure it out: For 2012 I consumed 1211 kWh and traveled 4369.2 miles (3.6 miles per kWh). For January to date I consumed 148.9 kWh and traveled 426.7 miles (2.9 miles per kWh).
This morning the thermometer read -8 and yet my GFI did not trip so I was able to pre-warm my car for the days travels. This is good news as I seem to be narrowing in on the true minimal temperature for outdoor charging – somewhere between -17.9 and -8.
BTV offers two EV parking spots with a connection to their Level 1 plug (bring your own charger though). Unfortunately several Prius (non-plug in) owners seem to think that they are driving electric cars. For the third time now I’ve arrived for a flight, knowing I would be gone for 4-5 days and hoping to keep the car charged, especially with forecasts below zero, only to find a Prius parked in the spot. I’ve pondered putting together a card I could leave on their windshield in those situations but haven’t been organized enough to design, print and bring them with me. Better yet would be for BTV to police these spots as they might the handicapped spots and leave their own note.
My older daughter is in San Diego for a training trip (because training in the Bronx just doesn’t do in January). It wasn’t long before she texted me that she saw her first LEAF there. Since San Diego is talked about as one of the epicenters of the EV movement I was curious to hear about the rest of the infrastructure so I texted her back asking if she had seen any charging stations. “Yep, and plenty of those.” Hopefully folks will be able to text that back about Vermont in short order.
A first for me, getting pulled over because I was going slow – not too slow mind you, just slow. I made the gamble that I could make it home with 22 miles of range. I knew it would be cutting it close and debated taking the back road rather than the interstate but went for the interstate figuring I could just go the minimum speed. I was tootling along at 48-50 mph (well above the 40 mph minimum I noted).
Then I see the blue lights and have a slight giggle – “really, pulled over for going this speed?” The nice officer approach and wanted to make sure everything was ok. I explained that I was going slow to try to extend my range noting I was going well above the minimum. Ok, he said it’s just that I was making everyone slow down (isn’t this what they want?). I made it home with 2 miles of range to spare and a grin.
It was actually pretty exciting. Three times now I’ve had an issue with the GFI tripping when the car is trying to charge. Twice it tripped after the car had charged but the night of the big freeze it kept tripping when I plugged the car in. I was on 8 miles of range and was not thrilled with the prospect of leaving the car out unattached on such a cold night but what to do? Kind of like having a car on empty in the cold, you worry about it freezing.
The next morning, still below zero I had worked up the energy to see if I could bring the plug inside the house on a non-GFI outlet. Worse case I figured I would blow a fuse. Well, that did the trick and the car started charging. So, it appears that below a certain temperature (zero maybe?) the GFI will trip.
I had to take my daughter to the optometrist that afternoon so I figured I’d let the LEAF continue to charge and take the Jetta. That had a flat. So, I unplugged it and figured 34 miles of range (it was charging very slowly) would get me to Essex and back. The car started up as usual but the orange EV system warning light was on. We pressed on with Alice going through the manual to see how bad this was. “It says to call your certified LEAF dealer.” So, I did while she had her appointment. They said to bring it in but on returning to the car after the appointment the light was off and the battery had warmed up from one bar of temperature to two. Aha, the battery was just cold I figured.
The temperature has warmed up and my exterior plug works fine. Now I know if it’s forecast to be below zero bring the plug into the house (the door was able to close over it). And of course if you’re going to blast the heat you will loose range.