Alberta is in the midst of another cold snap and that’s prompted a challenge to electric vehicle (EV) owners.
The Electric Vehicle Association of Alberta’s Cold Weather Smackdown aims to dispel the myth that freezing temperatures create problems for electric vehicles.
“We see a lot of folks saying: ‘Electric vehicles don’t work in the winter. There are all these stranded drivers.’ That’s simply not true,” said EVAA co-director William York. “We were so tired of that notion, so we created our contest.”
The video contest will award $200 to “the member that creates the most compelling video that EVs do, in fact, work in frigid cold temperatures.”
“It’s not even cold enough to begin the contest yet!” laughed York. “February might not get cold enough. -20 is child’s play for an EV.”
Electric Vehicle Association of Alberta’s co-directors York and Andrew Bell busted a few more myths for Global News.
Myth: An electric vehicle won’t start in freezing temperatures
When it gets cold, engine oil becomes thicker and won’t flow around the engine as well. It can be tough to pump through the engine block and place stress on the battery. An EV is powered entirely by electricity, meaning it does not use gasoline.
“Many people confuse an EV battery with an iPhone battery,” said York. “If I have my phone sitting in the snow for 30 minutes, it’s going to die. It’s not the same as an electric vehicle battery.”
That’s because the vehicle has an active thermal management system. The battery sits in a glycol bath, which is connected to a heat pump which circulates the glycol and keeps it warm using some of the batteries own energy to do so.
Myth: EVs take a long time to heat up in the winter
According to the EVAA, most electric vehicles use resistance heating, which generates heat almost instantly.
“I can preheat my car even before I get to it, even when it’s -40,” said EVAA co-director Andrew Bell. “You do lose range, because it’s a cold day, but not that much.”
Myth: An electric vehicle only fits with some lifestyles
Even if you live in rural Alberta, an EV can suit your travel needs.
“Most electric vehicle owners have a charging station in their garage. You wake up every morning with a full charge,” York said.
Current EVs come with a typical range of 300-500 kilometres per full charge.
Currently, there are more than 70 charging stations in Edmonton but Bell said most of the charging is done at home.
Myth: Maintenance could be complex
Maintenance varies between manufacturers but there is one consistent trait of an EV.
“There’s very few moving parts, very few modes of failure,” York explained. “There are 34 moving parts on the average EV, compared to a 150 on the average gas vehicle.”