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The Chevy Volt is called the Ampera elsewhere and there was no 2017 Ampera but, here in the USA there has been a 2017 and a 2018 model Volt. At the time that I was looking for a good EV, The pure electric version had arrived called the Chevy Bolt. I have experience driving a car that I converted to pure electric with all of its limitations. Winter driving has proven to be a challenge due to reduced range, vehicle charging troubles in cold temps and, the power requirements of heating the interior for both comfort and to maintain visibility through the windscreen. The Volt will often run the generating ICE engine when temperatures are too low. Even if the battery is fully charged, the engine will run to provide warmth for both passengers and the battery pack. So, I have to wonder, what does a pure electric car do when temperatures are too low for the battery? There is no other source of energy to warm batteries or, to fall back on when cold batteries fail to perform well enough.
Later, I learned that the Bolt had an issue with catching fire. While this certainly solves the problem of heating, this was reason enough for me to believe that I had made the correct choice when buying the Volt. The range of the Volt is for all practical purposes, unlimited since it will always run on petrol when ever necessary. So, I have questions. Can a battery be made to warm itself? Can you compensate for the reduced range simply by charging more often? I imagine that there are fewer problems if the car can be plugged in and warmed at both origin and destination. It is my concern that the car might have to sit for hours in a parking lot where there is no power available. Perhaps some models are designed better than others in respect to cold temperatures? What has your experience been?
 

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Lithium ion batteries don't like cold weather. Ranges are typically 25% down on summer mileage in the UK. I'd imagine Alaskan winters would affect them another 25%.
Various manufacturers do different things to help the battery packs. Nissan do nothing with the Leaf so it suffers. Most EV makers have battery pre-heating while still plugged in charging, and may have heating/cooling whilst underway. Another thing to bear in mind is that a battery pack is a big thermal mass, so will keep warm after charging in cold weather for some time. I'm sure Google will supply the exact details for each specific model.
Well done for converting your own car - that's some achievement! Today's mass-market EVs are a much more complete package than your experiment, but then again they're the result of hundreds of million Dollars' worth of R & D.
 

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The Chevy Volt is called the Ampera elsewhere and there was no 2017 Ampera but, here in the USA there has been a 2017 and a 2018 model Volt.
Several of us here in the UK own Gen 1 Volt, in RHD. (Rare though, less than 150 in the UK) .The UK got two Gen 1 versions, a RHD Volt 2012-2015, same as the USA, and the Vauxhall Ampera, a RHD Volt with different bumpers front and rear and different wheels, basically.

We own a 2012, Volt 107k miles, All paid for, still going strong. Costs shirt buttons to run and we do 85% of all yearly travel on pure electric.
 

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Many newer EV's have much more "active" battery temperature management, the car will warm the battery if its too cold and cool it if its too hot. Some vendors have more limited systems, eg they might install a battery heater only for very cold climates.
Which ever way you slice it though, you'll use more power in winter, especially if you like comfort.
My recent trips in the LEAF have been awful for efficiency. Christmas day was 39miles to my parents and ran the battery from 100% down to 29%, circa 2.2miles per kwh. Its not just one factor ofcourse. The battery itself is less efficient when cold, the cabin heater uses a lot more energy especially if your running AC and heat together for dehumidification, and the wet/windy weather itself uses more energy to drive thru.
An ICE uses more fuel in winter too, many of the factors that hurt the EV also hurt the ICE and ofcourse cabin heat is "free" (though you'll still use fuel to drive the AC), but people just dont notice that much as most ICE have a huge excess of range
 

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The unexpected downsides of winter driving (other than range, and charging speed) for me are

Cabin colder than I'd like
Screenwash more vulnerable ( ack of engine heat)
Charging stops are less pleasant (cold in the car, cold and wet when faffing with chargers).
Traction seems very poor (maybe that's just the Zoe/ my tyres)

Benefits:

Preconditioning is lovely (when it works) - wake up to a warm car and no scraping

Heat comes through quicker than an ICE from cold
 
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Typically in UK we're seeing winter range for EVs being appx 70% of the summer range, and that's the combination of colder battery holding less charge, more cabin heating needed, denser air causing more drag, colder tyres becoming less resilient, damp/wet roads increasing drag etc. That's the price paid for no thermal "free" energy from petrol, and it's a topic that dealers seem either unaware of, or not keen to disclose to new car buyers.

My ID.3 has a 6 kW battery heater (I think it's 6, may be more?) in it so preheating this is an option, best done when plugged in of course. There's speculation that this heater may soon be triggered by the satnav knowing there's a Rapid charger to be used in a short while, so making it worth while to get the battery really warm up into 20C or more region where it can happily charge at the max 100 kW or whatever. We're seeing some owners with 100 kW charge capability only charging around the 50 kW mark, but it's not always clear if this is due to a cool battery, or a limitation of the Rapid itself. Driving the car hard for 20 minutes seems to help warm the HV nicely though!
 

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Lithium ion batteries don't like cold weather. Ranges are typically 25% down on summer mileage in the UK. I'd imagine Alaskan winters would affect them another 25%.
Various manufacturers do different things to help the battery packs. Nissan do nothing with the Leaf so it suffers. Most EV makers have battery pre-heating while still plugged in charging, and may have heating/cooling whilst underway. Another thing to bear in mind is that a battery pack is a big thermal mass, so will keep warm after charging in cold weather for some time. I'm sure Google will supply the exact details for each specific model.
Well done for converting your own car - that's some achievement! Today's mass-market EVs are a much more complete package than your experiment, but then again they're the result of hundreds of million Dollars' worth of R & D.
Nissan do nothing in the UK! Lots of Northern Canadian Leaf drivers have no problems with their heated battery packs!
 

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I think that cars designed for battery-only use don't suffer from the same compromises they just have reduced range in winter. The i3 has a 5kw electric heater for cabin heating, and heated front seats. If you insist on running in eco-pro mode all the time it will limit heat output for the cabin deliberately - you made the choice to do this though .. so if you want to be warm, you can be warm ..
As others have said the battery packs will operate just fine, they just suffer from reduced efficiency - translating to shorter driving range. Pre-condition with mains power before departure and the car runs perfectly and at full range, right from the start of your journey (and has already cleared the screen for you!).

To me, the only compromise that's intolerable is the one forced on you by having a non-committal hybrid which isn't good enough to be a petrol car and isn't good enough to be an EV either. But I live in the UK where pure EV driving range tends to be more than adequate for most people's driving. (We just need better charge infrastructure...!)
 

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Agree, it's either buy a full EV or make do with a good 1999 style mild hybrid fossil fuel car.

Most plug-in hybrids are worst of both worlds: primitive EV parts with under-powered electric motor, small battery and underpowered ICE for its increased weight with all shortcomings of moving the car with ICE.
(of course there are slightly better PHEV, like Ampera, i3 REx, where they are EV first: must disconnecting ICE from the wheels)

EV range isn't be-all and end-all. In winter, it's only an issue when it becomes shorter than your daily requirement.

As said, good EV will pre-condition the battery to allow it to operate at optimum temperature for long trips. Don't take the EV characteristics of PHEV's as example for today's good EV's. They are worlds apart and cynic in me think there is a reason ICE manufacturers make poor EV characteristics in their PHEV.
 

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The Volt will often run the generating ICE engine when temperatures are too low. Even if the battery is fully charged, the engine will run to provide warmth for both passengers and the battery pack.
The Volt/Ampera in addition to being able to heat the battery pack with coolant from the ICE also has an electric battery heater built into the pack (I think its 3kW but not certain), this will run when you pre-heat the car if the temperature is low enough. It will only switch to ICE heating if it's so cold that it's more economical to idle the ICE to generate heat than run with a cold battery.
Pure BEVs have an electric battery heater just like the Volt/Ampera but if its cold enough to warrant using whilst driving it obviously has an impact on range, its all a bit of a balancing act but the car should take care of all this for you, aside from some Nissans...
 

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Agree, it's either buy a full EV or make do with a good 1999 style mild hybrid fossil fuel car.

Most plug-in hybrids are worst of both worlds: primitive EV parts with under-powered electric motor, small battery and underpowered ICE for its increased weight with all shortcomings of moving the car with ICE.
(of course there are slightly better PHEV, like Ampera, i3 REx, where they are EV first: must disconnecting ICE from the wheels)
Let's see... I've has an Audi A3 e-tron for 5.5 years. In that time, I've driven a bit over half my mileage on electricity, giving me an overall MPG of about 75, with a not so light right foot, including some 85 MPH on French motorways (92ish on the speedo, real speed from the GPS, legal speed and still making the days long). Which 1999 style hybrid would have done better?

That time also included a few 600-800 miles single day trips, and some 1500-1800ish miles weeks without overnight charging access. The later were work weeks with travel outside of office hours, so not that tempted to extend the days by waiting for the car to charge. BEVs in my price range (£30k new) would have made some days very very long.

I know a large number of e-tron / GTE were bought simply based on BIK and ended up polluting more than the same car without the electrics. You seem to imply that they are worse in all conditions though, and I can't agree with that. I did look at the options, and am confident that with my budget and my requirements, I picked one of the cars that allowed me to burn the least petrol. The other one would have been Ampera, but that would only have improved my MPG marginally (not sure how good it is at French motorway speed), and I was not interested i that specific car.

As for the underpowered electric, it's fine for the 30 MPH speed limit around here, although most of it is now 20 MPH. I still win most of my traffic light drag races. And the underpowered ICE gives me 154 BHP, and 204 when coupled with the electric, which makes this car the fastest to 75 MPH I ever had. Not a high end Tesla, but those can't be had for £30k.

Please, say you hate PHEVs as much as you like, but presenting facts it would be better if they were at least partly true. I'd accept something like "most people who bought PHEVs did worse than mild hybrid s thy never plugged them in and were only interested in the BIK". I'm not sure if it's true, but it is at least true for a significant number. Your reasons are not true for most PHEVs, and their efficiency will depend on the use.
EV range isn't be-all and end-all. In winter, it's only an issue when it becomes shorter than your daily requirement.
Maybe that's where the misunderstanding comes from. Maybe you have a "daily requirement" which is your overall requirement. You should have mentioned at the top "if you use your car exclusively for commuting, and have a regular commute which always covers the same distance". As much as I don't want to by a car that covers for all the what-ifs I may encounter, I'd like it to cover all my normal needs. They include commute to a local office, but quite a lot more variety (including visiting multiple clients in a week, sleeping in client-approved hotels that may not have overnight charging available).

I can understand that for you, PHEVs don't make sense. Claiming they can't make sense for anyone doesn't make sense though.
 

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Please, say you hate PHEVs as much as you like, but presenting facts it would be better if they were at least partly true.
Ok. See end of this post for my main reason for hating parallel PHEV.

Facts:
- A3 e-tron PHEV have ICE with power of 110kW whereas electric motor can only output 75kW. Thus
primitive EV parts with under-powered electric motor
- The A3 e-tron PHEV is the heaviest petrol A3 variant (even heavier than Quattro with 100+bph). Thus
increased weight
- Here, Audi themselves says electric cars have fewer moving parts, it is "cheaper and easier to maintain than a conventional car". A3 etron hybrid is considered a conventional car. Thus one of the reason for:
shortcomings of moving the car with ICE.
Claiming they can't make sense for anyone doesn't make sense though.
Alright, I stand corrected. It makes sense for a very small number of people who do bother to plug it in.

It is just very unfortunate the truth is:
I know a large number of e-tron / GTE were bought simply based on BIK and ended up polluting more than the same car without the electrics.
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As for the underpowered electric, it's fine for the 30 MPH speed limit around here, although most of it is now 20 MPH. I still win most of my traffic light drag races. And the underpowered ICE gives me 154 BHP, and 204 when coupled with the electric, which makes this car the fastest to 75 MPH I ever had. Not a high end Tesla, but those can't be had for £30k.
e-Golf time to 60mph: 8.5s
GTE electric time to 60mph: 9.92s
The comparison feels pretty underpowered to me, it's like they purposefully used an underpowered motor for some reason...... My biggest gripe with PHEV is how they always shove ICE down your throat, want max power? It's gotta be ICE. They are built to be ICE car first, plug-in as supplement rather than EV first, range extending ICE as supplement.
 

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Ok. See end of this post for my main reason for hating parallel PHEV.

Facts:
- A3 e-tron PHEV have ICE with power of 110kW whereas electric motor can only output 75kW. Thus

- The A3 e-tron PHEV is the heaviest petrol A3 variant (even heavier than Quattro with 100+bph). Thus

- Here, Audi themselves says electric cars have fewer moving parts, it is "cheaper and easier to maintain than a conventional car". A3 etron hybrid is considered a conventional car. Thus one of the reason for:



Alright, I stand corrected. It makes sense for a very small number of people who do bother to plug it in.

It is just very unfortunate the truth is:


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e-Golf time to 60mph: 8.5s
GTE electric time to 60mph: 9.92s
The comparison feels pretty underpowered to me, it's like they purposefully used an underpowered motor for some reason...... My biggest gripe with PHEV is how they always shove ICE down your throat, want max power? It's gotta be ICE. They are built to be ICE car first, plug-in as supplement rather than EV first, range extending ICE as supplement.
Have you actually driven Golf GTE?
 

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Have you actually driven Golf GTE?
No. I haven't. I fail to see whether my experience with a single vehicle matters in this discussion?

The facts are clear, the electric motor is not as powerful as it could have been. I'll not make a fuss when most of the PHEV on the market are built to be EV first and foremost. Its electric powertrain is more powerful than the ICE onboard. The ICE is only there should you need more range.
 

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No. I haven't. I fail to see whether my experience with a single vehicle matters in this discussion?

The facts are clear, the electric motor is not as powerful as it could have been. I'll not make a fuss when most of the PHEV on the market are built to be EV first and foremost. Its electric powertrain is more powerful than the ICE onboard. The ICE is only there should you need more range.
Yes yes, Volt and Ampera for the win. PHEV no, EREV, yes.
 

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No. I haven't. I fail to see whether my experience with a single vehicle matters in this discussion?

The facts are clear, the electric motor is not as powerful as it could have been. I'll not make a fuss when most of the PHEV on the market are built to be EV first and foremost. Its electric powertrain is more powerful than the ICE onboard. The ICE is only there should you need more range.
Well that explains most of your remarks.

Criticism on a theoretical level is not helpful to potential users.
 

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Well that explains most of your remarks.

Criticism on a theoretical level is not helpful to potential users.
Hum.... GTE/A3 e-tron wasn't mentioned until Zomb and yourself entered the thread, so no potential user here, just theoretical ideology being discussed here.

If it helps you, I've driven Ioniq PHEV and its EV mode was really horrible compared to Ioniq BEV back-to-back. Even my wife's first-gen Leaf drives better than Ioniq PHEV in EV mode.


We want more EREV, if pure electric range is an issue. If we really want everyone to switch to electric, we need all cars to feel compromised when driven with fossil fuel, not other way around!
 
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