Main electric vehicle concern is range, and cold weather affects it

Market surveys and test have consistently shown that the main consumer concern about electric vehicles is their range. Since heat from electricity is fairly inefficient, warming an electric vehicle can greatly affect an electric vehicles range – that’s why Mitsubishi is running a large trial of the Mitsubishi i-Miev in snowy cold Eastern Canada.

Mitsubishi i-Miev Heater Controls

Last winter, tests on the Mitsubishi i-Miev showed that at temperatures of -7 degrees Celsius, the i-Miev’s range was decreased by up to 20%. At -18 degrees Celcius, the range would be reduced by 40%, with an additional loss of about 15% if the cabin heater was on the maximum setting. That would mean the Mitsubishi i-Miev electric vehicles range would be cut by more than half!

To be fair, those tests were conducted on European models and the i-Mievs were cold soaked overnight and the heaters set to maximum. Hydro-Quebec officials feel those tests were limited and don’t provide realistic results. That’s why Hydro-Quebec agreed to take part in the Mitsubishi i-Miev trial.

Last winter, as part of the first phase of the trial, 5 the European Spec Mitsubishi i-Mievs (with no cabin preheating or precooling) saw a cold weather driving range of about 90 kilometres – the 2012 Mitsubishi i-Miev range is supposed to be around 155kms. With the 2012 i-Miev having the ability to pre-heat the cabin while it’s plugged into the charger, Hydro-Quebec and Mitsubishi Motors Canada are hopeful they will see less affect on the range during this coming winter’s trial.

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2 Responses to Main electric vehicle concern is range, and cold weather affects it

  1. R. G. White says:

    Why is the Canadian consumer not being given the option of a clean turbo-diesel version of the i, at a price under $20,000? Has Mitsubishi totally overlooked the appeal of a rear-wheel-drive car with the motor under the back seat? As a conventional, non-electric vehicle, think how it would handle in the snow — not to mention potentially superior fuel efficiency!

  2. Don Dakin says:

    I test drove an I-Miev last Friday night with my wife. We took the car for a 40 minute ride in the area including a short run down the highway in the west island of Montreal. I was impressed with the operation of the car. Not super fast but peppy and fun to drive. I have to say to be fair that I kind of adjusted my expectations (down) for the car before getting into it which made me a little more forgiving. Despite this I think it was a great little runabout that would totally do the job in shuttleing me to work and back everyday which is the bulk of my car use. On the down side the interior is really basic and the back seat almost looks like a joke but 2 people can actually fit in the back for a short ride in a pinch. Headroom is great and with the back seats down the rear area is pretty big with a nice flat surface. The doors and door handles seem flimsey not really on par with normal cars. Didn’t try the heater but the A/C worked great althought range meter dropped 20 KM when we turned it on.
    I do worry a bit about how well this car will work in the Montreal winter. If the tests show that at -18 deg C with the heat on (of course the heat will be on in the car at -18) the range hit will be 55% I can believe that. That would put the range at about 125*.45 or 56 KM I am using 125 as a baseline as I think that’s a more realistic number.
    That’s not much range but it’s still enough for my 25KM round trip to work.

    Overall I would say that I would actually buy an I-miev when I can convince myself that it’s worth the $33,000 which is the bottom line price with tax and the rebate in Quebec. My spreadsheet calculations say it takes about 150000KM to break even with a similar Toyota Yaris in terms of purchase price + “fuel” costs.

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