Its getting cold outside

This week has been the coldest its been since I’ve owned the car (back in May). This morning the temperature was 32 F as I was leaving for work.

EV batteries don’t really like it much when the temperature is outside of their comfort zone (around 70 F). Too high and the battery is damaged, too low and it can’t hold as much of a charge. The Focus Electric has a thermal management system to attempt to keep the batteries within their optimal temperature range. The problem is, though, when the temperature is far outside that range the management system will use up electricity heating or cooling the batteries. So even if the batteries are kept at their optimum temperature the car’s overall range will still suffer due to extra electricity expended maintaining the batteries temperature.

I’ve been noticing the affect of the weather as the temperatures have dipped over the past few weeks. My commute in to work, which was using only 20% of the battery when it was a balmy 80 F outside, is now consuming 25% or more without even using the cabin heater (for my own comfort! LOL).

The car also has a feature for that: to minimize my discomfort and heat/cool the car before it is unplugged you can program in a specific time and temperature you want the car to be ready for up to two times a day. I’ve also been experimenting with this feature. For all the time I’ve been using it (on the Focus Electric the feature is called “Go Times”) I’ve had it set the temperature of the car to 72 F–a nice and comfortable temperature. After a conversation with a coworker yesterday I decided I’d try out the higher temperature setting: 85 F. This morning in a matter of about 20 minutes the car went from completely frost covered to mostly clear and wet–the windows were completely clear of frost, the roof was mostly clear with just a little frost on the back (furthest from the heater vents inside the car), and the rest of the body still had a lot of frost but it was thinning. Wow–it never did this when set to 72 F! Of course when I started my commute I got in a very toasty warm car as well–to the extent that turning on the vent/defrost on cool provided a nice cool breeze (as well as keeping the windows from fogging up using a minimal amount of power).

I’m now eagerly awaiting our first snowfall to see how much of the snow will be melted off the car before I leave for work (planning on posting a picture of that!).


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