Tesla S: expensive golf cart

English: Tesla Model S sedan

Tesla Model S sedan

It appears that the green revolution does not play well with Old Man Winter.

Tesla’s Model S electric car is apparently having trouble in colder climates because the batteries needed to run the car – and its lights, and its heater, and everything else for that matter – can’t keep up when temperatures get too cold.

Any photographer could have told the Tesla engineers that. After all, those of us who’ve shot photographs in freezing temperatures know that our camera batteries don’t last near as long in cold weather as they do on a sunny, warm day.

Even the latest battery technology can’t overcome temperature as a deciding factor in how the batteries operate: hence the warnings on everything from your cell phone to the double-A’s you buy to power your electronics.

According to one article, the average 250-mile range of an electric car under fair-weather conditions can be reduced by a third in average winter weather. The article does not define “average winter weather.” Average winter weather in Miami is not the same as average in Fairbanks.

Shorter days in the Northern Hemisphere also tend to force drivers to turn on their headlights more because of shorter daylight hours and bad weather. Colder temperatures require heaters and defrosters to run (of course summertime temperatures require A/C, which is another energy drain on a battery-only car).

While I can understand the desire for increased fuel economy – or the notion of not having to buy fuel at all by becoming the owner of an all-electric car – it’s still funny to note that these colossal failures in the drive for green transportation are out there while basically the same technology Rudolph Diesel invented over 100 years ago, with a few modern twists, powers my new American car down the freeway at 75 mph with the radio, lights and heater running, while sipping fuel at the rate of about 60 miles per gallon.

Shhhh… don’t tell the Tesla engineers that my oil-burner has a range of well over 700 miles before it requires a quick recharge at the nearest diesel pump.


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