How Long Can A Tesla Keep You Warm In A Frozen Traffic Jam? “Dirty Tesla” Finds Out

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2022-01-12 20:00:14

In an opinion piece in the Washington Post (which Steve Hanley already skewered), the author wrote about the recent icy traffic disaster on I-95 in Virginia but imagined a scenario where the only vehicles were EVs. The issue, the writer claimed, was that if everyone had been driving EVs, the mess could have been worse.

He brought up the fact that batteries lose capacity more rapidly in cold weather, but noted that automakers can and do mitigate cold weather range anxiety. The author pointed out that Tesla’s heat pump helps extend the winter range, but neglected to balance the opinion piece with information about how fossil-fueled vehicles have similar problems.

You KNOW that if there had been even a single disabled #Tesla in the Virginia or Tahoe traffic jams this week, we would have heard about it. Over and over. The fact that we haven't says a lot.

According to, a normal gas car mileage is around 15% lower at 20°F during city driving than it would be at 77°F. It can also drop by as much as 24% for short three- to four-mile trips. It’s even harder on hybrids and EVs. Yes, EVs drop 39% in mixed city and highway driving, but in most cases with EVs, you don’t need to burn much fuel at all while idled — unless you own a hybrid, but even then, you might not. So, if we are going to be fair and balanced, we need to point out that, yes, EVs in general do have a higher drop when driving, but this is offset with the fact that EVs use minimal energy when not driving. That said, they do use energy to heat the cabin and much concern is about how much they use. Let’s turn to someone in a position to examine this better.

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