E-car: how long can you survive in a snow-covered car?

It happens again and again that drivers are on the road Snowed in will. Then the heating output of the car can life saving being. Will the heating keep going or will the tank or battery run out after a few hours?

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In co-operation with


Stefan Moeller already has that with electric cars tried out: The boss of Nextmove, Germany’s largest landlord of E-cars, suggested to be for it bed in a Kia e-Niro. at minus five degrees Celsius he put the Korean crossover SUV with electric drive in the snow. For a pleasant night rest Moeller adjusted the internal temperature 19 degrees.
Nextmove Kia e-Niro - E-Auto Winter

Stefan Moeller from Nextmove stayed at minus five degrees in a Kia e-Niro to test the battery capacity.

The e-Niro’s battery was too low Start of test charged to 86 percent that Range was 358 kilometers. Moeller: “The e-Niro immediately delivered 7 kW of heating power when it was cold started. That was it very fast warm in the car. When the car had reached the desired temperature, the heat pump helped to lower the heating output in an energy-saving way 1 kW continuous output to keep. The next morning, nine and a half hours later, then be Conclusion: In the e-Niro you can actually sleep comfortably one night – or survive the same time snowed in.

Enough range in the e-car in the morning

But much more important: How has the power consumption for the heating system changed over night affected the range? Result: The Kia “burned“about 0.8 kW per hour. The battery charge sank in the long, cold night by twelve percentage points from 86 percent to 74 percent, the range was reduced by when the vehicle was stationary 70 kilometers (7.37 kilometers per hour). Stefan Moeller: “So theoretically I would have it in the heated e-Niro more than three days can hold out for a long time. ”
Mustang Mach-E - E-Auto Winter

Cold makes the electrolyte viscous, then the electrons flow more slowly. This increases energy consumption.

His warning: “In very cold weather, like now, better go with me a bit more Drive off with a reserve in the battery if you are surprised by the snow. “But you have to get stuck in a traffic jam with a very low battery level indeed to freeze. But that also applies to combustion engines and theirs Fuel supply in the tank. Moeller has also already tested charging in icy temperatures. Result: The e-Niro still charges with 13 kW in the battery even at minus ten degrees.

Without a heat pump, the electric car is empty faster

Not all electric cars have a heat pump on board – and not all have a battery as large as that Kia e-Niro with 64 kW. With such models comes the basic one disadvantage of the electric car to carry: the engine produces almost no waste heatso that for heating the energy must be taken directly from the battery, which is actually reserved for propulsion.
So the vehicle heater pulls electricity from the battery: one to two kilowatts per hour, depending on the vehicle type. As if that weren’t enough, the vehicle electronics with charging and battery management et cetera also permanently consume electricity, approx. 0.5 kW / h. the Front and rear window heating even uses around 0.8 kWh per hour! If all these consumers are activated, a 20 kW / h battery without a heat pump can already after a few hours to be empty. For this reason, electric car drivers should generally be economical with additional consumers such as rear window heating, music systems or fans in winter.
Audi e-tron GT - E-Car Winter

The charging times can also increase significantly in winter because the battery first has to be heated up.

Depending on how big the battery is and whether a heat pump exists, electric cars are with you Forced stop with freezing temperatures Can be heated for one to three days. Can you do the Burners hold a candle?

Sufficient waste heat from the combustion engine

An internal combustion engine can only do one part Use the energy in the fuel for driving – more than half of it is converted into thermal energy. For driving in winter it is practical! The warmth goes into Cooling system and can then be used as a heating source. You can also withstand very low temperatures without having to install a parking heater.
When idling, a consumes modern internal combustion engine only a fraction of the energy required for driving: “A diesel engine with a displacement of two liters, as is common in mid-range sedans, requires around 0.5 to 0.7 liters per hour,” says an ADAC expert. With a tank volume of 50 liters, this corresponds to an engine running time of almost three days – provided the tank is fully and there are no power guzzlers such as air conditioning, front or rear window heating, headlights or radio! Because for every 100 watts of additional power consumption, the fuel flow increases by 0.1 liter. That can quickly mean a liter per hour or more.

Only little heating power with small gasoline engines

In the case of a gasoline engine, fuel consumption is higher and the efficiency lower than with diesel. Therefore, the idle consumption of the gasoline engine is 0.8 to 0.9 liters per hour. This means that a stationary gasoline engine with a full tank could also run for several days until the fuel runs out. Here too, however, in an emergency, you should make sure to connect as few consumers as possible! In the case of small motors, the heating output can be low at low speeds. What should I do? “With the Playing the accelerator, i.e. increase the speed, doesn’t bring much“, explains the ADAC expert. In order to heat the cooling water, load is necessary. That is not possible when the vehicle is stationary.
Cold test heating

In 2009 AUTO BILD tested the heating capacity of eleven models – the oldest, a Mercedes 190 from 1983, came in second.

That is why the ADAC advises you to always use one or more for longer journeys in winter Cover (see below) to take with you, if necessary in addition to to warm. Can the engine overheat if it idles for too long? “No,” said the ADAC man. Modern motors are electronically controlled, if they get too hot the switches off fan to.

What to look out for when driving in winter

How long it stays warm in the car depends primarily on the tank and battery level. Therefore, ride along in extreme conditions in winter as full the tank as possible or. full batteries go, and if in doubt, use the opportunity to replenish your energy supply!

Blanket or jacket

You should always have a warm blanket on board for safety in winter – no matter how far the journey is.

And a little equipment doesn’t hurt either: At least one warming blanket for each passenger ● Thermos with hot tea or soup ● Snacks such as muesli bars ● Charging cable for your mobile phone – in an emergency, you may have to call longer / often! ● Headlamp ● Folding spade or shovel with a short handle ● Jump start cable

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