Electric vehicles receive many negative reports in the mainstream media, and one of those is due to cold weather. Since electric vehicle’s batteries operate better in warm temperatures, people worry that range will be severely affected by cold weather. There’s also the issue of heating the cabin and occupants – electricity is very in-efficient at heating, so a lot of precious battery capacity would go to keeping the passengers warm.
Recently, a group of electric vehicle activists in Helsinki set out to prove this theory wrong, or at least prove it’s not as severe as the media is reporting. Called the ‘coolest experiment on the planet’, 9 different electric vehicles spent a day driving from the Helsinki Olympic Stadium, past the frozen Gulf of Finland and to the Senate Square at the front of Helsinki Cathedral. The electric vehicle tour was organized by the Electric Traffic Helsinki Test Bed Project and coincided with the World Design Capital Helsinki 2012 Design Weekend.
The 9 vehicles included a Nissan Leaf and 2 Puegeot iOns (cousin vehicle to the Mitsubishi i Miev) as well as some custom built electric vehicles and some not-yet available electric vehicles like the Prius Plug-in Hybrid and the Mercedes-Benz Vito E-Cell.
The weather on the day of the electric vehicle test was sunny, but -16 F in the morning and stayed below -4 F all day. The temperatures made it tough for the camera crew and the video equipment, but the electric vehicles had no troubles running in those temperatures, the only casualty being some loss of range.