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Friday, May 24, 2013

Why EVs Are Perfect for Oregon - Reason 6: Battery-Friendly Weather

Three Sisters Mountains - photo by marcadamus.com
Modern EV batteries do best in temperature ranges that are not too different from those that we humans prefer. Cold weather can reduce an EVs range and excessive heat can damage the battery and reduce its capacity. EV manufacturers can include active thermal management to avoid battery damage, but heating or cooling takes energy, thereby giving you less energy for propulsion.

Here in the NW part of Oregon we have very few days that are below freezing and even fewer days that are over 100°F. Below is a chart of 2012 temperatures from Salem Oregon.
2012 Temps of Salem Oregon via weatherspark.com
The above graph shows the daily low in blue and the high in red. The thick lines show running averages. The hottest day of 2012 was August 4, with a peak high temperature of 102°F. The hottest month of 2012 was August with an average daily high temperature of only 84°F. The coldest day of 2012 was January 13, with a low temperature of 24°F. The coldest month of 2012 was January with an average daily low that, at 34°F, remained above freezing.

This temperature range makes Oregon ideal for EV batteries. There are very few days that thermal management is needed, meaning that batteries generally have long and happy lives here and the bulk of their energy can be used for getting you where you need to go.

One final note about our weather. ECOtality's Blink charging stations suffered reliability problems throughout 2011 and 2012. Despite having charging stations deployed in 5 states (and later expanding to 7), over half of their problem reports during this first 2 year period came from Oregon. The charging systems here were one, being used used, and two, being damaged by rain.

Being the passionate EVs drivers that we are here, we let ECOtality know when something was broken. ECOtality has continued to analyze the failures and improve their product. In a recent presentation to the Oregon Electric Vehicle Association, they told us that placing stations here was the best way to ruggedize them for the rest of the country. The consistent feedback from Oregon EV drivers allowed them to listen, respond, and adapt, eventually leading to a highly reliable product.

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