Can't Be Too Hot or Too Cold? EVs Seem to Be the Goldilocks Option

AP Photo/Matt York

Summer is here, and we've established that we're boiling away in the hottest summer ever, ever, EH-VAH.

Let's just get that part over with.



Okey doke.

Now let's take another look at what the government, in concert with climate cultists, keeps trying to jam down our throats as one of the MUST-HAVE solutions to the incoming inferno - the complete transition of the mobile populace to electric vehicles for every transportation need.

Again, it's not that EVs don't have their place because they do. And that there aren't already efficient, technologically advanced and pretty reliable models available that are becoming more affordable because there are. They're just not practical enough to be the choice for the majority of Americans as their primary vehicle, particularly when the circumstances of the area one resides in are factored in.

Circumstances that include the local weather - does it get cold? Cold adversely impacts EVs, as I've noted repeatedly from electric school buses in Maine that started with no heat but then just fell apart...

...In the meantime, any word how electric transportation anything is doing in Maine in winter?


Winthrop Public Schools (WPS) is struggling to keep its fleet of four electric school buses on the road due to water leak issues and heating system failures, according to a Wednesday transportation report to the WPS School Board.

…WPS along with several other Maine school districts received the electric buses as part of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s $5 billion “Clean School Bus Program,” launched in October 2022, which has a goal of transitioning all public school bus fleets to 75 percent all-electric buses by 2035. As part of this program, the district reportedly gave up a diesel bus for each new electric one.

Winthrop received its four buses from Lion Electric in September, and three out of the four are tied up awaiting repairs.

…According to the report, the heating systems in three out of the four buses have failed.

WPS transportation director Josh Wheeler wrote in the report that he believes the district needs “to consider alternative plans to replace these vehicles long term.”

That seems to have worked out just great, and I’m sure no one saw it coming. What school child needs heat on a bus in winter – hell. What schoolchild needs a bus in winter?

Advertisement losing up to 39% of the range in your personal vehicle if you choose to use the heater. Wait - a heater in winter?


What kinda crazy person needs that?

However, now that EVs in all their iterations have been on the road for a good while, delivering packages, taking kids to school, going to work, or the grocery store, some of the vehicles' shortcomings in everyday use in varying climate zones around the country are being exposed.

It's turning out that EVs are as fond of excessive heat as they are of extreme cold, and, worryingly enough, possibly neither are their chargers.

This happened yesterday in Houston, where it gets hot routinely in the summer (hat tip to Global Traveler).

What makes this interesting is the working premise that this particular light off wasn't simply another battery run amok but somehow heat-related - heat induced, in fact. This would be bad news for EVs in tres hot climes if so.

A witness said the fire started at the charger and spread to the vans.

...It’s unclear how or why the vans caught fire. It’s possible that just one vehicle may have initially caught alight, with the fire spreading to neighboring vans in turn. One commenter on the YouTube video claims to have been in the area, offering their insight into the matter. “I was nearby and can confirm that it was the chargers that caught fire and spread to the vans,” said CloudCaptain-zj7nn. “This was not a battery fire. Amazon needs to provide shade to protect chargers from the Texas heat.” 

EV manufacturer Rivian sent an update and also pointed a finger at the charger.

Update: Rivian has reached out with a statement on the matter. The company notes that no injuries occurred as a result of the fire, and that the cause of the “thermal event” is yet to be determined. In the automaker’s own words:

  • We are aware of the incident and are investigating the situation.
  • There were no injuries from this incident.
  • As we are gathering information, it is too soon to say what might have caused this thermal event.
  • A few things to point out from the initial evidence:

    • There were a few vehicles impacted by the incident, but the thermal event propagated from the source to surrounding vehicles.
    • This vehicle was plugged into the charger, but it was not charging when the incident occurred.
    • The HV battery was not the initiator of the incident.

I was unaware that EV chargers baking in the sun were a problem, but apparently, they are. It seems even a homeowner who is charging at home needs to take extra care when it gets really hot.

...A recent study from Recurrent found electric cars work normally in hot conditions. But the findings also revealed EVs can lose up to 30% of total range in extremely hot weather.

Sal Mendoza-Santos is a parts and production manager at Speed Street Collison Center, an auto body shop in Lowell, North Carolina. 

Mendoza-Santos said depending on geographic location and climate, extreme weather like heat can impact EVs. 

He said there are things drivers can do to mitigate any possible issues during the hotter weather conditions. 

"With summer and heat coming, you don't want to start charging your vehicle in extreme high heat, "Mendoza-Santos said. "It will put wear and tear on your main battery. If you've got to charge it, do it at a place with shade, or if you can [wait and do it] at the end of the day at night to charge at home."

Why is the heat a problem for the car batteries? Because batteries are an ongoing chemical reaction and extreme heat affects that.

...The outlet also spoke with Greg Less, the technical director of the University of Michigan Battery Lab. He explained that range decline from heat has its roots in battery chemistry.

“Once you’re above [104 degrees Fahrenheit] you start to have a breakdown of the passive emission layer on the anode, and that breakdown will then cause consumption of the liquid electrolyte, which will shorten the lifetime of your battery,” Less told the outlet.

Luckily for EV owners, he doesn’t think the excessive heat will damage EV batteries long term. That’s because they aren’t always driven in 100+ degree weather, and EVs have a fairly robust system to cool batteries.

Tesla comes out as the most efficient in super hot weather thanks to the innovative heat pump they use for cooling. Running a conventional fan and refrigerant uses buckets of electricity.


Even the touchy-feely cultists at Scientific™ American concede that there isn't an EV that works everywhere. That battery technology is still bubbling in a laboratory, and one of their ideas to circumvent the local climate problem doesn't sound terribly efficient, practical or affordable.

...But EV engineers face a dilemma they call the “AND problem”: it’s tough to design a battery that works efficiently in a range of environments and remains affordable and long-lasting. “We’re kind of trying to balance the cost, performance and safety,” Chen says. Car companies may approach these factors differently depending on their priorities. Some, for example, value higher performance more than affordability—and can incorporate more expensive battery materials. That’s why pricier EVs tend to have higher mile ranges.

Ultimately, it may be best to tailor battery designs for specific climates across the country and the world, Gasper suggests. Drivers in climes closer to the poles would use batteries suited for the cold. Heat-resilient batteries, meanwhile, would be especially important for people living in equatorial regions. There, quicker chemical reactions, spurred by the heat, can degrade batteries—potentially leading to higher long-run EV costs in regions where incomes are lower than the global average. “It is an economic justice issue,” Gasper says. The industry isn’t there yet, but it’s a problem that EV experts know they need to solve.

And, of course, forcing people into expensive EVs that degrade quicker where it makes no sense to use them is an "economic justice issue." 

OMG don't your toes just curl reading that?

EV charging stations, from what little information I can find on them specifically, apparently sometimes build up significant heat while charging. Perhaps this is at the root of the fires in these unshaded commercial parking lots - that they have no way to dissipate the additional heat they generate because the surrounding temperature is already so high. Alleviating that condition could prove to be prohibitively expensive, but then so is replacing barbequed delivery vans.


In an interesting note about chargers and fires, while some cities have gone as far as outlawing underground charging stations because of the inherent difficulties extinguishing the blazes...

Milford has passed a first-of-its-kind ordinance that bans certain electric vehicle charging stations.

Officials said the ban is because there are concerns about fires at underground charging stations.

“If you’re able to have [the charging station] above [ground], we have a better chance of extinguishing the fire and saving the structure,” Milford Deputy Fire Marshal Timothy Suden said.

...the guy whose charging network everyone was switching over to - Elon Musk and Tesla?

Well, he laid off the entire team building Tesla's charging network in May.

Tesla has abruptly fired the team running its electric vehicle charging business, raising doubts about the future of one of the largest US charging networks, which other carmakers, such as General Motors and Ford, have said they will also use.

In social media posts Tuesday, several Tesla employees confirmed the layoffs, first reported by The Information.

Tesla “has let our entire charging org go,” William Navarro Jameson, strategic charging programs lead at Tesla, wrote on X.

A lack of charging infrastructure is one of the main barriers to widespread EV adoption, and Tesla’s extensive “Supercharger” network has long been a major selling point for its vehicles. Until recently, that network could only be used by Tesla vehicles.

Tesla's going to continue to grow the network but "more slowly" now. One industry analyst said it was Musk "reading the room" on the EV slowdown. That's certainly going to put a crimp in Secretary Pete bumping up to ten EV chargers by Election Day from the eight he has now for the bazillion dollars they've spent.

It would appear whatever chargers are out there now, Tesla's NACS won't be replacing them any time soon. 

EV owners in those areas where summertime broiling is the norm have to take their vehicle's special needs into consideration. I found it interesting that a company so removed from the subject like Chase Bank (!) would have an entire page on their corporate site about EVs and extremely hot weather. Perhaps because of the car loans involved and protecting their investments? 


I don't know, but they don't mince words with advice for drivers about "reducing the risk."

Tips to help protect electric cars in hot weather

You can’t change the weather. But you can practice the habits below to help guard against reduced range and prolong the life of your EV’s battery when the mercury rises.

  • Park in a garage, covered lot or shaded area.
  • Pre-cool the vehicle while it's still plugged in, using an app or timer function if you have one.
  • Use the vehicle's air conditioning system sparingly. Consider cooling yourself instead of the car — for example, dress for the heat and try lowering the windows for air flow. Some EVs even have seat coolers, which are much more efficient than cabin A/C.
  • Keep the tires properly inflated to reduce rolling resistance and heighten efficiency.
  • Keep your EV clean and clutter-free, ensuring that you don’t channel power toward hauling unnecessary weight. Cutting back by just a few pounds can have a positive effect!
  • Avoid driving and/or charging during the hottest parts of the day, when possible.
  • Charge your EV battery to 80% instead of 100%. A full charge creates more internal resistance and heat, further stressing the battery.
  • If the vehicle has a “battery saver” and/or “hill-hold” mode, use them.
  • Pay close attention to your EV range and plan for fewer battery-powered miles than usual when it’s very hot out. While every EV is different, all are affected by the heat to some extent.

I especially like, "Cool yourself, not the car."

Great advice for Phoenix, Tuscon, Dallas, or Pensacola on a late August day. In a car you might have dropped $70 grand for? YGTBFKM

All I can say is, for vehicles that have a "sweet spot" between 70° and 80°F - like Goldilocks needing everything "just right" - EVs sound fussier than anything I have time to mess with or the cha-ching to waste on.

It's too hot outside already to have to worry if my car's feeling the heat. 


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