Electric Vehicles and Cold Weather

By Ford Social Member

If you’ve done much reading about electric vehicles, you’ll find that some people are pretty concerned about the ability of a battery-powered vehicle to operate in cold and snowy climates. We’d like to share some information with you on what Ford is doing to make sure that its battery-electric vehicles will give you less reason for worry than others.

“Batteries are similar to people, as they both achieve maximum performance working under moderate, unchanged temperatures,” said Sherif Marakby, Ford Director of Electrification Programs and Engineering. “Using a liquid-heated battery system allows Ford to keep the Focus Electric battery at a moderate temperature and improve performance whether you are charging or driving in a cold climate.”

Extreme temperatures can affect battery performance and reduce the range of electric vehicles. The range will not be impacted as much with a liquid-heated system compared to an air system. That’s why Ford will use an advanced active liquid-cooling and heating system to regulate the temperature of its lithium-ion battery packs, which are designed to operate under a range of ambient conditions.

“A liquid-heated battery can accept a charge faster from the regenerative braking that recaptures kinetic energy and sends it back to the battery, essentially providing longer range for the customer in real world cold weather conditions,” said Sherif. “Additionally, since acceleration in an electric vehicle comes from the power available in the battery, the customer will have more power available if the battery is warmer.”

The use of active liquid heating also enables owners of Focus Electric to automatically precondition battery pack temperature during daily recharging. While the vehicle is plugged in to the power grid, the vehicle system will be able to warm up the battery on cold days.

“Even when you’re parking in cold temperatures, as long as the vehicle is plugged in, you will warm up the battery,” explained Marakby. “Basically, customers will have the capability they need right off the bat. They won’t have to wait for the car to warm up.”

On cold days, heated liquid warms the batteries, gradually bringing the system’s temperature to a level that allows it to efficiently accept charge energy and provide enough discharge power to get good vehicle performance.

Electrification is an important piece of the overall Ford product sustainability strategy. The aggressive strategy includes five new electrified vehicles in North America by 2012 and Europe by 2013. Ford launched the Transit Connect Electric small commercial van in 2010 and in addition to Focus Electric in late 2011, will introduce C-MAX Hybrid, a second next-generation lithium-ion battery hybrid and the C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid in 2012.

Ford has launched an Electrified Vehicle Facebook page to serve as a place where passionate enthusiasts or curious consumers can find and share information about the company’s electrified vehicles. The page, available at facebook.com/FordElectricVehicles , is part of the Ford efforts to educate consumers on the variety of choices available with electrified vehicles and what the company is doing to make an electric lifestyle as easy as possible.

The Ford Electrified Vehicle page for Facebook was developed to help consumers understand the differences between electric-vehicle technologies so they can make informed decisions about whether a hybrid, plug-in hybrid or all-electric vehicle fits their driving habits. The page also creates a place where consumers can initiate and participate in conversations around Ford’s electrified vehicle offerings and gives Ford a forum to respond to consumers who are interested in electrified vehicles.

You can learn more about the Ford Focus Electric on theFordStory.com by clicking here.
Thomas Artman 03/12/2011
Anybody from Ford reading this: do you know what the power consumption per mile is? Such as, in Wh/mile? That's a useful metric that Tesla reports. It's alot like mpg, where you can estimage travel for yourself.

I know, their cars and the Focus EV have range predictors and such build-in, but still, it would be useful information to know about how much energy the car uses per mile.
Thomas Artman 03/09/2011
I don't understand why people are so negative about the usefulness of EVs.

Unless you're an idiot, you don't run out of gas with your regular car - you pay attention to the gage, the car makes a noise when you're low, etc. EVs are designed with even more advanced systems, including constantly-updating predicted range, charge level of the battery pack, etc.

More importantly, if you actually read the blogs of actual EV drivers over the last decade, you'll see that they drive them every day to work. The newer ones with 100+ mile ranges, have with plenty of charge left after work to run errands and get home with no worries, even if you sit in traffic (EVs don't "idle", so they use a negligible amount of electricity when sitting in traffic, unlike gas cars that continue to burn fuel regardless).

Except for the likes of the Tesla Roadster or the Tesla Model S, road trips are prohibitive in most parts of the country (not everywhere, though: California businesses and utilities have charging stations, as well as charging stations for RVs in camp grounds that the Tesla is able to charge from, as well).

Surprisingly, for urban dwellers like myself, EVs are not practical because most apartment and condo landlords I've dealt with flat-out refuse to provide any sort of charging structure - not even a plain-old 120V outlet. I have a Mariner hybrid because I have nowhere to plug any other vehicle in, and with the engine off when not needed while driving, I get 36 mpg year-round, and over 39 in the summer! (that's combined mpg - total miles traveled divided by total gallons pumped).
Lee Groves 03/02/2011
Diesel engines, so we can convert used cooking oil into biodiesel and station diesel to save money. still have to pay over the road use tax. in California it .18
Andy Chemistruck 03/02/2011
Most of the people on this post need to take a science class or two.
1. Electric machines have better dynamics than internal combustion engines. This means that all you truck lovers should want either a hybrid or all electric vehicle. Companies like John Deere and Cat are designing hybrid construction equipment for this reason.
2. The chemistry of the battery is heavily temperature dependent so in the cold, most of the available capacity is not accessible because of kinetic/thermodynamic reasons.
3. Electric vehicles can be designed to charge in 15 minutes or less, but the infrastructure to support mass conversion to EV for transmission and stability reasons.
Lee Wright 03/02/2011
That's just what I need is a vehicle that I don't know what it costs to drive.
Brent Henry 03/02/2011
Its sad that so many people believe they can get something from nothing, or something for nothing,

There are costs, we can never overcome the costs, I'd rather stick with what we have and keep investing in the internal combustion engine and keep investing in Oil exploration, and keep investing in alternative fuel sources like Plankton, and even using our waste to create fuel! yep there are companies working at turning plastic into fuel! and even Diesels have been using Bio fuels for many, many years now!
Uchechukwu Udechukwu 03/01/2011
is ok i which dat will be pursible for ford i would have prefare dt one.
Jeff Burke 03/01/2011
I'm planning on getting a Focus Electric when it comes out, but I need help convincing my HR department to consider installing charging stations. I'm thinking a quick word of encouragement with a blue oval letter head would get them thinking, but alas, my Ford connections are quite limited.
James Defelice 03/01/2011
my dad seen it happen and know him not joking about it the guy said if there a will there a way
Uchechukwu Udechukwu 03/01/2011
james u are funny all dis for ford? u people are funny hahahaha
James Defelice 03/01/2011
stuff in rain water and ponds the stuff burns in engine there is a kit he sold turned gas engine to a water burner
James Defelice 03/01/2011
i heard of a car runing on water stuff in rain water my dad know a guy that did it . It works
Bill Gordon 03/01/2011
There will be several versions of hybrid - electric and electric engines. These vehicles are designed to match multiple driving routines. What will the new driving habits be like? The new gas station will adapt., As they should say; Ford has an app for everything.
There will be several versions of hybrid and electric engines. What will the new driving habits be like? The new gas station will adapt. As they say, there's an app for everything. Ford is the #1 Brand in the USA for a reason., much do do with the Alan Mulally Management Team.
Brian Langston 03/01/2011
I wish Ford would build a natural gas vehicle that could be filled up at home. Nat gas burns clean so you can eliminate all of the EPA crap from the vehicle. The U.S. has plenty of it. You would think the government would run school buses and state vehicles on it!
David Guzman 03/01/2011
Hahaha, I like how Ford releases this info on how weather doesn't affect the Electric Focus. I wonder if this has anything to do with the latest Consumer Reports article claiming poor mileage on GM's Volt and a GM's lame-duck excuse that weather will affect its mileage. Should have planned ahead GM. Then again, we come to expect that from you guys nowadays.
Brian Dorow 03/01/2011
I think there will always be an energy controversy, it seems that for every stride and advancement we make with technology theres always a new downfall. Ethanol in gasoline causes moisture in fuel systems, batteries need electricity straining power plants. The energy vs pollution problem is a battle that will never be won.
Uchechukwu Udechukwu 03/01/2011
for me i dont like it dats all i have to say.
Greg Wavell 03/01/2011
I will volunteer to test it for you I drive from hamilton to toronto for work or my wife hamilton to burlington
James Defelice 03/01/2011
i towed less ford than chevy or dodge thats why i have fords and they can make it better for us
Logan Tait 03/01/2011
Uchechukwu Udechukwu 03/01/2011
car is it touch or what? what if u run too far d battery run down no electricity to charge what will u do?
Uchechukwu Udechukwu 03/01/2011
pl my friends if i may ask how will u plug d car in electric? try to help me out i want to know.
Evan Masters 03/01/2011
i got a 96 f-150 im getting 10mpg its lifted and big tires looks like new i run electric cars over
Uchechukwu Udechukwu 03/01/2011
i love ford motors product but not of electric ones. i only prefare d one operating with battery.
Homero Almanza 03/01/2011
theres no way batteries r going to hold in really cold weather with out putting a "blanket" around them..and imagine being in Alaska trying to jump start a electric car in cold weather once the batteries take a dump c'mon, and is a electric car going to out pull or out tow my F550 4x4?.. If I wanted a battery operated car I would go to Toys R Us! I want Detroit motor not the energizer bunny!!
James Defelice 03/01/2011
electric car is for citys only no one will use it over the road
James Defelice 03/01/2011
justin i think ford does not care about people all about selling cars i have some good ideas for ford to get upto 50 mpg maybe more who wants electric cars i dont
Alphonse Frascato 03/01/2011
I used to drive a F-250 but the gas milage was killing me. 400 bucks a month just for fuel just to get to work should be a crime. Switching to a Focus was a hard transition but after saving 300 a month in fuel costs. I quickly adapted.
Nick Toomey 03/01/2011
If you could give an full electric vehicle a range of 400 miles; the same, if not better, performance as gas-powered cars; and 10 minute charges, everyone would be happy. Electric cars are the way of the future, but the technology and infrastructure isn't there yet to support them. Until then, I'll sit and wait for the C-Max plug in hybrid to come out. That'll be the next vehicle my family buys.
Justin Patterson 03/01/2011
leave electricity for our homes, gas powered all the way. The gas prices are going up only to help get electric vehicles out there.
Ana M. Navarro 03/01/2011
I will never drive the best thing is ford truck 1955
James Defelice 03/01/2011
what would happen if u forgot to plug ur car in be for go to work or somerhing else i`ll stay with gas like joseph longo said
ヘルナンデズ マルコ 03/01/2011
That's not gonna work !!!!!
Joseph Longo 03/01/2011
If i wanted a electric car id go to toys r us.. ill stay with my gas truck
Douglas Waer 03/01/2011
Given today's Consumer Reports article panning the Volt, this is great news!
Michael Mangrum 03/01/2011
Hope I never own one
Anthony Charles Tabone 03/01/2011
Check out consumer reports report on Electric cars...
Jonathan Bishop 03/01/2011
Be carefull, they stop making parts for thier cars after 3-5 years...Then where will you be,,, F(found) O(on) R(road) D(Dead)...
Mathew Swanigan 03/01/2011
Roll on Ford , Bring back the work to Detroit :)
Dave Evans 03/01/2011
When I hear the term "electrified" I think of a person killed on power lines or execution via an electric chair. Just call it an electric vehicle.
Adam Tarbox 03/01/2011
Electric Vehicles and Cold Weather
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