Is electric car cold weather performance really that bad?

If electric cars don’t work so well in the cold then why do the Norwegians buy so many of them?

Meanwhile, in Other Tesla News: round up of NYT spat; the new $30,000 saloon while vital Q4 2012 financial results are due this week.

norway tesla coupe

Reduced battery power in low temperatures is one of the supposed main disadvantages of electric cars.

The terrible range in cold weather was a serious problem,’ writes Autocar’s Hilton Holloway about his time running a Nissan Leaf.

Sales of electric cars in Norway have been exaggerated but, per capita, the north west European country – famous for its sub-zero climate – has the most EVs in the world. The Nissan Leaf was thirteenth best selling car there last year.

Tesla tackled the issue head on last week with some compelling testimonials from its Norwegian customers. There doesn’t seem to be a tree-hugging leftie among them.

Jan S. Sørensen (his son, pictured) said, ‘I have used my Roadster every day for nearly a year now and this winter I have been in several ski resorts in Norway. I have attached a photo from Hemsedal. My son and I drove 250km in –20 C with skis on the skirack and full ski equipment in the trunk. The coldest temperature we experienced was – 25 C (when the picture was taken) but we had no problems with the car. Since December we have experienced very low temperatures and had temperatures below -10, -15 and -20 C in long periods.’

Other Norwegian customers provide back up in the comments and we didn’t see any complaints. DriveEurope is not in a position to judge the rights and wrongs of the issue, or whether cold weather affects particular EVs more than others. But clearly it is not as cut and dried as some might like to think.

A Tesla Model S on the German autobahn at an indicated 171kph - 106mph, on the company’s recent central Europe dealer tour. The cars make their final stop in Copenhagen on Friday and Saturday, 22-24 February. Contact for details.

A Tesla Model S on the German autobahn at an indicated 171kph – 106mph, on the company’s recent central Europe dealer tour. The cars make their final stop in Copenhagen on Friday and Saturday, 22-24 February. See for details.

Cheaper Tesla due soon

Affordability is one of the other major disadvantage of electric cars. Including the £5,000 government grant, the Nissan leaf retails at £23,995 in the UK. The Model S costs about €72,000 in Europe (UK prices TBA). The upcoming Renault Zoe supermini though starts at £13,650. Last week, Tesla said its next car will sell for $30,000. The so-called BlueStar project, a medium-sized saloon car, is expected in 2015/16.

Spat roundup

Did you know Tesla is pronounced ‘Tessla’? That was one of many things we learned from Thursday’s ugly public spat between Tesla boss Elon Musk and the New York Times.

Musk called NYT’s highly critical report on the company’s Model S ‘fake’.

Green Car reports has a comprehensive round up of round one here. See the NYT original article, Elon Musk‘s rebuttal and NYT‘s reply.

Since then CNN replicated the NYT route saying ‘it wasn’t that hard’ but adding the trip would probably have been quicker in a petrol powered car.

We predict an outbreak of peace. There are enough cracks in the arguments for the conflict to seep away.

Update 20.02.13: we were right that peace would break out. The two sides seem to be settling down now with the latest more amenable blog post from Elon Musk. But that comes in the wake of a column – titled ‘Problems With Precision and Judgment, but Not Integrity, in Tesla Test’ – by the venerable Margaret Sullivan, The New York Times Public Editor.

Update 24.02.13: The New York Times cannot leave the issue alone! The spat was subject of another roundup on 22 February with a harder line than previously. Margaret Sullivan issued a clarification of her earlier blog post on the subject saying, ‘My opinions… are not those of The Times.’

Another blizzard of publicity this week…

Whether Tesla needs the media on side anymore will become clearer on Wednesday. The company will release its highly anticipated fourth quarter 2012 results at 17:30 EST (21:30 GMT). Late last year Elon Musk said the company was in trading profit for the first time, followed by a negative report from an analyst. It’s going to be another interesting week for the world’s most controversial car company.

UPDATE: 24.02.13: Gosh, what a boring conference call that was. All participants droned on. The upshot is that Tesla lives to fight another day. The $75m loss for the quarter was larger than expected balanced by a full order book and a successful move to full production capacity. The closing share price before the results was $38.54. They opened the next morning at $36.49 and at $35.72 on Friday. The shares finally closed at $36.11.

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