Stuck in I95 ice storm, traffic jam

Discussion in 'EV (Electric Vehicle) Discussion' started by bwilson4web, Jan 14, 2022.

  1. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web BMW i3 and Model 3

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    Source: https://www.zeta2030.org/insights/im-grateful-that-i-was-driving-my-ev-when-i-got-stuck-on-i-95

    I am especially grateful that I was driving my EV when I got stuck on I-95. I watched countless vehicles slide across the road, but my EV expertly navigated the ice. While fellow drivers burned gasoline running their engines to stay warm, my EV intelligently directed power solely to temperature regulation—I did not have to inefficiently burn fuel to power my entire engine in order to keep us safe. As other drivers then fretted about their dwindling gas reserves, my EV intuitively monitored my power supply, giving me the peace of mind that other drivers did not have. Throughout my entire experience in the I-95 quagmire, I knew exactly how much power my EV was using, how much power remained in its battery, and how far I could drive. Additionally, because EV drivers regularly charge our batteries at home, at work, and in our communities, we are less likely to have just a partial charge, so I was well prepared—unlike most gas-powered vehicle drivers, who rarely drive on a full tank of gas. And despite common misconceptions, EV batteries do perform in the cold: a Tesla driver famously tested his battery in frigid Norway, proving that his EV could keep him warm for a staggering 72 hours. EV manufacturers are constantly improving their battery chemistries too, so battery efficiency will only improve in the years to come.

    When the traffic nightmare finally ended, gas-powered vehicle drivers scrambled to wait in long lines at snowed-in and overwhelmed gas stations, but my EV’s navigation system directed me to a nearby open charger; these charging stations were conveniently installed every ten miles along the traffic corridor. Despite the extreme conditions my EV endured that day, I nevertheless made it to the charger with a fifty-mile range surplus.

    Sounds familiar to me as I've used 'dog mode' and it barely loads the traction battery.

    Bob Wilson
     
  2. fuzzy1

    fuzzy1 Senior Member

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    I do want to encourage EVs, but this editorial looks to me like a lot of competitive FUD. Having last week made a 400 mile trip trying to beat a very heavy snow forecast nearly certain to cause an I-90 mountain pass closure somewhere around 300-350 miles into the route (which it did, for 89 hours, but starting several hours later than I was guesstimating), I can't sympathize with many of the author's statements.
    I thought sliding on glazed ice and packed snow was more a function of tire suitability and driver behavior, than of propulsion system.
    OBDII-port monitors do as well for gassers lacking similar gauging.
    Gas drivers rarely top up their tanks? What world did he come from? While I know some with that bad habit, most I know do fill up. And with this winter storm forecast, even starting the route with a nearly full tank, I had already topped up twice before reaching the road closure risk zone, just in case I couldn't detour to my back-up destination and might to have to car-camp overnight and the next day.
    If everyone had an EV, I don't know how their "long lines at snowed-in and overwhelmed stations" issue would have been any different. This particular case sounds like he was in better shape because relatively few drivers were competing for his refueling source.
    I wish. They are about 30 miles apart on the final Interstate portion of my trip up to the mountain crest, totaling 28 connections in the hundred miles leading up. Then 22 connections in the next 35 miles. For a road averging 27,000 vehicles per day.

    But the first half+ of my route had just one mapped charger location with 2 Tesla connections of 8kW.

    Yes, many more will be installed as adoption increases. But that doesn't mean the 'long lines' issue will be meaningfully different when mobs of suddenly unstuck vehicles all head together for recharging.
    That is lethal hogwash. The two drivers who died in floodwaters here last week didn't die because their gas engines were inundated. They died because floodwaters floated and swept their vehicles off the road into deeper water to gradually sink, killing them by drowning or hypothermia in the dark of night. EVs won't fix that.

    upload_2022-1-13_23-19-55.png
     
    #2 fuzzy1, Jan 14, 2022
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2022
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  3. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web BMW i3 and Model 3

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    Our former Prius were exceptionally efficient when stopped at idle. Our cars only ran the ICE to sustain the catalytic converter temperature and battery SOC. We used this in April 2011 when tornadoes tore out the high power transmission lines across North Alabama. The resulting 4 days and 6 hours using our 1.1 kW inverter to keep the furnace and house livable used only 2 gallons/day. But ordinary ICE vehicles would not even come close.

    My personal experience is Tesla cabin HVAC is exceptionally efficient, better than our earlier Prius. So far, keeping the cabin air in the 70 F region is under 1 kWh. My Tesla actually has a 'camping' mode. But using seat heaters and blankets, the electric power demand for a comfortable cabin is 1/3d of keeping the cabin warm because the relatively inefficient ICE does not have to run. I recommend Bjørn Nyland has videos about camping out in Norway winters closer to 0 F.

    We do have colder, outside air temperatures for the next 2-3 months. Would you be interested in doing an 'over night' test of your car and my 2019 Std Rng Plus Model 3?
    • Both cars are set to cabin heating, 70 F, and run overnight.
    • Both cars measure the amount and cost of gas and electricity during the test.
    • Outside temperature of 40 F or lower at start of test.
    • There is one human inside the car during the test.
    This can go beyond a Prius vs Tesla benchmark. Anyone with an ordinary gas/diesel car or other make/models are welcome to join the 'cold weather' benchmark. NOTE: all cars must be outside to minimize the carbon monoxide risk.

    Bob Wilson

    ps. There appears to be a major winter storm headed across the USA.
     
    #3 bwilson4web, Jan 14, 2022
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2022
  4. Trollbait

    Trollbait It's a D&D thing

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    Most people probably do fill up. The issue in that section of I95 is that it is heavily built up. There are gas stations accessible at every exit. With plentiful supply, people are more likely to let the tank get low before stopping. Once stuck in traffic, there is nothing to do.
     
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  5. mikefocke

    mikefocke Prius v Three 2012, Avalon 2011

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    I've traveled that stretch of I-95 at least a hundred times. I can't recall a trip when I didn't have at least a half tank of gas in my car at all times because gas is expensive in DC so I would fill up at the NC border and have plenty of gas to get back to that cheap station.

    I've been on I-95 when bridges were totally closed and a multi-hour detour was necessary and gas gars were in a panic tring to find the few rural gas stations on the detour. That was before EVs.

    And sat is a 2 hour backup on I-95 in my Prius v feeling smug as I used such little gas compared to the spewing monsters next to me.

    I read the full article in the Post.

    Golly, you could have made money with the properly located porta-potty. An aspect not covered in the Post.
     
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  6. ChapmanF

    ChapmanF Senior Member

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    When we were caught in the blizzard of 1974, we noticed it was typical for the stranded drivers behind you to turn their headlights off when you got out of the car to deal with that.

    Thinking back on it, I wonder what we all thought we were accomplishing having our headlights on the rest of the time.

    I typically treat 1/2 tank as my "not to go beyond without fillup" point. Therefore, the average amount of fuel in my tank is 3/4.

    Lots of people wait for near-empty and then fill up. The average amount of fuel in their tanks is 1/2.
     
  7. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web BMW i3 and Model 3

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    Standard equipment: roll of paper towels and roll of toilet paper.

    Bob Wilson
     
  8. ChapmanF

    ChapmanF Senior Member

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    Ever since a very unpleasant (but not nearly as unpleasant as it coul᠎da been) experience in Virginia: WAG bags.

    Weirdly, even the updated link in that post now goes to a 404 page. You'd think the company that sells them would quit changing their URLs all the time so people could make working links to their products.
     
  9. Trollbait

    Trollbait It's a D&D thing

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    Been there, done that. Except the bridge closure. My 10 hour trip has taken as long as 15 hours. Skippers is my usual refueling stop.

    Half tank on the display is likely less than half. Sometimes, it seems like a third. Between the rain and holiday traffic, the cars aren't getting their best fuel economy. Drivers may realize they should get off and get gas, but after hours on the road, they are thinking of just getting home without anymore delay. Then snow starts, and things start freezing. Then there is an accident, and now they are stuck.
     
  10. fuzzy1

    fuzzy1 Senior Member

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    My '78 Ford was like that, but on every gasser since, half on the gauge has been well over half a tank, due to significant reserve margin below E.
    I have noticed that it is common to turn off headlights during all sorts of lengthy delays, whether for construction, crash response, or winter road clearing. Many folks turn engines off. Whether ignition is fully off, or turned to accessory mode for radio updates, having headlights on squanders 12V battery charge.
    Cabin set to a tropical 70F, in a balmy 40F ambient? Not us.

    Sorry, I am unable to run a test from home, because home doesn't fall to my temperatures of interest. Our winter travels are for skiing, so we always have a decent supply of cold weather ski clothing to be pulled on as temperatures drop, with even more on hand on overnight trips. Inside the cabin has a big advantage of no wind chill, so no need to create a cabin camping mode temperature above 35F. Start with outside temperatures at +10F (Gallatin County MT, among our favorite destinations, overnight averages 9F in December), and continue down to at least -20F (the coldest night on our last pre-pandemic ski trip). Extra credit for matching the coldest ski trip temperatures I have driven in, -36 to -46 F (depending on whose thermometer is referenced). (No, we didn't ski anywhere near that cold, just started driving home.)

    I'm seeing that the 2021 Model 3 has a better heat pump than your 2019. But also reports this week of some of those heat pumps failing.
     
    #10 fuzzy1, Jan 14, 2022
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2022
  11. Trollbait

    Trollbait It's a D&D thing

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    And most also have a high reserve over full. The first quarter of the gauge seems to always put more miles on the trip meter.
     
  12. fuzzy1

    fuzzy1 Senior Member

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    On all mine, the extra on the top has always(*) been much less than the 100-125 miles extra on the bottom below E.

    (*) except that '78, which had negative margin on the bottom, running out with its needle still above E.
     
  13. dbstoo

    dbstoo Active Member

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    I read that article too. The author pointed out that he charged the car to 100% before leaving on that trip. If he used the typical Tesla charging technique of doing partial charges (quicker charging at lower SOC) and just enough to get to the destination.... he might not have made it.
     
  14. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web BMW i3 and Model 3

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    So what level did the ICE cars have before starting their drive?

    Actually I don't care. I'm more interested in measuring my Model 3 kWh as a function of inside and outside temperature difference.

    Bob Wilson
     
  15. dbstoo

    dbstoo Active Member

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    Bob, the point made was that the he had 50 miles of range left because he was charging at home and not relying on the algorithm that Tesla uses when it plans out your charging points.

    When I enter snow country in bad weather we make sure that we gas up frequently and that we carry food, water and blankets too. A post on this site in the last week said that their prime used .10 gallons of gas per hour to heat the car in extreme cold. That's about 2.5 gallons per day, or almost 5 days of heat. Not too bad.

    How many watt-hours does it take to heat that model 3 when it's stuck in a snow storm?
     
  16. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web BMW i3 and Model 3

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    After the introduction, skip to 7:26 for "2 kWh per hour:"


    Another ad hoc test:


    A planned, 24 hour campout test:


    Bob Wilson
     
    #16 bwilson4web, Jan 15, 2022
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2022
  17. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    when we hit the beltway in january on the way to florida, the tank is getting close to empty.
    we fill up that evening near the hotel in fredericksburg, va for the next day.
    a traffic jam like that would be a disaster for us.
     
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  18. mikefocke

    mikefocke Prius v Three 2012, Avalon 2011

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    Been using Skippers for 20 years. Somewhere about Exit 7 in VA IIRC. That intersection's establishments sure have increased.

    A gas tank is a wondrous thing and all the gauge readouts are supposed to be dictated by SAE standards. Referring to J398 Appendix B Figure B1: Beyond Low Fuel warning there is Empty readout but even beyond that there is a reserve that you go into at the risk of bricking your car if you totally exhaust the reserve. The half tank readout is supposed to be exactly at the half way point between auto-shut-off and indicated Empty.
     
  19. fuzzy1

    fuzzy1 Senior Member

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    TL;DW.
    At what temperatures?
    He isn't dressed the way I need to be when outside at -26C.

    That is a 2021, your 2019 doesn't have a similar system:
    https://electrek.co/2020/12/03/tesla-model-3-heat-pump-comparison-results/

    But the new system is still having many problems and failures:
    https://electrek.co/2021/01/01/tesla-model-3-y-cars-plagued-heating-issues/
    https://electrek.co/2022/01/12/tesla-owners-losing-heat-extreme-cold-heat-pumps-failing-badly/
    Tesla Heat Pumps Failing In Cold, Tips To Help Until Fix Arrives
     
    #19 fuzzy1, Jan 15, 2022
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2022
  20. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web BMW i3 and Model 3

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    I agree @fuzzy1 these ad hoc metrics leave a lot to be desired. He reports a range from 1.4 to 2 kW.

    In a perfect world, I would expect an engineering formula with:
    • Temperature difference
    • Relative air speed and direction
    • Ice, snow, and rain fall rates
    • Heated volume
    • Use of additional thermal barriers
    • Number of human and animals inside
    In real life, we use the vehicle battery metrics to optimize comfort and duration. We ‘drive’ our EVs to meet our requirements. This of course leaves the question of ‘how long’ open:
    • ‘You are going to quickly freeze to death’ - FUD by anti-EV posters.
    • ‘It depends on your skill’ - by EV owners
    I’m comfortable with my ability to handle the problems of life. As for others, ‘You can’t fix stupid,’ Ron White.

    Bob Wilson

    ps. EV ownership is an applied IQ test.
     
    #20 bwilson4web, Jan 15, 2022
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2022