This December has brought record-freezing temperatures to parts of northern China. The sudden chill has rehashed an old debate about EVs performing poorly in cold climates. With EV technology improving rapidly, sales growing steadily, and general public sentiment towards EVs improving, could this icy winter slow down the success of this new automotive technology in China? Recent articles from various media outlets take a closer look at the issue in China and suggest that electric hybrids (PHEVs) may be advantageous over pure electric vehicles (BEVs).
On popular domestic automotive media outlet 99 Car Talk, an article tackles this issue and receives feedback from drivers. Comments like “charging is crazy slow when the weather is cold” are often found, while others poke fun at EVs, saying “electric cars covered in snow are like useless ice sculptures.” Of course, this issue isn’t new, but Chinese media outlets continue to report similar user experiences.
Beijing last week had unusually low temperatures and Beijing News reported instances of owners complaining of insufficient charging infrastructure to account for slower charging and “reduced battery performance.” On December 25th, an extensive article on TMT Post voiced familiar complaints of cold weather-induced “half range” or “mileage anxiety.”
Chinese carmakers are aware of these concerns and now often test their vehicles thoroughly in cold weather climates, for example, the popular AITO M7 was seen cold-weather testing before its launch. Early this year, the Voyah Dreamer underwent winter testing in Mongolia and encountered severe problems in the harsh winter conditions.
While no immediate solution to this problem is on the horizon, the article by 99 Post suggests that cold weather climates may be better suited for hybrid electric vehicles over pure battery electric vehicles. Though sales data suggests that BEV sales are improving over PHEVs, it’s clear that a case has been made for PHEVs in colder regions.