Journalist Learns Tough Lesson About Electric Vehicles When Weather Throws a Big Wrench in Her Road Trip


A journalist is once again reporting on the tough lessons that she and her husband learned when they took an electric vehicle on a long road trip.

Last month, journalist Joann Muller wrote about the experience that she and her husband had when they loaned a Kia EV6 and drove it on a 1,500-mile road trip from Michigan to Florida.

Her report documented that in the cold weather it often took an extremely long time to charge the car, that in order to reduce strain on the battery they drove without cabin heat, and that they had severe “range anxiety” and were constantly thinking about where to stop and charge.

Her conclusion was that while America is making progress on the EV front, Americans are still not ready for long road trips in an EV.

Now, in a follow-up report for Axios, Mueller wrote about what happened when she and her husband drove the EV from Florida back to Detroit, and the interesting misadventure they had as they approached home.

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Mueller kicked off the report by saying that they thought they had figured out how to take an EV on a road trip, but they were sadly mistaken.

“Just when we thought we’d figured out how to master a long road trip in an electric vehicle,” she wrote, “Mother Nature imparted one final lesson.”

She said, “we were overconfident in our car’s driving range,” as the trip initially went well, and nothing went wrong. She and her husband were absolutely sure that they could make it home with power to spare.

But as they crossed into Ohio, things started to get a little dicey. They stopped for dinner, which meant that they spent some of their battery life, meaning that they could not get back to Detroit that night as they planned

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“We could have been home by midnight if we were driving a gas car, even if we stopped for dinner,” Mueller wrote, but because Ohio had very few options when it came to charging, they were forced to spend the night in a hotel.

After charging in Ohio, they thought they could make it home with 34 miles to spare, but as they approached Michigan, the weather worsened and the temperature cooled, meaning that the range was significantly reduced.

With only 8 percent of the battery left, “the car informed us it was ‘blocking outside air for comfort'” — in other words, it was recirculating our body heat. But then the windows started to fog up.”

Fortunately, at that moment they found a charging station and had to charge up one final time before making it home — which was only eight miles away.

The fact of the matter is, we are seeing these same problems with electric vehicles over and over again, especially when it comes to losing range quickly in cold weather. And this issue is not just affecting one type of EV: Teslas, Mini Cooper SEs, Ford F-150 Lightenings and many more have reportedly lost range in cold weather.

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Furthermore, their decision to use an electric vehicle on the trip added a whole day to their journey. As they admitted, if they used a gas car, they would have been home much earlier.

This whole thing was a learning experience for Mueller and her husband, and it taught them one very important thing: America is not ready for long EV trips just yet.

There is a lot of promise, but there is still a long way to go before people can feel confident in taking these cars across the country.

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Peter Partoll is a commentary writer for the Western Journal and a Research Assistant for the Catholic Herald. He earned his bachelor's degree at Hillsdale College and recently finished up his masters degree at Royal Holloway University of London. You can follow him on Twitter at @p_partoll.