Electric vehicles fail at a lower rate than gas cars in extreme cold

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Electric vehicles fail at a lower rate than gas-powered cars in the extreme cold, according to a road assistance service in Norway.

Electric vehicles often get bad press about their performance in the cold. Just yesterday, we reported on dead Tesla vehicles piling up at supercharger stations across Chicago.

It now looks like the extreme cold conditions have affected the chargers themselves rather than the vehicles, according to local sources.

But it mainly gets attention because it’s a new technology and it fails for different reasons than gasoline vehicles in the cold.

Now, we get actual data comparing failure rates of EVs versus ICE cars thanks to our friends in Norway.

Everywhere in the world, internal combustion engine vehicles fail in the cold a lot more often than electric vehicles, but that’s mostly due to the fact that there are a lot more of them.

In Norway, almost 1 in 4 cars on the road is electric, which makes it easy to adjust per capita.

The country has been experiencing extreme cold conditions since the beginning of the year, and Viking, a road assistance company (think AAA), says that it responded to 34,000 assistance requests in the first 9 days of the year.

Viking says that only 13% of the cases were coming from electric vehicles (via TV2 – translated from Norwegian):

He explains that 13 percent of the cases with starting difficulties are electric cars, while the remaining 87 percent are fossil cars. Setrom says that 23 percent of the cars in Norway are electric cars. This means that electric cars are almost twice as good as fossil cars in the cold. 

To be fair, this data doesn’t adjust for the age of the vehicles. Older gas-powered cars fail at a higher rate than the new ones and electric vehicles are obviously much more recent on average.

Overall, Viking says that electric vehicles are involved in roughly 21% of all its cases so far in 2024.

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