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Electric vehicle owners navigate winter range challenges

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James Bergeron is the proud new owner of a fully electric Rivian R1T pickup truck, but as temperature drops, so does the range of his vehicle.

"If it's really cold, like on a really, really cold day, it's like a 30 per cent loss," said Bergeron.

In cold conditions, EV batteries charge slower and die faster, affecting the overall driving range. Bergeron has noticed some loss of range over the past few weeks now that winter has arrived in the capital.

"I picked it up just at the end of December, so it wasn't super cold then, and I was getting about 400 or so kilometers," says Bergeron. "And now it's probably maybe 350."

A recent study by Recurrent Auto on cold weather and electric cars identifies the Hyundai Kona, Ford F-150 Lightning, and Audi e-tron as the top three models for winter driving range. Despite efficiency losses in winter, these models still offer some of the longest cold-weather ranges among popular EVs, averaging around 300 kilometers.

Nicholas Morin, a Tesla owner for nearly two years, emphasizes ways to conserve battery power when necessary.

"It also depends on the speed you drive, how comfortable you want it in there. Are the heated seats on, you know, massaging chairs on," says Morin. "All the sorts of things that will change the power you use right. So it depends on your comfort level as well."

Even though some EV owners might have more range anxiety during winter months, Morin says not to worry.

"If you're going for long drives, maybe up north in remote areas, then maybe it's more of a concern for sure," says Morin. "But if you live in the city and work in the city, then no."

As for James Bergeron, the decision to switch to an electric truck is one he's not regretting, despite the loss of range in the winter.

"Extremely happy. Yeah. It does everything. It's fast, it's comfortable, it's super quiet. And, you know, so far, no complaints." 

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