To AC or Not To AC

Saturday 6th September 2014

We’re 5 years into the revenge of the Electric Car and things are going well, but – I’m still coming across articles that are full of nonsense about Electric Cars. This past week, I read about how my Electric Car is “Labor Day Traffic’s New Menace” and how it will be responsible for the traffic jam you’ll be in that weekend!

It won’t, and here’s why…

My head is all mushy from this ridiculous muggy heat here in NJ, it makes me tired. But the electric car, it is not mushy or tired, quite the opposite in fact, it is full of electrons and raring to go. I can get in my electric car, turn it on, have the AC come on to keep me cool and not see the range go down too much at all.

This week, an article published in Bloomberg of all places – you’d think they’d check their facts – repeated a comment made in a blog that claimed that some cars in a long traffic jam in California died and had to be pushed to the side of the road by their owners… and that they were all electric cars! Okay, where to start? There were no pictures, no make or model listed and everyone seems to have forgotten that the whole jam was, in fact, caused by a car fire… You forget how safe those things are. Wrong following wrong.

You can read the article here:

Most people think the AC uses a lot of power but it doesn’t. The heating system uses much more but even that, as with the AC, once at temperature, turns itself right down. Actually, I have been pleasantly surprised by how little power the AC uses, I am not seeing much of a reduction in predicted range nor much of an increase in battery consumption.

Could this be a myth that the AC uses a lot of battery or is it the case that the newer cars like the BMW i3 are just more efficient?

When I read news articles, written by the uninformed, that claim to have found another reason why we shouldn’t buy Electric Cars, then I get cross. They really need to do their homework before publishing such a ridiculous article or, do they do it to make us cross? After all, one of the things we love about Electric Cars and traffic jams is that when we sit in them, not using any power, it is completely unlike the huge SUV next to us puffing out noxious fumes and, especially so because they’re idling! They’re also consuming vast quantities of fuel and therefore reducing their range – but hey, no one ever writes about that do they? No one ever says that a petrol cars range is reduced significantly in slow moving traffic. No, they just say an Electric Car will run out of electricity in slow moving or still traffic. Oh dear, how uninformed they are. If my range was getting low – and I’d know from the sophisticated array of displays – would I just sit in the traffic until it went to zero? Umm, no I would not, I would pull over and get off at the nearest exit. There’s no way that I or any other Electric Car driver wouldn’t realise that they were low on power and yet do nothing about it. Perhaps they should write that an Electric Cars range will be reduced in fast moving traffic – then I couldn’t disagree with them.

Could it be that the cars in the article above were normal over-heating petrol cars? Has that ever happened to you?


I am still amazed, even after five years of driving electric, how people still go on about range and how if you drive an Electric Car you will run out of power and get stranded. Funny thing is, not once have I run out of power and been stranded. This is probably because I am smart enough to know the limits of my Electric Cars and how far they can go. Why would I drive a 150 mile journey if I knew my Electric Car can only do 100? You just wouldn’t set off unless you knew there where chargers on your route and that they were accessible. That’s the smart thing to do. I’d like to talk to these so called journalists and ask where they get their information from and whether they just make it up as they go along.


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