Tesla supercharging stations around Chicago have become what some residents are referring to as ‘Tesla graveyards’ as the arctic blast runs their batteries flat.
EV owners have spent days crowded around charging stations, hopelessly trying to power up their cars in temperatures as low as -5 °F and in many cases left with no option but to hire a flatbed truck to bring their vehicles home.
Arctic air will continue to bring sub-freezing conditions to much of the country on Tuesday – in Minneapolis, Buffalo and New York temperatures were -2, 14 and 29 °F respectively.
Such cold has dire effects on electric cars – causing their batteries to drain more than twice as fast, killing their ability to generate power via regenerative braking, and slowing the charging process drastically.
At -5 °F an electric car will have less than 50 percent of its full range, according to a study by telematics provider Geotab.
And owners able to get to charging stations quickly discovered that charging them takes much longer – and is sometimes not possible at all.
Some cars died as their owners waited for available chargers, leaving them stranded and forced to abandon them in the ‘graveyard’.
On Monday, Tyler Beard was at a Tesla charging station in the Oak Brook suburb of Chicago, where he had first started trying to recharge his Tesla on Sunday afternoon.
‘Nothing. No juice. Still on zero percent,’ he told Fox 32. ‘And this is like three hours being out here, after being out here eight hours yesterday.’
‘This is crazy. It’s a disaster – seriously,’ Tesla owner Chalis Mizelle told the station.
‘It’s very frustrating,’ said another stranded driver. ‘I want Elon Musk to do something about this.’
Some Tesla owners even found they were unable to open their doors due to the freezing temperatures and door handle mechanisms the automaker uses.
In another Chicago suburb, Evergreen Park, residents were also seen lining up for hours.
‘You have to come up here, wait two hours to get into the charger. They tell you the chargers are fast but it takes two hours to charge your car,’ Marcus Campbell told NBC Chicago.
Chicago resident Rob Ross had been experimenting with an electric car but after his most recent experience decided they weren’t fit for the city.
‘My conclusion is, as far as the drive and everything, it’s real nice,’ he told the station. ‘But not for Chicago, not Chicago, I couldn’t do it.’
wrote to Tesla regarding the issues and for measures owners in cold parts of the country should take but did not hear back.