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How long can you be stuck in a traffic jam with an electric car before the battery runs out?

February 2, 2022

horror file

In early January, hundreds of cars were stuck in a traffic jam on the road between Richmond (the capital of the state of Virginia) and Washington DC for almost two days. More than 30 centimeters of snow fell in a short time, causing trucks to swerve and quickly creating a traffic jam of 77 kilometers. Many people had to spend the night in their cars, while the outside temperature was well below freezing.

Electric car in traffic

It is difficult to run a petrol or diesel engine for two days to keep you warm in a traffic jam. Your tank will run out once. Moreover, it is not exactly healthy to sit in exhaust gases for so long, which automatically enter the interior when you are standing still. But what about if you get stuck in a traffic jam with an electric car in winter? They don’t take the cold very well, do they? An American YouTuber , who owns both a Tesla Model Y and Model X, took the test.

36 hours

For the test, he charged both cars to 90% and then turned them on in his backyard with the heating at 21°C. The outside temperature during the test was around -11 degrees. So cold. After 12 hours, the Model X was at 47% and the Model Y at 58%. On a full battery, this would mean that the Model X would last a total of 28 hours, and the Model Y 36 hours. But then the battery is really empty.

Bad conditions

In an electric car you can last for a while, if you end up in a traffic jam in the winter. However, the conditions during the test were not very realistic. During a real scenario, the cars would probably use less power. During the test, for example, there were no people in the car, who themselves give off a lot of heat and it was freezing cold in the car before the test started. Heating a cold car takes more energy than maintaining the temperature. Of course you don’t end up in a traffic jam with an ice-cold car.

Tesla Camp mode

In addition, the YouTuber has not used Camp Mode, with which you can transform a Tesla into a caravan. In this mode, the climate control continues to work, just like the radio, Spotify or Netflix, but the rest of the car turns off. This way the car consumes little power and the interior stays at temperature very efficiently. Tests show that a Tesla in Camp Mode consumes about 2 percent of battery capacity per hour in sub-zero temperatures.

Also read: Tesla Superchargers in the Netherlands immediately accessible for non-Tesla’s

Model 3

That Camp Mode works excellently in traffic jams is apparent from the story of a woman who was stuck in the relevant traffic jam in Virginia with her Tesla Model 3 for sixteen hours. Thanks to this position, she didn’t worry for a minute about coming home. She ended up in a traffic jam with a 74% charge, but thanks to Camp Mode, she came home the next day with 61% battery left. There are even photos of Tesla owners who were enjoying Netflix in the horror file.

You can watch the entire test in the video below: