How Plug-In Cars Can Face Up To Winter’s Challenges

mEditor’s Note: EarthTechling, always looking to bring you interesting cleantech reading, is proud to repost this article courtesy of partner Midwest Energy News. Author credit goes to Kevin Clemens and video credit to Rick Fuentes. It should be noted as well we got images for this story from here.

Decades ago, plug-in cars were common in Minnesota.

For cars poorly suited for the upper Midwest’s frigid winters, a block heater plugged in overnight could keep the engine warm enough to start the next morning. Cars and trucks with electrical cords protruding from their grills were a frequent sight.

image via Nissan

New technologies such as fuel injection, direct ignition, superior motor oils and better batteries have largely relegated that custom to history in all but the most frigid regions of the world. But with more than a dozen electric and plug-in car models due on the U.S. market in 2012, some Minnesotans will find themselves reviving the practice.

Shayna Berkowitz has some pretty strong opinions about how electric vehicles perform in Minnesota winters.

“Winter is very hard on this technology,” she said. “Batteries in winter do not equal success.”

Berkowitz knows something about the subject. Her company, ReGo Electric in Minneapolis, specializes in plug-in conversions for hybrid cars, adding additional battery packs to improve fuel economy while improving their all-electric range capabilities.

“To have an all-electric vehicle here in this climate is pretty radical,” Berkowitz says. “It’s a pretty dramatic thing to be able to do.”

However, there are some solutions that can make electric vehicles practical in cold climates.

Midwest Energy News, launched in 2010, is a nonprofit news site dedicated to keeping stakeholders, policymakers, and citizens informed of the important changes taking place as the Midwest shifts from fossil fuels to a clean energy system.

    • Toyota JUST released their Virtual Booth for the Detroit Auto Show.u00a0 It’s pretty awesome.nnIt looks like Toyota has some pretty nice Hybrid/Green Cars on the way..nnHere’s the video/link for it:nnhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uVCNbXknUxg