Thursday, December 8, 2016

Winter Time LEAFing AKA How I get 100 Miles In The Dead of Winter!

Despite the calendar saying Winter is not arriving for a few weeks, Our Winter officially started a few days ago when the Mercury went below freezing.  This afternoon we are expected to get our first significant snowfall in nearly 2 years (or longer. Its been so long, not sure when it snowed and stuck around for more than a day...)

All this means reduced driving range on our EVs.  So a few tips for any EVers and also some great gift ideas for an EVer on your Christmas list!

First off; lower tire pressures reduces efficiency and tire pressures drop as the temperature drops.  What I do is set my tire pressures in the Fall to 44 PSI.  This generally means pressures no lower than roughly 42 PSI during the coldest of  Winter weather.  The rule of thumb is to expect a drop of one PSI for every 10ºF drop in temperature.  Another thing to remember is to set your tire pressures during the coldest part of the day.  First thing in the morning is usually the most convenient for me.

2nd;  Maintaining safety.  Here in the Pacific Northwest, temps in the 20's are rare but wet, rainy weather is not. So being able to see clearly is a huge concern. Making sure your windshield wipers are in good shape and maintaining the inside glass will reduce the need for using defrost to clear the glass.   One of the things I found that works best is this.


Mine has a two part handle which allows you to reach the entire windshield from the driver's seat. The handle comes in two parts so can easily fit in the glove box for storage. The microfiber cloth acts as a glass polisher which does a great job of not only drying the glass but cleaning off the tiny particles and junk that tends to gather on the glass. Gillian from the Seattle LEAF owners group;

"PM auto expert Mike Allen explains that the hazy buildup common to interior window surfaces comes from gaseous vinyl chloride, a plasticizer added to soften vinyl components, which slowly off-gases as a filmy fume. On a hot day, Allen says, the stuff just sublimates right out of the dashboard. Allen could see a use for the tool reaching across anything from steep-raked muscle car windshields to those long-dashed early '90s minivans that looked like DustBusters. Even if the windshield is clean, he might use the microfiber cloth to wipe interior condensation before defrosting "
I did verify this to be accurate. My first version of this I got last year and when I first used it, the streaks were very easy to see and I found that eventually I removed the streaks and the associated distortion.   Also keep in mind. The fog on your windshield is actually millions of water droplets condensing  on the glass simply because the glass cools down much faster than the rest of the car.  Water vapors need something to attach to.  Removing the slimy film along with dirt (most likely diesel particles btw... :( )  makes it that much tougher for water droplets to find a place to form which reduces the need for defrost as well.

AND...

Its currently on Amazon for $9 for a two pack!! So give one, keep one! FYI; fogging issues happen on every car.

Another great option in areas where freezing is a lesser concern than high humidity is a squeegee. Very good for getting the heavy condensation which means your defrost doesn't do clearing, only maintaining which can be done in short bursts. 

Remember to treat both sides of the glass. If you have patience and persistence, Rain X is king! But it does not last (your windshield wipers essentially wipes it off) so needs to be reapplied every month or so and doing it right is not a 5 minute job but conditioning your wipers can be.  Take some alcohol on a clean cloth and rub the edge of the wiper blades until you cannot transfer any more black to the cloth. This will help the wiper slide across the glass easier which increases the contact time that results in a cleaner and clearer wipe.  Also, take some very fine steel wool and rub down your glass every other week. This is a $4 solution that does actually only take 5 minutes!

The reason these methods work is because without surface tension, water has nothing to grab onto so it beads up. RainX does nothing but polish the glass and smooth the tiny imperfections on the surface. So instead of each rain drop smearing across the surface, they bead up and gravity pushes them off the glass!

Keeping moisture in check helps as well. The drier the car (and contents) the less fogging. Now in an area where the humidity runs high nearly all Winter, that can be a challenge.  I do have a pair of desiccant cans which helps I'm sure but I decided to bolster the drying power (Plus I need something for the Corolla) so I ordered a pair of these.  These plug in to regenerate via USB or regular power.  The "333" is the size of the area they should cover. Guessing that is cubic feet.





Thirdly and the most subjective is maintaining comfort.  Now this is the toughest since some people can handle cold and some cannot.  I find that its easy to be "heatless" in the morning than on the evening trip home.  Now part of it is hot shower, hot coffee and a lot of commute left in the morning verses  commute target in sight and extra range to burn!! (well... sometimes)

But the real takeaway is dressing for the weather! I had a video of a lady wearing a very sheer dress with a lightweight sweater impatiently waiting for a tow truck driver to jump her disabled vehicle (yes it was a gasser!) in Michigan and I can only guess she was not comfortable. So hat, gloves and coat is the minimum! Why is she standing outside? Good question!

Now I am heading into my first Winter with my 2016 which does not have steering wheel or backseat heaters! both of which was in my 2013. I have blankets for both front and back seats including a Seahawks wrap thing that has arm holes!  The blankets helped trap the heat so my passengers actually felt very comfortable.  But I decided that a 12 volt blanket for the backseat was in order and got one large enough for both people on Amazon for $27.

For the cold hands issues,  I generally wear Seahawks Gloves during Winter all the time even on warm days but on the colder days, they fall short especially if my hands were already cold when getting in the car (A common issue with my job) so a bit of help was needed.


This I picked up at Shopko for $7 for the two pack. The warming pads are small enough that I can slip them inside my gloves so they sit on the back of my hands and are very effective in keeping my hands toasty!  They are reusable so should last a long time. One thing I did find out is that they need to be reset so they are good for one trip (or two if you are ok with one cold hand. :) ) but as mentioned before, in the morning I am generally pretty comfortable. You can also get an 8 pack on Amazon right now for $24. This is probably the way to go. This allows you to not get caught unprepared.  For $35 they have hand warmers that also provide duty as a flashlight and portable power pack for your electronics.


Finally, the biggest thing you can do is simply slow it down a bit.  Not only does it increase your range but its also all about safety. wet, snow, black ice, etc. all increases our risks on the road. Cold air is denser so your LEAF must work harder to push that heavier air out of the way.  There is no getting around that basic reality of physics other than reducing your speed.

In conclusion, the most important issue that needs to be understood is you. We all have limits to compromise, comfort, etc. and thanks to Global Warming, most of the time it simply isn't that cold here.  So if you think all this is my using any excuse I can to show Seahawks Pride, you might be on to something!


2 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete