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When the temperatures drop, everything becomes frozen, including your electric vehicle. We are led to believe that driving an EV when it’s cold can be troublesome. The driving range drops faster in the cold than in warmer temperatures. Several reasons for this precipitous drop in the range have been found. One driver found driving an EV to be more pleasant than expected.

What led to choosing the Kia EV9?

As Joel Stocksdale of Autoblog prepared for his journey to Chicago to enjoy the Chicago Auto Show, he asked for a test car to drive to the event. The route would be from Detroit to Chicago in February. This typically means cold temperatures, which should make an EV the lesser choice.

The options given were the Mazda CX-90 PHEV and Kia EV9. For some reason, Stocksdale chose the Kia EV9 Land AWD. This meant he was braving the cold temperatures of lower Michigan, northern Indiana, and Chicago in an electric vehicle.

Blue 2024 Kia EV9 electric SUV driving on a road.
2024 Kia EV9 | Kia

Would the EV9 require recharging?

The distance from Detroit to the Chicago Auto Show is around 290 miles. This distance is at least ten more than the estimated maximum range of the Kia EV in normal temperatures. With the added challenge of near-freezing mercury readings, Joel might need to recharge the batteries multiple times during each leg of the trip.

The journey began with a hiccup

Like anyone else preparing for a road trip, Stocksdale ran a few errands in the Kia EV9 to grab a few last-minute items and ensure his dog was set up with his parents. With the battery at less than 50% charge, he headed to a bank of EV chargers to find that a Chevy Bolt EV owner didn’t understand their vehicle wouldn’t benefit from the 350-KW charging port. This means he was stuck using a slower 150-kW port before heading out for his trip.

Although the Kia electric SUV used the slower charger, it reached 80% while he was shopping and 90% after an additional 15 minutes. Using a 120-volt charger at home, Joel could leave the next morning with 100% battery charge in the EV9.

Would the EV9 reach the planned charging station?

Using the PlugShare app, Stocksdale planned to stop at a bank of EV chargers in Michigan City, IN, 230 miles from his starting point. This would mean arriving with less than 10% charge left in the batteries.

Limited available chargers, unreliable payment systems, or inoperable chargers were potential challenges awaiting the Kia EV9. Thankfully, none of these challenges occurred. With the EV9 plugged in and payment confirmed, Joel heard “charging started” from the front speakers. This time, using a 350-kW charger, the vehicle went from 10% to 80% in about thirty minutes. This was enough time for snacks and a restroom break.

What did this road trip teach us?

As long as adequate fast-charging locations are available, electric vehicles can recharge to 80% in the time it takes to stop, buy some snacks, and enjoy a restroom break. EVs are still new, and more chargers will make recharging easier. Charging times have dropped enough to be useful during most road trips.

Unfortunately for us, but fortunate for Joel Stocksdale, the temperatures during his trip from Detroit to Chicago were in the 40s and 50s. This means he didn’t face the challenges of driving an EV in freezing temps.