Here in the Northeast, we really do have four seasons (as opposed to say, California's perpetual summer). One of those seasons is winter, and New England winters can be mild or brutal, depending on the year. That cold weather has a detrimental effect on cars, from salt on roads rusting out frames to accidents and icy roads making travel difficult.
Electric cars face additional problems from the cold. For instance, the range can shorten dramatically depending on battery temperature management, as the cold affects the chemistry of the electric car's battery. Yet Nissan LEAF fans have found a mysterious, unexplained cold weather package for the LEAF. What gives?
The cold weather package, which has never been explained yet is available for viewing on the Nissan LEAF's Features and Specs website. There is no price, though the cold weather package includes temperature management, heated seats, heated steering wheel, heated mirrors, and a HVAC duct to the rear. The most interesting tidbit to me is the temperature management system. Is it for the battery, or the passengers? Also, for a car that has to conserve its electricity for driving, heating the seats, steering wheels, and mirrors seems like something of a waste of energy.
In talking to Nissan, Nissan-Leaf.net learned that there is indeed a cold weather package, but that it won't be available on the initial batch of LEAFs. Nissan also claims that it found it more efficient to heat the seats, steering wheel, and mirrors separately than it was to simply blast the heater. Sounds reasonable enough, but will it be enough for those of us living in cold climates?