News reports across the United States, like those from news outlets in the city of Pittsburg, have recently released severe thunderstorm and weather warnings for local residents. This brings up a question a lot of daily EV-drivers have: is it safe to operate and charge an electric car during an extreme weather warning?
The answer, ultimately, is yes. However, it's not a bad idea to take appropriate steps to protect yourself and your vehicle from any sort of short or long term damage that may occur during unpredictable events or climate changes.
The Myth: Electric Cars cannot be safely driven or charged during thunderstorms.
This is completely false. In fact, most electric cars are waterproof and resistant to electric shocks.
While there is a common misconception that electric cars and water don't mix, this simply isn't the case. The truth is, electric cars are just as safe as any standard gas-powered car to drive in the rain. The same goes for washing your electric vehicle in your driveway or at a public car wash.
With this, it is important to also note that you can absolutely charge your electric car in a thunderstorm and during rainy weather. Most EVs are even shock-resistant, so a little lightning is no match for their well-prepared designs.
Automakers have consistently debunked this idea that EVs may be unsafe in thunderstorms.
According to studies by automaker Hyundai, 1 in 5 drivers surveyed expressed that they felt unsafe driving or charging an EV outdoors during a thunderstorm. However, these concerns are often based on preconceived notions about electric-powered cars rather than the science behind them. In reality, EVs are carefully designed with user-safety and dependability in mind.
"An electric car is no bigger lightning magnet than a petrol or diesel one," says the Hyundai FAQ Safety section on their company website, "In all closed cars, a Faraday cage protects you from up to one million volts of lightning. Due to the closed construction of the cars, voltage is only generated on the surface, which is then evenly dissipated into the ground. However, a lightning strike can affect the on-board electronics of any car, electric or otherwise. But as you know the probability of being hit by lightning in a moving car is extremely low."
Taking smart and reasonable precautions is never a bad idea.
Here are some general safety tips when driving in the rain or poor weather conditions:
- Slow down, avoid speeding to ensure you don't lose control on the road
- Make sure your car headlights are on to help increase your visibility
- Watch for standing water to avoid hydroplaning and losing control
- Keep extra distance behind cars on the freeway or highway in case stopping quickly becomes more difficult in the weather conditions
Here are some general safety and weather preparedness tips when charging in the rain or extreme weather conditions:
- Watch for puddles when placing your charger on the ground, just to be extra safe with the chord
- If you live somewhere where it snows, make sure to brush it off your car to avoid it building up in excess
- If you are dealing with extreme heat, park your EV in the shade when possible to avoid your battery draining faster
However, as long as your car charger is advertised as weather-proof, you can charge with ease outdoors without worrying about it turning into a safety hazard.
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