E-cars have a much higher risk of losing their charge, getting stranded on German traffic jam-plagued autobahns.
So far the only solution is the (internal combustion engine) tow truck
The online Karlsruher Insider here reports on another woe e-car driving Germans are experiencing, especially on the highways: dead batteries.
Germany’s highways, known as autobahns, are notorious for their heavy traffic loads and kilometers-long traffic jams known as staus. Motorists driving on them must always reckon with at least one stau along the way. A stau results in a slow, stop-and-go movement, which can extend a trip by hours. That’s why German drivers usually make sure the gas tank is close to full before starting on a longer trip, knowing that running out of gas before reaching the next rest stop is a real risk under stau conditions – especially if you foolishly start with a tank that’s less than a quarter full.
With a full tank of fossil fuel, drivers can rest assured they can reach the next exit or rest area to refill, and won’t have to deal with the aggravation of running empty in the middle of nowhere on the autobahn.
E-cars get stranded on autobahns
Electric cars, however, not surprisingly, don’t cope well with autobahn stau conditions.
“More and more so-called electric cars are driving on German roads. But as the number of these vehicles increases, more and more e-cars end up on the hard shoulder of the motorway with an empty battery,” reports the German online Karlsruhe Insider. Under slow moving, stop-and-go conditions, an electric battery charge dwindles rapidly and the e-car ends up getting stranded more often than ever.
Conventional cars do well
Combustion engine cars that do run out of fuel on an autobahn are at least easy enough to manage. Germany’s ADAC automobile club can simply be called up to deliver fuel directly to the empty car.
“On the other hand, there is a different procedure for e-cars with an empty battery that have broken down on motorways, reports the Karlsruhe Insider. The ADAC “is currently testing mobile chargers for e-cars in its breakdown service. These are called e-boosters and are to be tested in a pilot project. The device could be used to charge broken-down electric vehicles to such an extent that they could make it to the next charging station without a tow truck, they say.”
The Karlsruhe Insider however summarizes: “If the e-cars still break down on the motorways with an empty battery, roadside assistance can provide relief. At present, however, this only works by towing the vehicle.”
It’s another reason motorists are shunning electric vehicles. Longer trips require meticulous planning, lots of charging time and nerves. Indeed the electric car, with its high cost and inconvenience, could turn out to be an effective way to herd people back into trains and public transit.