Ask the Mechanic

Cold-Blooded Truck

(Getty Images; Photo Illustration by Barry Falkner)

READER: My electric truck did not work so well in the extremely cold weather this winter. What can I do to help maintain the range the truck had last summer?

STEVE: Your electric truck will probably never have the range it had during the warmer months. Anything electrical depends on the flow of electrons, and when the temperature drops below 20 degrees F they are just like us; they don't move as fast as they do during warm weather.

The electron is a very, very small negative electrical charge, a billionth of a billionth of the radius of a meter. We all know that an atom is small, but it's 100 million times larger than an electron that is part of the atom.

The two things you can do to help your range is try to keep the truck's inside temperature as low as possible, because the heater consumes voltage from the same batteries that drive your truck. You must remember that the gas engine supplies the heat for the inside of your truck. Also, allow time for your truck's interior to warm up before you unplug the charger and start your trip. This will allow you to leave with a higher charge in the batteries.


-- Email Steve Thompson at, and be sure to include your contact information and phone number.


Past Issues