I-95 Ice Storm Overnight Traffic Jam – Imagine you were Stuck in an EV

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Guest essay by Eric Worrall

h/t gringojay – An ice storm and accident stranded drivers in freezing conditions on the Virginia I-95 overnight on Monday. My question – what would have happened if they were all driving electric vehicles?

27-hour commute: Virginia officials pelted with questions after hundreds of drivers were stuck on I-95 overnight

Ryan W. MillerDoyle Rice USA TODAY

The winter storm blanketed several states in the mid-Atlantic and South on Monday, closing schools and causing power outages.

In Virginia, drivers were stranded in a 50-mile stretch of Interstate 95 near Fredericksburg overnight. Five deaths across three states were caused by the weather.

Ice and snow stranded hundreds of drivers on Interstate 95 in Virginia into Tuesday after a winter storm pounded several Eastern states and dumped more than a foot of snow in some places.

The storm brought havoc to roadways, left more than 300,000 without power in Virginia and Maryland and caused at least five deaths across three states.

No injuries or fatalities from the storm or the traffic backup were reported in Virginia.

Problems began Monday morning when a truck jackknifed on Interstate 95, the main north-south highway along the East Coast, triggering a swift chain reaction as other vehicles lost control, state police said.

On a roughly 50-mile stretch of I-95 near Fredericksburg, drivers were stuck in their cars overnight while ice blanketed the freeway. The Virginia Department of Transportation tweeted Tuesday that the stretch of the interstate remained closed.

Josh Lederman, a reporter with NBC News, tweeted that he was stuck in his car overnight and many motorists turned off their cars to conserve gas.

“People (myself included) are taking exercise breaks outside their cars, walking their dogs on the interstate. I’ve been putting snow in his bowl and letting it melt into water,” he tweeted, detailing the ordeal.

Sen. Kaine finally arrived in Washington Tuesday afternoon, some 27 hours after his journey began.

Read more: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2022/01/04/winter-storm-power-outages-interstate-95-virginia/9087146002/

Drivers survived the Monday traffic jam by periodically running their engines to stay warm. When the traffic finally started moving again, most vehicles had enough gasoline to finish their journeys.

President Biden is pushing everyone to switch to electric vehicles, as part of his Net Zero plan. But EV batteries suffer severe performance drops in freezing conditions, and are more likely than gasoline engines to fail completely in severe conditions. Even if the EV batteries don’t freeze, an EV battery contains nowhere near as much energy as a tank of gas, so the safety margin is a lot thinner, for people stranded in severe weather who are using the stored energy of their vehicle to stay warm.

In my opinion, if everyone stuck on the I-95 had been driving an EV, the I-95 ice storm traffic jam could have become a mass casualty event.

via Watts Up With That?

January 5, 2022