A Test Of Camper Mode In A Blizzard In One Of Denmark’s 200,000 EVs

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My wait for the 2023 numbers for auto sales in Denmark got interrupted by a blizzard so violent in my part of the country that I have personally never experienced anything like it. In a matter of a few hours, thousands of motorists got stranded on highways and motorways and some did not get going until 24 hours later. My wife and I settled for 15 hours.

Photo by Jesper Berggreen

Going home from work in the afternoon we were stranded in a small town just a handful of miles from home, and after getting stuck in the snow once, we decided it was too dangerous to keep going. It was like the blizzard was closing in from all sides, but we managed to find a gas station with a charger, and even though we were not acutely running out of power, it was very nice to be able to top up. We set the car in “Camper mode,” which we had never tried for real before (only used it once before at the drive-in movies), and it was a pleasant experience. External light is off and we could control internal light, temperature, infotainment, and locking manually. We had enough food and drink, so now there was time to find the EV sales numbers!

Photo by Jesper Berggreen

The association of Danish automobile importers had the numbers, and I was surprised to find that on the very last day of 2023 the total number of EVs on Danish roads reached 200,000! That’s quite a rapid jump from when the number reached 100,000 on October 12th 2022. That’s 7% of the total number of passenger cars in Denmark (with 54,000 of them split evenly between Tesla Model 3 and Y). On the sales side, the numbers get even crazier. Of the almost 173,000 cars sold in the country in 2023, almost 63,000 of them were battery-electric, and of them more than 22,000 were Teslas! Model Y alone is now the best selling car in Denmark, ever.

With the numbers noted, we filled up our battery to 90% and with no reason to panic, we tried to get some sleep, which is not easy in a car seat, but it could have been worse, like an intercontinental flight (a mattress in the back would have been nice). Apart from the violent wind outside, it was calm and warm inside the car. While trying to sleep, I pondered the fact that here we were in a modern EV with the comfort to keep us safe in a blizzard.

Photo by Jesper Berggreen

I remembered the record blizzards of my childhood in the 1970s when my parents were struggling through the snow in a Citröen 2CV with no heating or comfort of any kind, and obviously no means of communication. However, this particular model was an ace in the snow, light weight, narrow tires, and front-wheel drive. Only once did we give up, having only a few hundred meters of crawling through the dunes of snow to get home.

While dozing off, I thought about the thousands of people on the roads stuck in traffic this night, hoping the authorities would soon be able to get rid of stuck semi trucks blocking the roads. We heard that several military vehicles had given up already.

Photo by Jesper Berggreen

After periodically being able to sleep, 8 hours later, still dark, we saw a plow coming through and we decided to follow it. The last handful of miles to get home took 3 hours, because so many cars had to be pulled out of the snow on our route. Finally home, I shoveled snow for 2 hours to be able back up to our charger. Rear-wheel drive on all-season tires — well done Colin.

Photo by Jesper

Late that afternoon, we heard the last people stuck on the roads had been able to move themselves or had been rescued. Welcome to 2024! Probably a new year of EV records, and maybe weather records too…


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