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What would happen if caught in snow storm traffic jam?

What would happen if caught in snow storm traffic jam?

This morning the news showed folks caught in snow storm in mid-west. Dozens of cars were stuck on freeway for more than 4 hours.

So I wondered can a Model 3 sit idle and stay warm for 4 or more hours? Does anyone know how much energy gets used when sitting still with the heat on?

dsvick | 22 februar 2019

"So I wondered can a Model 3 sit idle and stay warm for 4 or more hours?"

That will depend on your initial SOC, what you have your climate control set at, and the outside temperature. I don't know the energy use of the cabin heaters but I do know the seat heaters are more efficient so, if there is any concern, your best bet would be to lower the cabin heat and use the seat heaters more.

dsvick | 22 februar 2019

With all that being said, assuming you don't have it cranked up to 80 in the cabin and it's not too cold outside you should be ok for a few hours easily, assuming an SOC of greater then 20 - 30% or so.

Bighorn | 22 februar 2019

Much better off than in an ICE unless you don’t have much charge to spare. Steady state heat is about 2 kW if it’s not frigid which usually is the case in a big storm.

hokiegir1 | 22 februar 2019

There were some threads in December with the people stuck in NJ/PA/NY storm. Ultimately, it would depend on your SOC when you start. The car can absolutely stay warm for 4 hours or even longer, but it's going to take some amount of range to do that. I don't have good estimates on that amount because GA hasn't really been cold enough for me to see usage at super cold temps. Preheating in the morning here (from mid-30's to low 40s outside, car set at 70) takes up to about 10-12 miles an hour (3-4%) at the highest I've seen.

mr.mark.tarver | 22 februar 2019

You should be fine. Although My experience in NYC is that you will loose 40-50% Efficiency in Cold Climates.
We did a 98 Mile each way trip to the mountains (Snow tubing with the kids) last weekend, It was cold and mostly uphill going there. The Tesla trip planner indicated that I would not have to charge, Glad I did not trust it, I planned a
Charge on the way back. Glad I did.There is now way I would have made it back. Stopped for some Italian food during the charge. I would not plan a 4 hour drive in cold weather without plotting Supercharging stations along the way.

Neomaxizoomdweebie | 22 februar 2019

Have blankets in the trunk! When the unexpected happens, bundle up with blankets and keep seat warmer on. Always keep your battery charged up (not 100% of course, but whatever your upper limit is.)

wiboater4 | 22 februar 2019

Surprised no one has any Stats on this . Someone must have tried it out by now. I'd rather be in an electric car in that situation than a gas powered car . Not having to worry about carbon monoxide and having the option of just using the seat heater.

jordanrichard | 22 februar 2019

wiboater4, the reason possibly why no one has stats is because every single scenario is different. It's like coming up with stats for insurance costs. It's pointless.

draymond | 22 februar 2019

I think you are better off stuck in traffic with a BEV vehicle compared to an ICE vehicle. The ICE will likely run out of gas before the BEV runs out of charge. Does anyone have the numbers to confirm or disprove this?

Bighorn | 22 februar 2019

@wiboater
I gave the stat. 2 kW. If you’ve got a spare 30 kWh, that’s 15 hours of heat. Car camping in the winter, which I routinely have done, is rather straightforward. 26 below is my record in West Yellowstone.

RedPillSucks | 22 februar 2019

As an FYI, this can be a concern in an ICE car as well, but no one seems to worry about that.
I've been in a NJ snowstorm in an ICE car where I ran out of gas and had to call AAA. It was so bad that the people at AAA said it was too snowy to send a truck out.

draymond | 22 februar 2019

I found an estimate that an idling gasoline engine uses 0.6 liters of fuel per hour per liter of engine size. An Audi A4 has a 2.0 liter engine and 58.0 liter gas tank. That means it can idle for 58.0 / (0.6 * 2.0) = 48 hours. According to BigHorn a Tesla Model 3 can heat the cabin with 2 kW. With a 75 kWh battery that equates to 37.5 hours. So an ICE may have a small advantage here. Of course it depends on a lot of variables...

joe.lynn.atp | 22 februar 2019

On the evening the Polar Vortex blew into Philadelphia back in January, I had my dog at a training class. She had to stay in the car when it wasn't her turn to work, so I left the heat on 65F the whole time. Outside temp was 8F with 30MPH wind gusts. I only lost 13 miles of range in 90 minutes.

swanson21 | 22 februar 2019

I was just charging at 48amps at a destination charger and was getting 44mph back but when I turned the heat on full blast it went to 24mph, so I'd guess you'd probably drain a Max of 20 mph with heat on full blast. Of course you wouldn't need full blast the whole time tho. Use seat heaters instead and always bring winter gear to wear inside while driving just in case.

If you're literally in a stand still with no heat on, maybe just 1 seat heater, then it'll drain as slowly as it normally would while stopped but still "on" which I would guess to be about 20-30 miles per day or 1-3mph or so depending on the level of seat heat.

Bighorn | 22 februar 2019

@swanson
Seat heaters draw about 50W. Max heat draws around 100 times that much. I've seen figures from 4.3 to 6 kW. The 20 MPH drain you saw would be ~5 kW. A day of seat heating should run about 5 miles total.

Mike UpNorth | 22 februar 2019

The traffic on this forum in the summer must come to a halt :)

bdc | 22 februar 2019

Some guy in Canada slept in his model 3 when it was -15C/1F and survived to put a video about it on YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7NRk-PtbexU

kevin_rf | 22 februar 2019

I'll have to keep that in mind the next time I end up in the couch...

kcheng | 22 februar 2019

Check out the video by TeslaBjorn when he slept in his Model S overnight in Norway, at below zero. He gives battery drain rates. The gist is, you're a lot better off in a Tesla than an ICE, if you're in bumper-to-bumper traffic and if you're caught in a snowstorm.

DanFoster1 | 25 februar 2019

Very recently, I was stuck in horrible traffic in the brutal cold for several hours. Shifting ice broke large boats off their moorings on the Hudson River—they ran aground against a busy bridge; the cops closed the bridge; then there was a multi-car pile-up on the other major road. Except for everyone being absolutely horrible human beings, the worst thing about being stuck in torture traffic is breathing everyone else’s fumes. Thousands of ICE cars idleing in close proximity is air pollution hell. My Tesla was never even close to running out of juice.

skygraff | 25 februar 2019

Handles dead stop traffic very well but cold had an interesting impact for me a while back (older firmware). Temperature was probably 50F waiting for construction traffic next to a small mountain lake in Olympic NP. After about 30 minutes, the car sounded a noisy alert and flashed red messages telling me the battery was too cold or something. A screen reboot didn’t stop the alerts but a second (maybe third?) attempt did. Haven’t experienced that since but I haven’t been stuck in traffic again either.

apodbdrs | 26 februar 2019

I would rather be stuck in a TESLA breathing clean air than in an ICE vehicle breathing in carbon monoxide. The heaters on a TELSA work just fine, just make sure there is plenty of charge, no different than gasoline on an ICE.

RedPillSucks | 26 februar 2019

@draymond Do those numbers account for the heater going at full blast and probably the headlights being on (draining the battery, so engine is also recharging battery) ?

Also, there's the assumption that you have a full tank at the start.
Having experienced running out of gas in a snow storm, it was an order of magnitude less that 48hrs, although I wasn't driving an Audi A4

draymond | 26 februar 2019

@RedPillSucks, Bighorn's estimate of 2000 W to run the heater seems accurate. No, that's not full blast the whole time but enough to keep the interior at 70 degrees. I couldn't find the numbers on the headlights but I doubt they draw more than 40 W combined which is negligible compared to the heater.

billlake2000 | 27 februar 2019

How much body heat do you lose by drinking a 6-pack while stuck in a traffic jam due to snow storm for 4 hours? But if you are singing, add back in a couple of degrees of warmth.

kevin_rf | 27 februar 2019

You could always turn to your passenger and ask them to get all the katsup packets and plastic utensils you have in the glove compartment and have a nice feast.... passengers roasting on an open fire.

jimglas | 28 februar 2019

well, you won't get CO poisoning. At leas not from your own car.

cmbenda | 29 marts 2019

It's an important consideration. What can we expect the number of miles per charge at 40 below zero, cabin temperature at 72, and an average speed of 5 mph? Simple math. Please calculate.

Again parameters:

Avg velocity 5 mph
outside temperature: 40 below zero F
Cabin temperature 72 F

Please calculate how many miles starting with a full charge.

Xerogas | 29 marts 2019

36.4 hours

coleAK | 29 marts 2019

I ran the heater for an hour once at ~0F this winter. Just to see how much the heater used. Got to work and parked then ran the heater set to 65F auto. It used 7% battery. So what that would be ~14 hours if the battery was 100% assuming liniar usage. And yes the heat draws a ton of power.

ADinM3 | 29 marts 2019

Approximately 117.5 miles (23.5 hr) if you assume the heater uses ~2kw/hr as was mentioned above and max battery is 74.5 kWh.

In real-world you will almost certainly get less.

ADinM3 | 29 marts 2019

Trick question, however, as as there are still assumptions still not specified.