battery warming up

battery warming up

My wife was driving today after my ms was sitting all day in 40 degree weather and a message popped up saying battery warming up will run on lower power has anyone had this happen to them.

dramingly | 12. November 2013

Happens to everybody in cold weather. It seems that the only way to warm the battery is to drive.

Sudre_ | 12. November 2013

Quite often now that it is getting cold. The best way to eliminate it is to preheat the car with the app by turning on the heater before you leave. I haven't really noticed much of a performance change but the regen is considerably reduced.

greatkillssply | 12. November 2013

Thanks a lot guys a feel a little better now, my wife was freaking out but what woman doesn't

dramingly | 12. November 2013

You'd better hope she isn't secretly lurking on this site. I don't think warming the cabin heats the battery much.

greatkillssply | 12. November 2013

does that mean I have to listen to her all winter

mrrjm | 12. November 2013

So I called Tesla twice in the past 2 days about this very concern. I'm in the Chicago area and it just got cold. The only way to heat the battery is to us the app to warm the car up. It seems like the strategy is to heat the cabin first then the battery. Yesterday when I left work after a 20 minute warm up I could only get about 25KW of regen. That was with the charging set at 20amps. Tonight a little colder I bumped it up to 40amps and after about 20mins the regen was up to 30kw. After about 20 mins of driving the orange dashed lines disappeared. Tomorrow I'm going to set the charger to max 80amps and let it warm up for 30mins. 30mins is the max time it will run until turned on again. I'll report with results.

My suggestion is if you are connected to a charger use the app and turn the car on 30mins before you go. If you are at work and don't have a charger I hear most employers will consider installing an EV charging station or at least a NEMA 50 outlet. I installed one for me and one for one of my guys who drives a volt. Offer to share the costs of the install and the answer will probably be yes.

Captain_Zap | 12. November 2013

I'm confused. You said "I could only get about 25kW of regen."

That makes sense, when the battery is cold it won't accept as much of a charge as a self-protection measure.

But, then you said, "That was with the charging set at 20amps."

Regen has nothing to do with charging settings. The charging settings are for when you are plugged in.

Yes, completion of charging right before departure will warm your battery so that it can accept regen. Are you trying to strategize the end of your charging time to match your departure time so that you have a warm battery? You might program the car to start charging later. Do you travel so far every day that you need the regen working all the time?

dtesla | 13. November 2013

Just so people know, when it got really cold (that is really cold for Northern VA) regen can be 0 Kw. This is my only major complaint about MS is that it drives differently in cold weather... you will need to use your breaks to stop the car. As the batteries warm up the car's regen will increase until it reaches full regen.

dramingly | 13. November 2013

dtesla: I agree that it's strange to have to change your driving habits depending on the weather. I wonder why the regeneration mechanism can't still work and then just dump the energy as heat instead of putting it into the battery.

Theresa | 13. November 2013

@dramingly, Really? You drive the same no matter whether it is raining, snowing, windy, flooding, etc?

dramingly | 13. November 2013

just being difficult? I obviously mean that you can't depend on the regenerative braking to slow you down as much as when the battery is cold as after it warms up, so you have to drive differently.

David Trushin | 13. November 2013

Wait a second. In my ICE, i turn it on and wait about 5 minutes, while the engine burns up gas on fast idle, freezing my butt off waiting until the engine gets hot enought to heat the cabin. Then i start driving and use 10% more gas because of the cold weather. How is that different? (I used present tense, but I really meant past tense)

docdac | 13. November 2013

I haven't gotten into a cold car since the Tesla iPhone app came out last winter. How great is that?

redacted | 13. November 2013

I don't get why people don't understand @dtesla. (1) MS encourages single-foot driving. (2) cold weather with 0 regen means single-foot driving doesn't work. (3) this constitutes a fundamental difference in driving habits.

It would be cool if the regen could be used to power the battery heaters as needed. 60KW would produce a nice glow in short order :)

doccha | 13. November 2013

i also noticed driving in the snow yesterday (i live in nw indiana), that the regen feature caused the car to slip whenever i took my foot off the pedal (ABS would turn on)... after some research it was recommended to turn of the regen feature with slippery conditions.

hillcountryfun | 13. November 2013


I agree, that would be a great enhancement, if the regen still worked at full capacity even when the battery is too cold to accept the kinetic energy. And use THAT energy to heat either the battery or the passenger compartment.

Great idea but may not be doable with a software upgrade...

Theresa | 13. November 2013

@doccha, I have experienced that with both the S and the Roadster. But I find that leaving the regen on is still preferable as the rear wheels slowing the car are still more controllable than using the brakes which can cause the front wheels to lose their traction too. If the car is breaking loose with just regen it is telling you the conditions are of the type that you should probably be driving slower.

Captain_Zap | 13. November 2013


When driving on snow or ice I switch regen to low.
That helps traction a great deal because you do not have to use the brakes nearly as often and the low regen will slow you down gently. I especially like the performance while slowing for corners or easing down hills. It is far superior to the ICE I drove when you couple the regen with the excellent weight distribution and traction control.

The reduced regen due to cold is only temporary while the car warms up.

Brian H | 13. November 2013

And you don't have to take your foot "off the pedal" to get regen. Partial lifting gives partial regen. Learnable.

rchiang | 13. November 2013

Just happen to me today when I was picking up my car. The service people left my car all day outside in 30's weather. The car was acting funny but later one as it got warmer it went back to normal. They key thing is to drive until it warms it up.

mrrjm | 13. November 2013

Today I warmed the car up for an hour. 2 cycles with the phone app while plugged in at 80 amps. Only 30kw of regen available. And it was only 35 degrees outside. I have the charge level set at about 70%. So the way I see it there is no way to warm the battery up completely. This is very disappointing since I didn't have this problem with my 2013 Volt. I thought the Tesla battery was the most advanced battery pack?

The way I see it when it's 0 or -0 there probably won't be any regen available. So this means my 22 mile drive home I'll have to use the brakes. Can't Tesla upgrade the app and add a battery warming feature? BTW I love my P85+ and wouldn't trade it for anything. The heater rocks unlike the Volt. And so far in the cold weather it is more efficient then the Volt. This is amazing considering the size of the the car.

eddiemoy | 13. November 2013

been getting this every day for the last week... also getting the low tire pressure warning for a few minutes as well.

i also find it weird that while warming the cabin and plugged in, it doesnt warm the battery...

Captain_Zap | 13. November 2013


You may need to add air to your tires for winter. Last winter cars left the factory with warm California air and it wasn't adequate for our purposes farther north.


Last winter we did have times where there was zero regen. That is when you learn how much you appreciated it for deceleration. The app is more for heating the cabin than the battery. One way to try to get your battery up to temperature faster is to time charging so that it stops right before you leave. Sometimes, for long winter trips we'll charge normally at night and bump up the charging to add a few more miles before we get ready to go. But, if you were to do a Maximum Range charge you would be regen limited anyway.

Theresa | 13. November 2013

@mrrjm, wouldn't warming the battery take power from the battery and negative the gain from regen? Or were you thinking about prewarming while plugged in?

Robert22 | 13. November 2013

When plugged in, battery warming uses shore power now if I understand correctly i.e. electricity from the wall is used instead of draining the pack to heat. This also allows fir comfortable nights spent in a warm car, music playing, seat reclined, when the electricity goes out and your electrically-heated condo turns into an icebox.

Anyone have this experience in the past two week? It's a cold morning, coffee hasn't kicked in yet and you start your commute. You come around the corner and see traffic at a dead stop. You lift your foot off the go pedal
expecting the regen and instead it feels like you just fired a solid rocket booster. Whoa Nelly! Now you're wide awake, standing on the brake, and hoping you don't wind up in the back seat of that stopped car that's getting bigger fast. Note to Self: Turn off regen periodically to get familiar with conventional stopping distances again.

Cindy I II III | 14. November 2013


"my wife was freaking out but what woman doesn't" - not appreciated. And I'm not even your wife.

Panoz | 14. November 2013

Now, Cindy123...I'm sure many women say things like that (and worse!) about men all the time...

CarlE_P439 | 14. November 2013

Warming up the car with climate control will not have much impact on the battery (if the car is plugged in) since a few software updates ago the car was improved in that now it will draw energy from your power source (outlet) and NOT the batteries to heat the car.

ramrod | 14. November 2013

Maybe a future improvement should be to draw energy from the power source (outlet) and NOT the batteries to heat the batteries. I assumed the battery heater was on when I plugged in, but with the experience of our first cold front coming through Chicago, this is apparently not the case.

Sudre_ | 14. November 2013

I've never had a problem when the battery was cold and almost running into someone because of reduced regen. It is clearly marked on the speedo. You can not miss the fact that regent is reduced but it can still be a little surprising the first time.

While it is NOT concerning that you have to use brakes instead of regen, I will agree that it would be nice to have a timer and app to warm the battery from shore power or battery power. Choices are a good thing.

I have a 15 mile round trip work commute. I would like to be able to set the car so my driving experience is the same all the time, even if that means loosing twice the range for battery warming while she sits in the parking lot. It would be fantastic to tell the car I leave at 3pm and have it automatically warm things up by that time. That means the car would adjust the start time based on warming time and outside/battery temps.

NKYTA | 14. November 2013

@Sudre_, you must get in early - I'd love to leave at 3pm.

Captain_Zap | 14. November 2013


Did you make the jump from 4.5 to 5.6? Are you noticing reduced regen only when there is a dotted yellow line or are you noticing reduced regen all the time? I've been wondering if the reduction in deceleration at stops is associated with the new creep update.

crazybrit | 14. November 2013

I live in Minnesota. The temp is usually in the single digits or the teens for a high. If the regen doesn't work at 40F, I figure it will not work all winter long for me. I take delivery of my vehicle tomorrow. Can anyone from my neck of the woods comment on their experiences last winter?

Brian H | 14. November 2013

It doesn't work INITIALLY at 40°F, but after 5 minutes driving, or less, it will.

MNGreene | 14. November 2013

@crazy I was not an owner last winter, but was during this last cold spell. If you can charge the last hour or so before driving, like others have said, I think you'll find good regeneration. I have done this in the morning the last week and have either not been limited on regen or limited minimally.

If you are in the Cities, check out the monthly Telsa meet-up group (there is a Facebook group page and some info on TMC site, I believe).

Have fun with your new car!

Mathew98 | 15. November 2013

Let's recap. Regen does work in cooler weather. It is just limited initially if the car is not charging and it is cold outside.

For instance, I see the dotted yellow line limiting my regen to 40wh instead of the normal 60wh limit when I start the car from work in the evening.

I believe the only time regen work engage is when the MS completes a max charge and it is driven immediately. There would be no capacity to storage the regen electricity for the first few miles in this case.

Schedule charging to complete before each morning trip will keep the battery warm and regen capability to full.

crazybrit | 17. November 2013

@MNGreene. Thanks for the info. Just sent a request to join the FB Group

Iowa92x | 17. November 2013

Do we know for sure there is a heater built into the battery? Driving the car and charging generates heat in the battery, but are we correct in assuming there is a heater? If yes, Tesla should be able to heat battery from the wall in cold temps with a software fixpack.

Car t man | 18. November 2013

Forcing meaningful current into a cold lithium battery will degrade it quickly. The solution is better battery preheating. And even heating
from battery itself is a sound solution as a user option.

docdac | 18. November 2013

I had my MS in SE MN since December, and recent software changes make the situation a little different now compared to last year. I think battery warming and the associated decrease 'mileage' occurred last winter, probably the same as it does now. But, the reduced regeneration (dashed yellow line on regen side of speedometer) comes on much sooner (at higher temperatures) now than did last year.
By comparison, last year the first limiter to come on was the power output limiter, usually at temps below 32 deg F. At colder temps, the regeneration limiter would also come on.
However, after driving for 5-10 minutes (longer at v. low temps) the regen limiter would go away, and then the power output limiter would go away in another 5 min or so. By then, the battery is at standard operating temperature.
I think biggest change now is that regen limiter is applied more liberally now , but otherwise it likely will not be different this winter.
Note: when I got down to about 35 rated miles remaining on cold days, the power output limiter would come on again, even though the battery is at normal operating temperature.

riceuguy | 24. Dezember 2013

Check out around the 1 minute mark in this video ( where the Tesla VP of Engineering explains that using the climate portion of the app to preheat the cabin also warms the battery to improve range. He even demonstrates what to do and how it works. I think we can lay to rest the debate about whether heating the cabin heats the battery or not.

larryh | 24. Dezember 2013

For some reason, youtube videos are not working for me right now.

But a few weeks ago I did a little experiment where I attempted to measure the battery temp by aiming an IR thermometer at the bottom middle of the underside of the car. (Don't know if the underside is shiny or not but I suspect there was enough road grime to ensure a valid measurement (IR won't work on a shiny metal surface.))

I kept the climate on for an hour (restarting as needed). The temp started at 42.5F and was 48F at the end. Internal temp when from 44F to 80F.

I think there still was a regen limit.

Brian H | 24. Dezember 2013

Notice the handles breaking ice coating at the end. Some have achieved coatings the handles couldn't break. This winter will continue to demonstrate problems with NNIC design. ;P