Model S

Batteries in cold weather

edited November -1 in Model S
I withdrew from ordering myself Tesla S model just because of poor batteries behavior in cold weather.
Is it true that productivity of Tesla car batteries could go down about 30% in winter time when temperature goes below -20*C? We have long and cold winters out here. And this question was bowering me for almost a two years now :)
I would be happy if you shear some information about your Tesla roadster behavior in cold weather conditions.
Thank You :)


  • edited November -1
    I didn't notice any impact on Roadster range after several days at -6*C
  • ggrggr
    edited November -1
    The roadster uses battery power to keep the battery itself warm. So it uses up slightly more power but still has full capacity, if you know what I mean. However, it will use this power continuously, even when just sitting there, so in really cold climates it is important to keep it plugged in in "storage mode" if you're away for even a few days (at least that's what they suggest).

  • edited November -1
    The Roadster does not heat the battery when switched off and unplugged. If the battery is below freezing when you first start driving, regenerative braking will be disabled and the battery will be a bit less efficient. But it will warm up in 10-15 minutes of driving. I don't know if they actively heat the battery when the car is running, but it is probably not necessary. Simply drawing power from the battery will cause it to self-heat.

    If you leave the car plugged in (but not in storage mode) it will heat the battery to keep it above freezing. This allows you to use regen as soon as you drive the car.
  • edited November -1
    -6C isn't cold, that's spring or fall weather. I'm not super concerned about short-term cold weather performance -- what about long term performance sitting unplugged at work every day for 8 hours in -35C weather? Before I buy a Tesla I'll be looking very closely at the battery warranty: I'd love to see them match the GM/Nissan 8 year/100,000 mile warranty.
  • edited November -1
    Nissan does not cover much of anything. Read the details of the warrenty coverage!
  • edited November -1
    From what I've read, Tesla guarantees down to -20C. Below that, to paraphrase from a recent Lexus commercial, you don't need an EV - you need a new place to live. :)
  • edited November -1
    That's a bit insulting to someone that lives in places where temperatures go below -20C.
  • edited November -1
    Despite the -20C thing, I've driven my Roadster at -26C. Worked just fine.
  • edited November -1
    Sorry, Timo, was meant in jest only.
  • edited November -1
    I decided to install a regular 110 outlet at my office so that I won't need to worry about a few days of -30C weather every year. I hope that this is not actually needed. I hope I just need to deal with slow acceleration etc. when very cold. The batteries start out solid after all and are in antifreeze.

    Anyone besides Doulas 3 with a roadster sitting at work in very cold weather?
  • edited November -1
    Maybe this guy:

    2 Roadsters above the Artic circle
  • edited November -1
    That's "Arctic"... and he got another one for his daughter at university in Denmark! Probably the 1st 3-Tesla family anywhere?
  • edited November -1
    What about batteries in hot temperatures. I know it has a temperature control system, how does it keep it at optimal temperature when it is around 100'F?
  • edited November -1
    It's cools the batteries when they are too hot and heats the batteries when they are too cold.... I'm guessing since I don't have the schematics in front of me :-)
  • edited November -1
    msiano17, nobody knows exactly, because "battery pampering" is Tesla's secret sauce. It's Tesla's key to deliver EV's with unmatched range at an unmatched price.

    What we know, though, is that battery temperature control is fluid based. So some heat-conducting fluid is cooled or heated as required (probably sharing some of the car's HVAC components that also serve to keep the cabin at comfortable temperatures) and then circulated between the battery cells. Obviously, this process requires some energy, but it pays off many times because at sub-optimal conditions the capacity and life span of those batteries suffer significantly. Compared to the energy required to propel the car, the amount of energy required to heating or cooling is practically negligible.

    Actually, batteries need cooling rather than heating most of the time because they get warm by themselves when current is drawn. Here is another advantage of placing the batteries in the bottom of the car, besides low center of gravity/handling and accessibility: The bottom of the car is a fairly large surface exposed to air flow while driving, so quite a bit of excessive warmth from the batteries can be disposed that way.
  • edited November -1
    And your feet don't get cold. :-P
  • edited November -1
    Fringe benefit :p
  • edited November -1
    Do you all figure it may have a set up like an engine cooling system just a bit more high tech and monitored?
  • edited November -1
    msiano17, sure it must be at least remotely similar to an engine cooling system. What's your point? Sounds to me like you are worried about some specific detail, but from your very general way of asking the question it is very hard to tell, which is it?
  • edited November -1
    Actually to be honest I am just ignorant on the topic. I was chatting with some friends about the car and battery system, and they were asking about how it gets cooled. So just plugging the forums on the topic to see what you all know.

    I feel very confident in Tesla's ability so not too worried, but it is nice to know answers to questions others ask me.
  • edited November -1
    Thinking about it, I would not be comfortable leaving a Tesla unplugged for 8 hours at -35C, although it would most likely be just fine. But if it's at work, surely there's some way to arrange for an outdoor power socket to plug into? An ordinary low-amperage 110V socket would be fine for keeping the battery heater running, and then you'd have no problems.
  • edited November -1
    Neroden, this is exactly what I have done...standard charge at night to (usually) 302 kms...drop my daughter off at school & park at work (about 3 kms).

    I installed a 110 plug at work (not to recoup range) just to keep the pack warm and not lose the regen.

    Driving without regen is simply just not as much fun imo.

    @ Evaldas...there are lots of Roadsters in Canada, Norway, Germany...I've not read of anyone having a battery problem due to cold weather or experiencing anywhere near the 30% loss you use in your example...
  • edited November -1
    Evaldas, it's the same battery cell, but you cannot compare the Tesla battery pack with that of electronic gadgets. Tesla's "magic sauce" is in the way they treat their batteries. The battery pack is liquid cooled (or heated, if need be), charging rate as well as charging level are meticulously monitored and adjusted to make the battery feel good.

    It seems to work: One of the largest Roadster populations outside the US is in Norway, which should be approximately in line with Lithuania temperature-wise. Experience from the recent winters did not show significant degradation of the battery in practical use, according to some blog posts and reviews that can be found in the web.
  • edited November -1
    I live in Vilnius, capital of Lithuania. Over here we have public transport running on electricity since '70s and a very cold winters every second year or so. From my life experience, I could tell that car battery, as any other battery, is very sensitive to cold temperatures. Performance of battery reduces drastically if operated under -20C and especially if process of operation is started in cold environment and without preheating.
    If Tesla Motors is building model S battery similar to the ones we have in "laptops", then bigger part of the world would be left uncovered bye their insurance.

    @Tom A - there must be a reason why Tesla Motors wouldn't agree to guarantee on battery performance if temperature drops below -20C. I would expect performance of battery life time to be reduced by one third.

    @Jaffray - near the 30% loss is a minimum you would expect living in the countries with cold winters. Germany is below us and they don't have such a harsh winters, but Scandinavia, Russia or Canada are way too great markets to be ignored, so my question is oriented to Tesla car owners who live in these countries.

    @Ad van der Meer - I'd love to have his opinion after another year or so.

    I could be a happy Tesla S owner, but I want to know, as I don't want to be disappointed.
    Nokia, Apple and mostly all other electronic suppliers don't recommend to use their gadgets outside in winter time, as they don't cover insurance due to faults that could happen from drastic temperature changes as one is entering in or out of heated facilities. Everyone is used to change their phone here every second year not because of new models on the market, but because of their performance reduces dramatically.
    Now who would like to find out that his car is no good anymore due to the cold weather conditions of this one season, and insurance is not covering his loses?
    I am very enthusiastic if we talk about renewable energy and I wan't to take a part in reducing humanities influence on global warming or exploitation of pressures of our earth - this is the reason I like Tesla Motors and their idea of efficiency.
    There's so many more questions that originate from that point but they need to be asked and answered.
  • edited November -1
    Norway is colder. And there are mountains.
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