Model 3

Talk me into my dream car.

I live in Minot, North Dakota, and my dream car is a Tesla of really any kind. The Model 3 is in my price range for a new vehicle. I do have some questions.

We don't have any Tesla branded super chargers, but we do have charge points around town for electric vehicles. I believe I can use those (I will have to given I live in an apartment).

My BIGGEST worry is cold weather. You hear the almost cliche complaint about losing 40% of battery power out of the gate in cold weather. My question is, does this hold water? I know Tesla is widely growing in Canada, so if anyone from a cold winter climate can chime in, I'd really appreciate your insight.

Jim
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Comments

  • So, Charge Points will get you somewhere, I guess. There's J1772's south of town near the Walmart at a Nissan dealer and the dealer next door. That'll be 30A, typical, at 240 VAC, or 7.2 kW. That'll give you a charge rate of 30 Miles of Charge per Hour. By comparison, the Tesla Wall Connector in my garage does 48A at 240 VAC and gives 45 MoCpH.
    Then, there's the cost. In NJ, we pay around 11 cents per kW-hr; so 7.2 kW for an hour would be around 77 cents. But this is Chargepoint. How much they charge per kW-hr can be more.. sometimes a _lot_ more. And sometimes for free, it depends upon the owner. Further, it's not like there's banks of the things, and sometimes one can break. If I were you, I'd check them out carefully.
    You live in an apartment; I get that. And sometimes apartment complexes do things. If they can install a NEMA14-50 plug or a TWC or two on a post somewhere, it would be good karma and maybe attract more tenants. So, talk to your landlord.
    As far as cold weather goes; there may, or may not, be issues by the time you get your car. Right now, the M3 2019 that the SO and I drive around gets around 240 W-hr per mile (or less!) during the sprint/summer/fall. In the dead of a NJ winter with temps below freezing, that rises to 350 W-hr per mile. So, summer time, we get around 312 miles of range with the LR's 75 kW-hr battery. Winter time, that drops to 214 miles.
    However: Most of that drop isn't the car being cold, it's keeping the cabin warm. Which, right now, is done with straight resistive heat. The car comes with heated seats that keep one's backside warm and the manual suggests mainly using those during cold weather with minimal air conditioning.
    However, turns out that the Model Y uses a heat pump to warm the cabin which is reputed to give a longer range for the car as a result. Further, as we speak, there are sightings of what appears to be a refreshed model 3 out there that also has a heat pump for the new model refresh.
    Finally: It is possible to charge a M3 with the mobile connector hooked into a NEMA5-15 (i.e., standard 120 VAC socket with 15A service). I've done it; it works, but one gets 4-4.5 MoCpH. Except in the winter; in the winter, the batteries have to be warmed up to charge and, if the car is battling -20F temps, there may not be much power left over from heating the battery to actually charging it.
    I'd strongly suggest figuring out a charging situation before getting the car. Especially if the apartment complex is willing to put in a 240 socket for you.
  • Yes, there is truth in range loss due to cold. It's not all that bad, the overall efficiency of the car across the seasons is great. Non-Tesla charge points are fine to charge the car, but the simplicity of using a Tesla charger is something else.

    Do you have a charging location at work? Charing at an employment location might work out if you're going to work regularly. If not, I'd wait until you have ready access to charging in your apartment complex, or a supercharger somewhere nearby would be fine too. Not having work/home charging, not having a supercharger nearby, and having to deal with cold is a bit much.
  • There is likely some affect temperature plays on energy capacity, but the primary factor at play is cabin heat. With a combustion engine, heat is free; it’s there whether you want it or not. This isn’t the case in any significant amount with a battery powered vehicle. Thus, range loss can be mitigated by pre-heating while plugged in, and by dressing for the occasion.

    Full disclosure: where I live, 40 degrees F is cold. That being said, when it’s cold out, I tend to want a coat outside. Wearing one while driving means I’ll be wearing one when I get out. Maybe it’s because I’m a Scrooge, or because I’ve been trained to become comfortable being uncomfortable, but I don’t experience a significant loss of range.
  • @MrSpaceTeacher,
    I'm a big Tesla fan and owner for almost 12 years now. While I would do anything to help suggest ways for someone to go electric, I'm going to be honest: While you'd love a Tesla, Minot without home charging is one of the few places in the USA that could be challenging in the winter. I wouldn't worry about the range loss since the Model 3 has good range anyway but you're going to want to keep it plugged in most of the time on those cold sub-zero nights.
    However, do you have an engine block heater plug at your apartment? As you know ICE don't even work well up there in winter either. A 120v outlet would probably be sufficient to keep your battery warm enough, just as it does the oil in an ICE.
    Looking at plugshare.com, however, it seems that there are only 3 public Level 2 chargers in town and 2 are at ICE dealerships and one at a hotel. These folks might not be too happy about your planning to do all of your charging at there places. There's a CHAdeMO fast charger up north of town but I don't know if it would be wise to count on it for all of your charging -- it may be inoperative.
    I'd recommend you push for (or maybe pay for) your workplace (school?) or you apartment complex to put in a 240 volt charger. You might check with Verendrye Electric Cooperative, sponsors of the CHAdeMO in town and see if they would help put in maybe 2 to 4 chargers at the school of which you could use one. Maybe it would be a good project for Electrical Wiring students at Northwest ND Career & Technical Center who will be needing to learn to work with electricity more as we move from fossil fuel to electricity usage?
    It may be possible to upgrade a 120v engine block heater circuit at your apartment to 240v, 20a by simply replacing the breaker if the service panel has capacity.
    Be creative but I'm quite sure you're going to want to have at least a 240v, 16 amp connection in Minot.
    Good Luck!
  • If you don't have a long daily commute M3 Long Range AWD is great in ice and snow (recommend Nokian studless tires) and roughly 200 miles range in winter and 300 miles in summer.

    I have driven to Grand Forks ND which will be getting a Supercharger at Target in the future but right now has a free Sun Country public charger which puts out about 10 kW (200 V x 48 amps) and nearest Supercharger is Fargo

    PlugShare for Minot shows a 50 kW Chademo at Enerbase travel center (need $450 Chademo adapter) and a J1772 at Minot Automotive Center. For road trips your nearest Supercharger is Bismarck.

    I would say it's doable if your weekly commute is less than 200 miles but a 120v power socket at your apartment or any kind of charger at work would really help.
  • I would go check out the Enerbase Chademo charger, make sure it's functional ...
  • Thank you all for the insight!

    The charger at Enerbase is completely functional. I technically live in a house that is separated into apartments. I am going to ask my landlord if he doesn't mind if I put an adapter on an outlet at the garage.

    A Tesla salesman told me yesterday that the Model 3 they'd send me has the new heat pump installed, so that's a pretty big deal to me.
  • @MrSpaceTeacher,
    Sounds like a good plan to pursue.
    Remember that when it is -20F outside, 120v, 8-12a is barely enough to keep the battery warm enough to do no harm. You'll hardly be charging the car, if at all. During those cold snaps, you can probably expect to need to use the Enerbase CHAdeMO or one of the other public chargers periodically or before any out of town trips.
    8 to 12 amps is about all you can draw from a shared 120v circuit without blowing breakers. If you can get a dedicated circuit, you can draw as much as 16 amps. It would be much better if you can put in a dedicated 240v breaker that can supply 16 amps at 240v in which case, you would be home free. Remember that the same wiring that can handle 120v at 16 amps can also handle 120v at 16 amps.
  • You will lose alot of efficiency during cold weather. Biggest advice i can provide is do NOT rely on a 120V regular house outlet for your charging. If temps get too cold you will actually not charge because the car is using more power than its getting from the wall.
  • Right. My thought process is that I simply want to keep the battery warm at 120v. That takes only the effort of me plugging it in. I'm going to more than likely have to use the Enerbase charger for long chargers. Fortunately, I don't travel much, mainly I commute to and from work. As far as trips, there are chargers of some sort in every major city around Minot, including a super charger south of me in Bismarck.

    This would be a lot easier if we had a super charger here. oof.
  • If you have the ability to install a 240V outlet, its worth it.
  • Are you Air Force? :) Only time I hear Minot ND mentioned! I waited just over 2 years for mine, never saw the car, and had second thoughts the day I was allowed to order and pay. My wife said, "You haven't shut up about this car, just get it." She was right, only regret is I didn't wait for Performance, but I needed a car. The heat pump is probably giant up by you, my car sees a MAX of 35% reduction in range when temps are sub 20F, Minot's considerably lower. Rip the Band-Aid off and get it IMO, great purchase for me albeit a large price you'll have to swallow.
  • Efficiency is especially bad in the cold while the car is warming up. After that, it improves significantly. So if you have. Ashore commute, you might see a 40% reduction in range, but long distance travel is closer to 20%. This can be improved by having the car warm on departure by either scheduling a charge to finish then, so the battery is warm and by preheating the cabin while still plugged in. Once the car is warm, the only real penalty is using the cabin heat, which is at your discretion. Opting for the 50W of the seat heater in deference to 6000W of max heat makes a huge difference. Wearing a coat and not keeping the cabin at 78F also helps just as it does in one’s home. I think the only issue you raise that would impact the decision is what the home charging situation can be. Some states compel landlords to offer charging options. I suspect anywhere near the Bakkan is not one of those places.
  • * have a short commute
  • Preconditioning battery for travel so you have full regen should be a thing. I have found the regen to be such a luxury i would hate to not have it just because its cold.
  • Would take way too much energy to get a cold soaked battery to temp to eliminate regen limits. It can take over half an hour of driving to get to that temperature. Higher power charging is the best antidote. Can’t happen on a 120V circuit or even a low amp 240V.
  • Have you found 240V at 32A is sufficient to warm it? I only drive about 23 miles per day so even if i were to charge every day it would be less than an hour of charging. That being said however, my garage is insulated and has a couple heat vents usually does not drop below low 50s even in the frigid Januarys.
  • Regen starts to be limited around 60F, so a 50 degree garage will lead to limitations. If you did your charge immediately before departure in conjunction with cabin heating, battery heating will be maximized. I suspect that would eliminate most of the regen limitation.
  • cool i'll see how it goes, and can set the charging departure time to around when i leave. Judging from other peoples experiences i might use enough energy from keeping the battery warm all day that i can get more than an hour of 7.6kW charging before i leave. Commute is usually less than 20 minutes so i'll probably have to get used to using the brakes.
  • Depart at worked great for us past winter. Car was preconditioned and warm inside when wife was ready to leave at 6:30am. Didn't see huge decrease but again we live in the dirty South ).
  • “Depart at” works variably I’ve heard, depending on the time. I think it takes into account that some markets have reduced power rates during a certain time window, so it might stop charging at 6am for everyone. Might have changed, but that’s what I gleaned second hand.
  • I’m in Alaska and have had the 3 for just over 2 years. My closest supercharger is >2200 miles away and we have essentially no public charging. Although the 3 does great in the winter, No way i would do it without home (or workplace) 220v charging. Like others have said it’s a combination of the high rolling resistance of snow/ice covered roads and running the heat. The first 2 winters I’ve reset a trip card and both winters (Oct 1 to May 1) I averaged ~330 Wh/mi and I average ~250wh/mi (~30% decreased range) the other 5 months. I see days if Is below -10F or <20F with 4”+ of fresh snow where my daily commute ~10 miles can be >600 Wh/mi (>60% decrease range)And I’ve seen as high as 900 Wh/mi. Go from charging Two days a week to 5 or 6 in my heated garage with a Tesla wall connector. As for 110v at <0F it doesn’t do anything, have outlets in the lot at work for block heaters and when it gets cold I don’t even bother plugging in Since at -10 -20 -30F I’ve been plugged into 110 for 10-12 hours and gained 1%.
  • edited September 15
    You need home charging if you can't do that then don't get an EV. Just to give you an idea of the cost the Tesla Wall Connector costs $500, my electrician charged me $750 to run a 240V line and hook up my EVSE. If you have a garage and the panel is in the garage it might cost you less.

    As for range, the LR Model 3s will drop to around 200 miles on a reasonably cold winter day which I define as about 15F. In North Dakota you probably think that's bathing suit weather, use coleAK's numbers to give you a better feel.

    If you want to take road trips it's possible. I looked at the Tesla Supercharger Map, from Minot you would drive to the Bismarck Supercharger and from there you can get to the rest of the country, 94 is very well covered. Elsewhere might be more difficult. They have a planned Supercharger in Grand Forks but you should take that with a grain of salt. Tesla puts their planned chargers on the map without any sort of real date, all of the planned stations say coming in 2020, come Jan 1 they will be updated to coming in 2021. Eventually they will build out the station but you don't know when. A website that has better information than Tesla's is

    https://supercharge.info/changes

    What I did when I was thinking about getting a Tesla was to watch the Supercharger map to see when it would be possible to go everywhere I wanted to go in New England. They were slow about adding coverage in Maine so I waited, when the Portland Maine supercharger opened I got serious about buying a Model 3. In your case you should look at the Supercharger map to see if you can get to the places that you need to get to. You can also look at Plugshare to see where there are CHADeMO chargers. There is a YouTube channel called OutOfSpec Motoring and they just did a big road trip in a Model 3 Performance, Minot was one of their stops and as I recalled they used a CHADeMO charger there. The Tesla CHADeMO adapter isn't cheap, almost as much as the Wall Connector but in your case it might be a worthwhile investment.

    One more thing to take into account is service. The closest Service Center is in Minneapolis. Frankly if I were you I wouldn't buy a Tesla because the nearest Service Center is so far away. If you want an EV a Chevy Bolt might be a better bet than a Tesla because you undoubtedly have a Chevy Dealer in Minot. However with the Bolt I'd ask the dealer if they have a Bolt tech, if they don't then you would be no better off then if you had a Tesla. The Ford Mach-E is about to ship, that's a much better car than the Bolt and you must have a Ford dealer nearby also. But you'll need to ask the same question about service. EVs require specialized service people, that's not a problem in major metropolitan areas but it could be in a place like Minot.
  • > @bjrosen said:
    > You need home charging if you can't do that then don't get an EV. Just to give you an idea of the cost the Tesla Wall Connector costs $500, my electrician charged me $750 to run a 240V line and hook up my EVSE. If you have a garage and the panel is in the garage it might cost you less.
    >
    > As for range, the LR Model 3s will drop to around 200 miles on a reasonably cold winter day which I define as about 15F. In North Dakota you probably think that's bathing suit weather, use coleAK's numbers to give you a better feel.
    >
    > If you want to take road trips it's possible. I looked at the Tesla Supercharger Map, from Minot you would drive to the Bismarck Supercharger and from there you can get to the rest of the country, 94 is very well covered. Elsewhere might be more difficult. They have a planned Supercharger in Grand Forks but you should take that with a grain of salt. Tesla puts their planned chargers on the map without any sort of real date, all of the planned stations say coming in 2020, come Jan 1 they will be updated to coming in 2021. Eventually they will build out the station but you don't know when. A website that has better information than Tesla's is
    >
    > https://supercharge.info/changes
    >
    > What I did when I was thinking about getting a Tesla was to watch the Supercharger map to see when it would be possible to go everywhere I wanted to go in New England. They were slow about adding coverage in Maine so I waited, when the Portland Maine supercharger opened I got serious about buying a Model 3. In your case you should look at the Supercharger map to see if you can get to the places that you need to get to. You can also look at Plugshare to see where there are CHADeMO chargers. There is a YouTube channel called OutOfSpec Motoring and they just did a big road trip in a Model 3 Performance, Minot was one of their stops and as I recalled they used a CHADeMO charger there. The Tesla CHADeMO adapter isn't cheap, almost as much as the Wall Connector but in your case it might be a worthwhile investment.
    >



    Great insight! I will likely have to buy the adapter, and I know it costs somewhere near $500.
  • > @Lorenzryanc said:
    > Are you Air Force? :) Only time I hear Minot ND mentioned! I waited just over 2 years for mine, never saw the car, and had second thoughts the day I was allowed to order and pay. My wife said, "You haven't shut up about this car, just get it." She was right, only regret is I didn't wait for Performance, but I needed a car. The heat pump is probably giant up by you, my car sees a MAX of 35% reduction in range when temps are sub 20F, Minot's considerably lower. Rip the Band-Aid off and get it IMO, great purchase for me albeit a large price you'll have to swallow.

    I am not! I'm one of the rare locals from Minot! haha.

    It's my dream car, and if there's a way I can make it work, I'm going to.
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