Model S

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Model S battery range problem in Minnesota winter

I just got my Model S 4 days ago. It's an inventory vehicle with ~1000 miles odometer reading at the time of purchase. 85D with EPA mileage claim of 270 on full charge. I have been using it for commute to work and charge it to recommended 90% (242 miles) in the night with a newly installed NEMA 14-50 in my garage.

My work place is about 11 miles from home and I have been commuting back and forth only once (~22 miles/day), still by the end of day the car is using almost half of the batter range. 1st day I plugged it back with only 97 miles remaining on raged range only after driving 40 miles. Next day, I plugged it in with 160 miles remaining after a 22 miles drive.The average energy consumption is extremely inefficient and ranging somewhere close to 510 kWh (For EPA I need close to 300 kWh).

I have noticed only turning the car's climate on consumes 5-10 miles of battery range within 15-30 minutes.

I called the customer care center with this problem and they told me to start the car (turn the climate on with phone app) exactly 20 minutes before leaving and still I noticed usage of 42 miles range after driving only 11 miles.

Is there something else I can do? I did proper research and read everywhere that the expected loss of efficiency due to cold weather should not be more than 5% of the range. But what I am getting here is close to 30-40% loss.

I live in rural Minnesota with a 2 hours (105 miles) drive to Minneapolis/twin cities area frequently. Now, I am really apprehensive in driving back and forth to cities in this car. Even if I manage to spend several hours charging it on a public charge station I can't be sure to drive back and forth with enough heat in the cabin or do a little extra driving in cities to go places.


  • edited November -1
    Driving in Canada with a longer commute and he's what I've found (just posted similar on another thread). I'm finding cold/wind is taking 15-22% off of rated. However, don't let the first 11miles determine where you think it will be after two hours. I have one drive that's a very gradual uphill and I loose much more power going to work than returning.

    As for a 105mile drive each way, it sound like it might be tight in the cold. 100% charge = 270 miles, 80%=216 miles total.
  • edited November -1
    105 miles one way? A round trip in cold weather would be a stretch. I would suggest a L2 charger for at least an hour while in the Minneapolis area.

    Energy usage with short trips is not good to extrapolate to a single long trip. For best range, pre-heat cabin and finish charging shortly before leaving.
  • edited November -1
    I'm not sure where you read 5%, but 30% is what you'll find in almost every thread that talks about this WRT to starting with a cold battery for short trips. You need to read better source material to discover how to minimize the heating requirements of the cabin and battery when they've been cold soaked. I visited all the new northern MN superchargers over Thanksgiving and had no issues. There's probably a 10-20% penalty in winter for longer trips. Each heater draws about 6kW, so do the math and consider a different strategy and using seat heat and economizing with the climate control. Have you found the Owners Manual Companion yet?
  • edited November -1
    Short trips whether in a gas powered car or electric car are less efficient. Warming the car and battery while still plugged in improves on this issue but if you are parked outside at work and not plugged in then the battery will be cold soaked and it will never really warm up on the way home. You will therefore have little or no regen on the way home. That and the cold battery will hurt your range figure.

    If you can preheat prior to leaving and get any level 2 charging in Minneapolis for at least a few hours you will probably be fine. Once you have been driving the car for a bit you will be motivated to find ways to take it everywhere. You won't want to drive anything else.
  • edited November -1

    Above is link for my driving experience in cold weather for comparison. See the latest posts for range in cold weather.
    edited November -1
    "I did proper research and read everywhere that the expected loss of efficiency due to cold weather should not be more than 5% of the range. But what I am getting here is close to 30-40% loss."

    I'd like to reiterate the question of how you came up with 5% range loss expectation in cold weather...I've never seen such a low figure stated for any electric car in any review or analysis.

    Tesla actually provides a calculator on their site for this calculation. Scroll down slightly on the following link to the "Range Per Charge" section:

    Even at 32 degrees, with the heat on, and going 65 MPH, the efficiency (range) drops by about 15% for all models versus traveling in 70 degree weather with AC off.

    And I'm guessing your Minnesota Winters go way below 32 degrees.

    I'm also guessing that, with your very short commutes seeming to take quite a while, you're doing a lot of either very slow driving or stopping, which will make the apparent efficiency a lot worse -- the car would be using very little power to travel, and tons of power to create heat. Think about it: if your car is parked, not plugged in, and the heater is on, you're using several kilowatts of power to go 0 miles. Infinite inefficiency!!!

    Something similar would happen in a gas car if you sat out on a winter day, idling the engine so you could run the heater and keep warm. You'd be using gas and going nowhere. Zero miles per gallon!

    Of course, the gas engine is so inefficient, that running the heater on top of all that idling is almost free -- it is the waste heat. In an electric car, power for the heater has to come from somewhere, and during a very short, low-speed trip, there isn't much waste heat that can be used.
  • Thanks for all the comments and suggestions.

    The first day I drove my car from Minneapolis Tesla to my place (97 miles drive), I had 95 miles left in the car. The car was parked in the heated showroom attached to a regular charger (3 miles/hour), so probably the batteries were heated up as well as they could be. In a 97 miles drive, I used up 147 miles of EPA range (34% loss). I didn't sit idle anywhere with the heat on and drove straight to home. I understand it was cold outside (about 25F or so) and the cabin temperature was very cold with the settings of 70 degrees. I had to crank it all the way up to 85F on both heaters to get some relief from cold. I normally like it around 67 at home and do not have unnecessary cold intolerance.

    I had a look at this link:
    The estimated range with a 60 miles/hour speed at 0 degree F (way below the temp I drove in) according to above calculator is 236 miles with a full charge (270 miles EPA), i.e. a 12.4% loss. This loss is nowhere close to 34% loss I experienced.

    I enjoy driving this car, it's great and have features like remote app control, torque and autopilot that no one else has. These were the reasons I went for it, but the range issue in cold weather is something that should be addressed more convincingly than playing around with battery heating time or using seat warmers than the cabin temperature. People who are spending over 100K on a car won't be wrong in asking for a better solution.
  • edited November -1
    I precool my car most of the time in the summer and have a 2 mile commute. My summer time wh/mi avg would be over 430. Now my wh/mi avg is 330 for the same trip without precooling.

    The Tesla website range calculator assumes perfect conditions and does not factor rain/snow, headwind or tailwind, and elevation change. (Also Low tire pressure)

    Tesla also claims new tires consume up to 5% more energy the first 1000 miles.

    Driving 60mph into a 20 mph headwind is the equivalent of driving 80mph which would be a big difference in energy consumption.

    You could try using this website to plan your
    Trip as it does account for elevation.
  • edited November -1

    30-40% range loss is normal. Don't fret. You'll get used to it. You will figure out the efficiencies of the car in time. I know what you are thinking.

    Best to blast the heat for a few minutes while driving if you feel cold, then drop it down to low. Don't keep it high too long. The battery & cabin heaters use up A LOT of energy.

    This is my first winter with the car. I am slowly figuring the efficiencies out for myself. Yesterday I drove to the subway & back to meet my son. 1 hour round trip. The car was charged before leaving. Temp was -7C, windy & blowing snow here in Toronto. The battery never warmed up at all, the whole trip. Yellow dotted lines for regen remained on the energy app the whole time. That's my newest thing to figure out.
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