Big drop in range with dropping temperatures!!

Big drop in range with dropping temperatures!!

Hello all,

I've noticed a big drop in range since the winter has basically started. I live in VA and the temperature his week has been in he 40s. When I leave in the morning, I have 182 miles, I drive 50 miles and when I come back, the rated range says I have only 100 miles left!!
When the weather was warmer, the rated range was pretty accurate. I drive very conservatively but still, 30 miles lost just because it's little cooler seems excessive.

Any thoughts?


David Trushin | November 16, 2014

Please look at the prewarming thread. When you drive with a cold battery, 3 things happen. 1st, your rated range is reported low because the transfer of energy from the battery is less efficient. Some of this comes back when the battery warms up. 2nd, energy is diverted to warm the battery so less for miles. 3rd, regen is limited, so less is put back in the battery.

Also, the heater is very inefficient. It uses a fair amount of energy. Try putting the temp lower and fan on 2.

Preheating the cabin while plugged in makes a big difference.

eye.surgeon | November 16, 2014

I'd have to assume it's your use of the heater. The predictive algorithm used to postulate range is not used to your use of the heater, which from what I have heard is the accessory that uses the most electric power by far.

I'm not an expert I'm still a waiter.

Captain_Zap | November 16, 2014

Don't forget to use "Eco Mode" for the heat. It moderates the climate control to reduce consumption. It is listed as "Range Mode" in your car's options.

Panoz | November 16, 2014

Does someone have a miles-per-hour cost for high-energy accessories? I just read something like 7 mph for A/C. What's the range cost for the heater?

Bighorn | November 16, 2014

Cabin heater is closer to 25 mph as is the battery heater. dleng--it's been 50 degrees colder than that here in the Rockies. Tons of threads about this topic.

tes-s | November 16, 2014

This gets discussed every year around this time. Yes, range is reduced in colder weather.

Best thing is to see how range is affected at different temperatures for you with your driving situation.

Everyone will be different based on length of trips, how much heating, range mode setting, etc.

Tesltoronto | November 16, 2014

For me, when the temperature dropped to about 10 C (say, 45 F), the energy consumption went from 193 KWH/Km (308 KWH/Mile) to 210 KWH/Km (336 KWH/Mile). Now that the temperature is around 0 C (32 F). The energy consumption is around 270 KWH/Km (432 KWH/Mile).

I do preheat the car when driving from home, but don't have chargers at my workplace. So it is a cold start/drive on my return home.

I don't use the range mode - since I do like to feel warm during the drive (set the temp to 22 C or 72 F).

I was hoping for a 20% higher energy consumption - but I think it is going to be around 50% higher in winter. I don't have winter tires yet.

Bighorn | November 16, 2014

If you've got a shortish commute, the degradation will be significantly more because the bulk of your driving is done in the inefficient warming stages.

Kimscar | November 16, 2014

If you can reduce the heating of the interior and use the seat heater you should see some improvement in range. | November 16, 2014

Try using the app to pre-warm the car for 10-15 min while its still plugged in--it uses shore power instead of your battery back to get the car up to a comfortable temp.


riceuguy | November 16, 2014

Also a great time to download VisibleTesla to use the scheduled pre-heating!

Pungoteague_Dave | November 17, 2014

This is why a 60 is a ridiculous choice for areas where winter is a real factor. The effective range of an 85 in subfreezing weather is 180-190 miles depending on speed.

Brian H | November 17, 2014

Seat heaters are intended for exactly this situation.

Pilot_51 @US-MI | November 17, 2014


Only, perhaps, if you need to drive far. It's not an issue for me because I only drive 45 miles/day and long trips are pretty much non-existent, and I know how to plan ahead in case I do decide to take a trip.

All this hating on the 60 makes me sad.

bonaire | November 17, 2014

Coat, hat, gloves, seat heater. Then you can skip the cabin heater. But winter does lower EV range by 20% or more, especially when using cabin heater. Did the OP not know this when buying?

tes-s | November 17, 2014

Cold weather shortens range.

There are myriad ways to get more range in the cold, such as driving slower, not using the heat, or getting larger battery.

I like to be comfortable in the car and drive fast, so I simply ordered the larger battery and don't worry about how cold it is.

David Trushin | November 17, 2014

Captainzap. Range mode makes it worse. It is better to not use range mode in the winter but just manually control the heater. Set it to 70 with fan on 2 and you will be happy.

Mathew98 | November 17, 2014

@pilot - @PD has a real need for a 200+ miles commute at least twice a week. He ditched his S85 for an upcoming P85D with an additional 20 miles range.

On the other hand, folks with S60 know exactly how to take advantage of its capabilities. Different strokes for different folks. This why there are different trims and range for each one.

And yes, @PD, you ought to buy the discontinued S40 because it suits my needs the best.


BTW, range mode is more efficient in the cold weather along with the butt warmer. But you don't need it unless your commute is more than 100 miles.

Bighorn | November 17, 2014

Range mode will delay the heating up phase, prolonging inefficient driving, but increase economy for longer drives. I think this is all probably subject to remediation via firmware that could prioritize the battery heating circuit. For all I know, they've already sorted that out--haven't played around with it enough to know if there's been a change since last winter. Assuming no change, you could toggle range mode based on that to truly maximize its benefits. When it's super cold, sometimes range mode heat won't cut it for keeping the windshield defrosted.

Bighorn | November 17, 2014

Didn't you get Dave's Christmas letter? The P85D will have a shorter range than his last car. Thankfully, they've installed a supercharger for him in Salisbury. Santa came early.

Mathew98 | November 17, 2014

Oh, in that case, I demand the mothership offer a new trim for S40d. The little d would have half the power and range of the previous model. I don't need to overcompensate for my manhood...

David Trushin | November 17, 2014

You may be right on the long trips. But it seems to me that other than restricting the climate control, it doesn't do much beside inhibit battery conditioning. It's more effective and more comfortable if i manage the climate control. Setting the airflow keeps the frost off the windows nicely even at fan setting 2. I'm just alittle sensitive about range mode given the problem i had last winter with this issue.

Bighorn | November 17, 2014

I keep it off as well, but I'm doing a 4000 mile trip next week, so I may play around with it a little.

SMinnihan | November 17, 2014

Come now, I'm sure Tesla disclosed that range would drop dramatically in cold weather when you bought the car. Don't complain now.

tes-s | November 17, 2014

I'm sure it is disclosed in the same way the loss of power with ICE as altitude increases is disclosed.

SMinnihan | November 17, 2014

If you're running low on range in the cold, just pull into your local battery swapping station......

jordanrichard | November 17, 2014

Tesla doesn't need to have a "disclosure" on this subject, just got to the main website. There is page where you can enter various temps and speeds and it will tell you approx. what your range will be.

rstein | November 17, 2014

I have a heated garage - my car will leave the house, even on the coldest days, at 62 degrees. I hope this helps as I am leaning toward the 60.

Mathew98 | November 17, 2014

Heated garage is not necessary in the winter. Just schedule the overnight charging to be completed half an hour before your daily commute and the battery/cabin will be warm as a by product.

WillEric | November 17, 2014

Many others have also recommended, and I recommend this highly to anyone who wants precise measurements for range in cold weather. Created by a teenager who asks for donations to his college fund. I just donated $50.00. Better than the tesla website, because you can input very detailed information, i.e., exact inside and outside temperatures, payload, speed variations, and it takes into account differences in elevation from starting point to finishing point.

AmpedRealtor | November 17, 2014

@ dleng73,

A range drop of 20%-30% is not unusual in cold weather. It takes more energy to heat than it does to cool because the Model S does not use a reversible heat pump for both AC and heating. Some tips to maximize range when it's cold outside:

Pre-heat your car to your desired warm temperature by turning on the climate control with the app while it's plugged in (uses shore power)

While driving, turn off the climate control completely and if you need heat, use the seat heaters instead because they use less energy

Drive conservatively

Bighorn | November 17, 2014

I just drove to work in 10F temps. Did a 30 min cabin pre-heat to 78. My efficiency was 214Wh/m vs the normal 180, so a 19% penalty. I minimized the use of climate except to occasionally clear the windshield.

EVino | November 17, 2014

I'm a new owner so maybe it's just me, but I find this Range Mode/Standard Mode thing really dumb. Why not just show the full true scale of the battery's capacity and let me figure it out? Can someone tell me if power management algorithms change or is it just changing the axis of the "full" line?

Bighorn | November 17, 2014

I think you meant rated/ideal mile mode. That just changes the efficiency rate constant, so yes the axis. Most people are better served by rated miles, but there are some folks who do closer to ideal and that suits them better. Your terminology of range mode refers to something different which primarily dials back how much energy is allocated to climate.

AmpedRealtor | November 17, 2014

@ Julian,

You have access to the full battery charge. The charging screen allows you to vary the battery's charge from 50% to 100% depending on your needs. Range Mode, when on, limits the climate control performance so as to add a few miles to your range. That's all it does. There is no "standard" mode. There is a standard charge level that Tesla recommends at 90%, but that is different and separate from the Range Mode setting, which has nothing to do with the battery.

EVino | November 17, 2014

I see. I would be happy if it showed a bar chart of all the variables consuming power and let me prioritize the management directly for each. The gain or loss would just be a derivative of that. I guess the Range Mode is someone's model. Thanks to the guys in higher latitudes. How about the guys in Arizona's heat? What is their model?

AmpedRealtor | November 17, 2014

@ Julian,

I live in Arizona and have no issues. I use the AC as needed and drive it without much thought. I have a P85 delivered in late August 2013 and my lifetime average consumption is 290 Wh/mi. In other words, range is great here in Arizona!

Bighorn | November 17, 2014

AmpedRealtor is a fellow Zonie--that's not a slur is it?

WillEric | November 17, 2014

@Bighorn, I'm curious as to whether you drove very conservatively, or just at an average speed.

I'm planning a trip from NYC to Montreal/Quebec City in December. The only stretch I have some concerns about is the Albany-Supercharger to Montreal stretch, about 215 miles. I have an 85. I do have fallback contingency plans (chargepoint charger in Plattsburgh, or a plugshare member in Quebec just across the NY/Canada border), but I'm hoping to make it from Albany to Montreal without having to stop.

Your trip gave me some comfort. If you only lost 20% in 10F temperature, that's not too bad. A 20% reduction off a full-charge 265 range would leave 212 miles. Just shy of 215, but if the temperature is well above 10F, and/or if I drive really, really conservatively, I might make it.

tes-s | November 17, 2014

@rstein - if you are "leaning" towards the 60, think about if there are some trips that will be difficult because of range (including when it is unusually cold), and then decide if the $8000 upgrade is worth it for those times.

There is all sort of instrumentation to show usage and projected range, and planning tools like evtripplanner. I look at all of them occasionally, but mostly I just get in and go - and don't even think about range.

Bighorn | November 17, 2014


I drove an average speed. Also the road has a bit of snow and ice cover, so the increased rolling resistance was a factor.

evtripper shows a slight rated mile penalty for that trip(222 actual miles/254 rated miles), primarily because of the higher speed on the Northway. I wouldn't want to attempt that trip without the car being warm at the outset, either because you'll just be driving through or maybe the supercharger can get the battery up to temps. I'd also drop back on the speed when it's safe to do so, just to conserve your charge. There's a car museum in Saratoga that has some chargers/outlets--not sure if it's an HPWC, but you might consider a meal break there to pick up some charge.

Pungoteague_Dave | November 17, 2014

Wear a coat, hat, &-gloves, with heater off in a luxury car? That's the quickest way to end my 37-year marriage. Some tradeoffs are absurd, even for EV fanatics. When we let the car determine our behavior, we become slaves to the technology, rather than harnessing the technology to serve us. The day I begin wearing a hat and gloves after pulling the car out of a heated garage is the day we get a new car.

karmamule | November 17, 2014

I agree with @PD here, I got the Tesla in hopes that it would meet my needs with minimal compromises. On a recent near-freezing day I tried the full seat-heater/minimal cabin heat and wasn't happy with it. I'd much rather make an extra charging stop than drive uncomfortably for an extended period of time.

Fortunately the Tesla has more than met my needs, and as I get used to the changes in range with cold weather I still expect it to do so. I've quickly seen the value of:

- Pre-heat the car before unplugging and driving away
- Becoming thoroughly familiar with various range estimates the Model S offers on the energy screen so I can have a realistic idea of true range left
- Use evtripplanner for any trip I feel might push limits

I'm willing to do some things in order to live a "fully EV" driving life, including putting a bit more thought into my trips, and perhaps some extra time here and there for charging, but for me personally having to compromise on cabin comfort is a toll I'm unwilling to pay.

I'm eager to see how my first winter goes. The empiricist in me is itching for direct experience!

Captain_Zap | November 17, 2014


That explains why it takes over 20 miles for my battery to warm in the cold.

I'll just keep it in eco-mode for the summer, then. My impression was it helped with the radiant heat as well.

AmpedRealtor | November 17, 2014

@ Bighorn - Zonie, no. Bronie, yes. :P

Bighorn | November 17, 2014

Thanks AR. I know in SD, it seems to be used with some derision, and I wasn't intent on offending anyone, anymore than I already do:)

I wish we could get more granular data so we weren't theorizing so much.

Mike83 | November 17, 2014

My old hybrid went from 52 mpg to 38 mpg in the winter. They said it was to heat the catalytic converter up to OT. ICE vehicles get terrible mileage in the cold.
Driving my MS at 25F or -4C I found the range change not to be a problem. But I drive slower in ice and snow and when I am with my wife she adds heat to the car. Running about 280kW/m.
Get a dog or bring your wife(or partner) for added heat. It is more fun. ;-)

CT-Greg | November 17, 2014

"I just drove to work in 10F temps. Did a 30 min cabin pre-heat to 78. My efficiency was 214Wh/m vs the normal 180, so a 19% penalty. I minimized the use of climate except to occasionally clear the windshield."

With a cabin temp of 67 and outside air at about 40, I'm struggling to keep my consumption under 375. How are you at 214?

Bighorn | November 17, 2014

My 10 mile commute drops around 400 ft, so my baseline figure is only 180Wh/m. My overall lifetime figure is closer to 335. When I preheat the cabin, I can often drive without heat or just seat heaters, which helps efficiency. If I hadn't preheated, that 214 figure would have at least doubled, or even tripled if it were really frigid.

dglauz | November 17, 2014

I went for a Sunday drive yesterday. Enjoyed the countryside at about 40 mph. got about 200 Wh/mi (60-65 deg F). My lifetime average is 325 (33000 mi). Speed makes a big difference.

After 2 pages I am surprised no one has mentioned tire pressure. Lower temp => lower pressure. Lower pressure => lower range.