Cooler weather coming - Battery question

Cooler weather coming - Battery question

My Standard Range Plus Model 3 has always been in the garage and has never seen winter but starting October 25th, I will be parking outside.
We are building a home in Prosper, TX and are in the process of moving from Plano, TX.

Our home wont be done until late January, early February, when temperatures here will dip down anywhere from 40 degrees Fahrenheit down to the upper 20's in January.

I am a bit worried that since I will now be parking outside until our home is built, I'm going to see a drastic drop in range.

Can ya'll give me your experiences/suggestions with cooler temperatures and having to park your model 3 outside?
Thanks in advance!

EVRider | October 9, 2019

I would think the temperature while driving would impact your range more than the temperature while parked.

hokiegir1 | October 9, 2019

GA winters sound fairly similar to yours temperature wise. Will you have the ability to plug in daily? If so, timing your charge to end as close to your departure time is best, but not strictly necessary. You will notice limited regen until the battery warms up -- which means you may need to use your brakes a little more. Charging just before departing minimizes that, and also allows you to pre-heat the car to your comfortable temperature using wall power rather than battery. Using heat in the car (we set it around 60-62, sometimes 64, with the fan on 4) and seat heaters, we notice about a 30% drop in range in the winter.

cosmicwarrior | October 9, 2019

I wont be able to plug in either unfortunately. We will be living with the in-laws and I will be charging at work. Maybe I can talk them into letting me run an extension cord outside to trickle charge. My daily commute is around 50 miles so it looks like I might be charging every single day at work now instead of twice a week? Good to know, thank you.

vmulla | October 9, 2019

First off, because you are in Texas your car is going to experience Northern US winter garage temperatures - and these cars are doing great. There is no reason to worry about ill effects from the cold weather and parking outside.

Expect 30% range drop on the coldest days, but that is normal in EVs (Any EV, not just Telsa)

Is your car going to be plugged in? That will help you some - you can prewarm the car to boost your range a bit before heading out for the day.

hokiegir1 | October 9, 2019

@cosmicwarrior - Yes, if you can find an exterior standard outlet or run a heavy duty (make sure it can handle the load!) extension cord, that would help even if you only set it to charge for about 2 hours in the morning to warm up, relying mostly on your work chargers.I have a LR and a 25 mile round trip commute, and I can still get away with only charging 3-4 times a week, but in the summer, it's 2-3.

cosmicwarrior | October 9, 2019

@Vmulla, thank you. This is great to hear. What temperatures do you start noticing the 30% drop in range?

derotam | October 9, 2019

@cosmicwarrior, it has a lot to do with your cabin heater usage. You won't nearly have as much of an efficiency hit if you don't use the heater, but then you just freeze on your commute. I definitely agree with trying to run a heavy duty extension cord so you can at least pre-warm the cabin while on shore power.

Also check your in-laws place to see just by chance if they have any other higher power outlets close to the driveway...14-50, 10-30, anything else...

Bighorn | October 9, 2019

A cold soaked battery is going to double the effect of cold weather. Plus, you’ll never have full regen over a normal commute. Small price to pay.

bpaul | October 9, 2019

You're getting a lot of useful and helpful posts above, and I echo their sentiments. I like to add this other helpful thing, which is that running the air-heaters will dramatically impact your range, and if you can get by with the seat heaters, you'll be able to go further. The battery itself will warm up as you extract energy from it, so you'll see your regen come back pretty quickly.

I'd also like like to add this other perhaps not quite as helpful thing, as a Wisconsinite: lololololol. :)

cosmicwarrior | October 9, 2019

Appreciate you all, great feedback!

coleAK | October 9, 2019

My car sits outside not plugged in up here in Alaska while I’m at work. It’s already been in the 20’s F this fall and it did fine all last winter. The range loss is due to running the heat not sitting out in the cold.

Lorenzryanc | October 9, 2019

Yes to everything. Mind your brakes when regen is limited and 120v charging overnight won't add too much range, but it'll get your car warm and toasty in the morning as well as maximize potential regen. Like @Hokie mentioned, make sure to use properly sized extension cord and offer to pay some electricity while your there.

Firaz.ashraf | October 9, 2019

All great advice and spot on. I park in my driveway in NYC. I notice increased losses once temp starts dipping below 40F and grow as you drop lower in temp.
High level numbers to understand: Seat heating uses about 0.5kWh and air heat uses about 5kWh. So over an hour, you can expect a range loss of about 20 miles from just running air heat...
This is separate from the energy loss for the battery to keep itself warm when not in operation and then you also have range loss due to lack of regen till battery/car is sufficiently warmed up
Plan for total range loss of 30-40pct when temp around 30F...

edseloh | October 9, 2019

As others have mentioned, the cabin heater really draws heavily on the battery. I just ordered some gloves with touchscreen fingertip pads. Hopefully they'll work with the Tesla screen. I wish that the Model 3 had a heated steering wheel...

andy | October 9, 2019

Writing from the UK - I’m curious. Over here garages are use to store freezers and bikes. Cars stay outside on the drive. We put 7kWh charge points with type 2 connectors on the side of the house for charging on the drive. Can’t/don’t you do the same?

jimglas | October 9, 2019

@andy, we could, but most prefer the protection and security offered by our garages.

robertd7 | October 9, 2019

Living in Chicago I experienced some -20 F temps. Yes of course you're going to have loss in range. My concern and problem that I had was that even though I had the car in a garage, during those very cold temps I had a hard time getting my charging flap to open. I had to use a hair dryer to warm it up. And that took 5-10 minutes. My dealer told me To just lift the flap manually. Anyone else have this problem.

kevin_rf | October 9, 2019

Andy, the answer is it depends. Some people clearly use their garages as extra storage, while many like myself do not. We keep the Model 3 and Insight in the garage along with the snow blower and winter pellet supply (4 tons). Many Americans with teens have more cars than garage space. For instance, the Prius lost its prime garage spot when the Model 3 arrived.

You are less likely park in the garage if you own an SUV or equally oversized vehicle. I have a neighbor that parks his boat in one of his garage spaces.

kevin_rf | October 9, 2019

Andy, if you really want your mind blow. People in silicon valley are tossing a cot, mini fridge, table, and microwave in so they can be used as a rental.

Imagine $2000 a month for a garage bay setup as an apartment

Spif | October 9, 2019

Overnight charging on 120V can still add a decent amount of range. I get 4-5 miles of range per hour when doing this. That adds up 60-70 miles most night for me.

Make sure you have a heavy duty extension cord. I use one of these when visiting relatives where I have to park in the driveway.

A cold soaked battery takes an extra half-hour to charge because it needs to warm the battery first to charge it. Not a problem if you're leaving it plugged in for hours at a time. Very annoying of you park overnight at lowish battery and want to supercharge before a long drive

If you are plugging in overnight, think ahead and warm the car for a few min while it is still plugged in

While cold, tapping the charge port to open is much less likely to work. Use the app or the screen in the car, and if necessary gently lift the port to help it open (usually only necessary when iced over, and warming it to melt the ice is a better idea)

agkulcz | October 9, 2019

I live in NYS and the way I think about is that my LR RWD car turns into SR+ for a quarter of the year - I'm Okay with that....

Ron.Olsberg | October 9, 2019

My car was parked in an insulated unheated garage last year follows are my observation from memory. I charge the car using a 30A dryer circuit, is it 24A at 240V or approx 5.76KW. When the traction battery does not require any warming to allow charging, it adds 22 to 23 miles per hour; however, when the traction battery was cold soaked to about 40F, all of the 5.76KW of power the first 20 minute of a charging session was required to heat the traction battery (via the traction motor). At about the 20 minute point, the MPH started climbing and at about the 35 to 40 minute point it reached the 22MPH max charging rate, at that point the traction motor stopped making noise (ie.. stopped creating heat). So if the traction battery was cold soaked to say 20F and you were plugged into a 12A 120V circuit (1.44KW), I am not sure how long it would be before the heating would stop and the car would start to add miles to the battery? Might be 3 plus hours? So using 1.4KW circuit would hopefully get the battery heat soaked to around 50F but I am not sure how much range you would add in 10 hours? Maybe other forum members have more experience at colder temps. The manual also states to not expose the car to temps colder than -22F or hotter that 140F for more than 24 hours. If the car in not being actively driven or charging, I do not believe the Model 3 will heat or cool the battery (even if it is plugged into shore power and not chargiing). I would hope it would try to keep the battery above -22f or below 140F to keep from damaging the traction battery. If the car is not plugged into shore power and the traction battery reaches the 20% level, I do not believe it can either cool or heat the battery. I know you will not experience the temp extremes but it would nice to know what would happen especially at the -22F lower threshold. I have vacationed in Colorado during the winter time in the past where the temps were lower that -22Fat night and not much warmer that -10F for the high for several days. Most of the ICE cars would not start without a jump start and/or the use of starting fluid.

Teslanene | October 9, 2019

The combination of Cold and rain really kill my MR last winter.

Bighorn | October 9, 2019

But rain doesn’t happen in the cold:)

Teslanene | October 9, 2019

The north bay got several days in the 40 degrees with rain/wind which was worse than 20-30 degrees with no rain.

FISHEV | October 9, 2019

I did get a blue snowflake symbol for the battery today, it got too cold I assume. Didn't seem to affect anything when I went out to the car.

kevin_rf | October 10, 2019

The OP is in Texas, not Farts freeze mid air Chicago. He will be fine, even with a 120v cord he will get some charge.

Brunoranger | October 10, 2019

You’re worried that you are leaving your car outside? You have a 50 mile commute and you’re worried?


Brunoranger | October 10, 2019

My car is a SR+ parked outside daily and my R/T commute is 90 miles and I charge every night. No problem

Keithdorschner | October 10, 2019

thats not even a real winter. Relax.

Tronguy | October 10, 2019

As it happens, the M3 was back and forth to MD during the winter to a friend's house several days at a time, multiple times. The friend didn't have room in the garage for an M3, so what looked like a heavy duty extension cord was brought out from the garage to the mobile charger and the car was charged from that.
So, with temperatures around (both above and below) freezing, the car would attempt to charge. Problem: what kind of looks like a heavy duty cord at Home Depot ain't, really, and there was a significant voltage drop across that cord. The car detected that, decided that meant a lousy connection, and dropped the charging current from the nominal 12A to 5A to 8A. Finally, the cold did impair the charging somewhat as well.. and sometimes the car wouldn't charge at all.
So: Moral is to get the heaviest duty possible extension cord that's as short as can be made to go from the outlet you're charging from to the mobile connector. Just because the cable looks thick doesn't mean that it's heavy duty: Manufacturers don't like to spend money on copper, so they spend money on plastic and looks instead. And don't expect 4-5 MoCpH, expect 3 or so in cold weather.

Ron.Olsberg | October 10, 2019

I was wrong in my post above I thought the car shut down most/all onboard systems and stopped topping off 12V battery at 20%; however, it is actually 0%. I am not sure where I came up with the 20% or if something has changed. I am pretty sure some 12v systems remain active like powering the door latches and this can totally discharge and potentially ruin the 12V AGM battery. I have read that 0% does not brick the traction battery but sitting at this very low level of charge for an extended time can't be good?