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The new regen level makes the car virtually useless in winter where I live

The new regen level makes the car virtually useless in winter where I live

Left home 9 AM this morning (5500 ft ASL). Car overnight in 65F parking garage. Drove ~30 miles to 8200 ft ASL. Parked outside (20-25F) for 6 hours.
Got in car to drive home and ZERO regen for all but the last mile or two when it was maybe a "1/16 of an inch of green" on the energy graph. Intermittently on the brakes the entire drive home.

The car is now virtually useless in winter when there's need for down hill speed moderation.

Tesla, you've degraded a lot of nice features in the past, such as the fine user interface after V8, but this one (no/limited regen for extended periods) is the absolute worst thing you've ever done!

2015P90DI | December 29, 2019

I agree, after 7 years of driving these cars a particular way, now every day, I have almost no regen through most (or all) of the day. For 7 years, car always drove the same. Hardly ever used brakes. Now, have to use them all the time.

Is Tesla going to pay for the brakes on our cars all so the battery is good for 20 years instead of 19 years? I pray that they'll put it back to the way it was. No safe either. I expect the car to slow down by lifting off the pedal and it unexpectedly doesn't because now the battery isn't warm enough?? Seriously?

One of the reasons I love driving these cars is for this feature, now it's mostly gone. What's the point? And now, I'll be paying to replace brake pads. Another reason was no maintenance. That's going to change too. Stopping a 5,000 pound car is going to wear out brakes pretty quickly!

TeslaTap.com | December 29, 2019

Virtually useless seems a bit extreme. Sounds like you have never used brakes in your lifetime? I've found brakes work just fine in the Tesla, although agree 1-pedal driving is nice. You can also use AP and have zero pedal driving.
So in extreme cold, the brakes only last 150K miles instead of 250K miles. Still far less usage than conventional cars.

Looks like some cars like the Taycan, force you to 2 pedal driving - no regen until you press the brake pedal. With the narrow temperature band of operation, it looks like you'll also get no regen in the extreme cold in the Taycan as well.

PrescottRichard | December 29, 2019

I’ve experienced this too, but maybe not to the same extent.

I’d appreciate some head’s up as to what exactly was done and why. The assumption we’re going by is to protect the battery but something official would be nice.

barrykmd | December 29, 2019

TT - I've used brakes before, but in this part of the country, downshifting is commonly used and recommended to control down hill descents to avoid causing the brakes to overheat and wear out prematurely.

5 years ago, before I bought my car, I did a drive with a Tesla owner on I-70 where tI drive often. There's a long, steep down hill and I wanted to be sure the car could handle it. It did so with ease. That functionality is now gone.

lilbean | December 29, 2019

Bummer. I agree,

nukequazar | December 29, 2019

TT will always defend Tesla to a ridiculous extreme, unfortunately it makes them sound quite ignorant. Having a car with no engine-braking is extremely frustrating, expensive on brakes, and just not an enjoyable way to drive for any driving enthusiast.

This is my first winter so I don’t know if this is a change. Every recent morning, with temps in the 40’s-50’s where I am, I have reduced regen. It’s not nice to have to look at the energy display and constantly adjust your driving depending on this function.

I would guess this is one of the reasons why Porsche engineered their ingenious method for incorporating regen into the brake pedal. This way at least we don’t have to change our driving method depending on regen/temperature.

NKYTA | December 29, 2019

@barrykmd,

The run in from ski country to Denver is awesome for regen. I’ve done it a few times, with only a wee bit of snow in my S. I did it routinely in a Toyota Tercel FWD when I was a ski bum.

“Parked outside (20-25F) for 6 hours.”

Well, you should know better, right? If you had a diesel not on a block heater it wouldn’t even be able to start the car.

Do I have to relate the cold-soaked battery at 7F in Twin Falls, ID mishap again? When the hotel across the street had a Destination Charger that I didn’t pick? 8 hours of cold. It took tens of minutes to draw voltage at no amps, 2 hours total to charge to be able to get back to Elko.

So find a charging option while you ski? You must have some pull, you’ve been doing it for years.

I’ve had limited regen in the old S, but goes away quickly and I’m back to 60kW.

So now I get to harp on the newer interface that you don’t like, and I do, AND I get better regen. ;-)

You shouldn’t have upgraded anything. :-)

NKYTA | December 29, 2019

@nuke,

“Having a car with no engine-braking is extremely frustrating, expensive on brakes, and just not an enjoyable way to drive for any driving enthusiast.”

7 years - brakes still fine.

NKYTA | December 29, 2019

I’m pretty sure I’ve covered you neck of the woods, since the last three country crossing trips and 112k miles.

Bighorn | December 29, 2019

Plug it in is my answer as well.

p.c.mcavoy | December 29, 2019

@NKYTA - “ If you had a diesel not on a block heater it wouldn’t even be able to start the car.”

You obviously don’t have any experience with diesel product developed in the past 15 or so years. It’s been a few years, but I’ve personally spent many mornings in Silverthorne doing cold start testing in conditions colder than barrykmd described ensuring that such products did start easily without need for any external aids.

I understand barrykmd’s frustration. Behavior of my MS90D has changed with regard to cold weather regen capability versus what I experienced the prior 3 winters. In my case that’s not being cold soaked outside for several hours at 20-25F, but even parked in a 45-50F garage. Reduction in regen is clearly more aggressive (meaning more reduction), and the time required for the pack warm to restore regen appears much longer. I’m not in a mountainous such that I’m concerned with impact on brake wear, but the change in the product, especially with regards to how long regen is reduced, is noticeable.

I need to watch the energy display closely a few times to confirm, but my impression is that the extent of active heating of the pack to warm it has been significantly reduced. I would normally see a large spike is energy consumption for the first 5-10 minutes, even without the interior heat being turned on. I don’t recall seeing that lately. Difference was such that I actually questioned whether range mode had been turned on, but checked and found that it was not.

The biggest issue for many in this type of situation is reducing the functionality of a product especially without any notification. This is one of those times where that definitely appears to be the case.

Bighorn | December 29, 2019

Battery heater still looks to be about a 6 kW draw.

barrykmd | December 30, 2019

NKYTA - “ If you had a diesel not on a block heater it wouldn’t even be able to start the car.”

p,c,mcavoy's post notwithstanding, you are missing the point. If I researched buying a diesel, test drove it in the conditions that concerned me, and it worked well, then all of a sudden, one day, it stopped working in those conditions, I would be unhappy.

BH - Plugging it in wasn't an option. Are you saying that if I found a 120V 15A circuit to plug into, it would have kept the battery warm enough to provide regen for the trip home? BTW, on my drive home, I had cabin heat, seat heater, and steering wheel heater on the entire trip, hoping that would provide enough draw to warm the battery, but it didn't.

tes-s | December 30, 2019

"Are you saying that if I found a 120V 15A circuit to plug into, it would have kept the battery warm enough to provide regen for the trip home?"

I think so, especially given the scenario you decribed where the battery was likely warm upon arrival. Give it a try next time and let us know.

Mike G | December 30, 2019

What I found working to quickly heat up the battery is to select a nearest supercharger as you destination. It will turn on preconditioning of the battery.

tes-s | December 30, 2019

Does that work for the older cars? Is there a way to tell if it is doing something different when navigating to a supercharger?

I see no evidence that my 2013 MS or my 2018 MX heat the battery any differently whether or not I am navigating towards a supercharger. I don't see any difference in the energy display showing the charge/discharge rate, or notice any faster warming.

PhillyGal | December 30, 2019

Has something changed that I need to be aware of?

TeslaTap.com | December 30, 2019

@p.c.mcavoy - Interesting observations. I wonder if Tesla could have an option "Cold Range vs Regeneration" The idea would be to waste some energy when starting to heat the battery faster (perhaps like before?), but at the sacrifice of some range. Those that need the most range would have the option, which would reduce regeneration when cold.

Has anyone noticed they get more range in the cold with the latest regen profile? I know it seems backwards to limit regeneration, yet get more range in the cold by not heating the battery as fast. I've not monitored range all that closely to make any assessment here.

Regeneration is the same as charging, and Lithium-Ion cells do not like being charged when cold. Not sure what Tesla discovered that led to scaling back regen in the cold.

acegreat1 | December 30, 2019

What do you think of every ice vehicle all year round? Actually, I don't care what you think. Shake it easy

rxlawdude | December 30, 2019

I thought that in snow/ice wintry conditions one is SUPPOSED to turn Regen to low.

barrykmd | December 30, 2019

Rx - If roads are covered in snow/ice, I DO run regen in low. If it's just cold out and the roads are clear, I don't. There's a difference between LOW and NO regen.

Bighorn | December 30, 2019

Putting a SC into the nav on your car likely does not impact battery heating--the battery heat is on a simple thermostat. Pre-heating the cabin from the app may also activate the battery heater. I only see SC pre-conditioning on the Model 3. Cabin draws aren't going to heat the battery substantially. Ironically, the most effective way to heat the battery is through the accelerator and regeneration, which is not available. If you arrive at the ski chalet with the battery warm and plug into a 120V line, you'll help keep the battery warm and maintain some regen for the trip down. You'd think there'd be plenty of block heater outlets around for the country bumpkins.

Mike G | December 30, 2019

It works on my 2015 Model S. I see the consumption significantly increase in the Energy display and those dashed lines start to disappear much faster. Cabin heating is off by the way.

tes-s | December 30, 2019

Interesting. I don't see that with either of my cars.

Bighorn | December 30, 2019

Not sure what the differentiator would be with a 2013 S. I have an increased 6 kW draw simply by being cold, regardless if a SC is targeted. My 3 publishes a screen message that the Battery Preconditioning is in effect when I target an SC and not simply when it’s cold out. No message on the S. Two totally different mechanisms between the S and 3.

Mike G | December 30, 2019

Yes, that’s what I’m talking about. The SC in the destination starts preconditioning of the battery, which is supposed to fully warmed up before you arrive at the SC so that your charge rate is not diminished. And regen needs a warm battery so the yellow lines disappear. SC should not be far away though, I used the one within 7 km.

Bighorn | December 30, 2019

@Mike
A cold car like the OP’s would already have battery heat going. A SC destination won’t bump it beyond 6 kW. Also, one needs to be in fairly close proximity to a SC for it to work on the 3. Are you saying that you get a Preconditioning message, because I’ve yet to see one in the S?

A fact most don’t appreciate, including some doctors, is that regen can occur in the absence of any green on the power meter. If your cabin and battery heaters are drawing 12 kW together, one can have 12 kW of regen before it would show up in the green. One way to appreciate this hidden regen/deceleration is comparing no pedal to neutral.

barrykmd | December 30, 2019

This doctor knows no regen when he feels it. Felt just like the car was in neutral with no slowing even on the flat spots of the descent.

Hopefully Tesla will realize the rror in their overcompensation. Can imagine the current bitching by the Norwegians.

Mike G | December 30, 2019

All I noticed is that energy consumption spiked while driving almost twice the normal amount. Don’t remember if I had the actual message on display. And the temperature outside was not that cold so a little green was there when I started the trip. I didn’t try this trick more since the amount of available regen is usually enough for me to drive and I don’t want extra battery consumption.

markbraukman | December 30, 2019

The steep hill (many miles of it) that Barry is referring to has killed many people over the years due to failed brakes from overheating (see link below). If you can't gear down (as in ICE cars) and you are forced to use brakes all the way down, the odds of overheating them to the point of failure increases. In past trips down the hill I enjoyed the full control of the car as the regen kept my speed under control without using brakes at all. I'm hoping that the low/no regen will be replaced with something a bit safer.

https://www.9news.com/article/travel/after-fiery-crash-cdot-educating-tr...

Mike G | December 30, 2019

I just did a test just in case. Outside temp is +5 Celsius. Only about one third of the regen scale was available. I input the SC address which is about 10 km from me, into navigation. My driving was on the city streets with average speed about 40 km/h. After 15 minutes of driving I had a full regen, but average consumption was about 320 wh/km, which is much higher than I usually get under this temperature. So I assume that preconditioning was active the whole 15 minutes. I didn’t get any messages about preconditioning, but I guess Model S doesn’t show that message.

Bighorn | December 30, 2019

@Miike
On my car, the behavior would have appeared identical, but it's because the battery heater is active automatically at those temperatures. Draws 6 kW so raises Wh/m significantly and it abbreviates the duration of limited regen. I see no difference when I input the local supercharger. Things may have changed at some point between models, but it's not clear what.

Mike G | December 30, 2019

I thought the battery heater would come on only when the temperature is really low like below freezing and let the natural inefficiencies of motor and battery discharge to heat up the pack. I need to do the same test without inputting SC into navigation. Maybe tomorrow.

barrykmd | December 31, 2019

BH - I don't believe my battery heater came on automatically during my drive in question. The bulk of the down hill grade was over the first 20 miles. I had cabin heat, steering wheel heat and seat heat on. My car used 2 miles of range during that down hill, which included pressing the go pedal a few times on flat stretches. I don't recall the wh/mi reading.

I'll be making that drive again today, though it's supposed to be 10-15F warmer today, with a high in the mid 30s. I'll report back on my observations.

Mike G | December 31, 2019

I did the same trip today without inputting anything into navigation. Although the temperature was colder - around freezing point, the battery heater didn’t come on by itself and average consumption was 236 Wh/h. And regen change only a little from the one third it was at the beginning of the trip. So the preconditioning is definitely happening when navigating to Superchargers and helps a lot. I wish there was dedicated button “heat the battery”. Until then I will use that workaround.

barrykmd | December 31, 2019

My trip today was doable with temps 15F warmer. When I got in the car, I had a partial dashed orange line with 20-256 kW of regen available. My drive was 30 miles/40 minutes down hill and I didn't need to constantly use friction braking as I did yesterday. The regen level never increased from the start level, despite the energy meter being in the green zone most of the way and temps being close to 50F for the last 10 miles of my drive.

Tesla really needs to move that regen temp set point down a bit. The car just isn't safe with the unpredictable levels of regen since the last update.

barrykmd | December 31, 2019

20-25kW

NKYTA | December 31, 2019

256kW, would be a real software upgrade! ;-)

It’s been cold at night in the bay 37-40F, so I see regen limit of 40kW in the morning, but a couple few miles and the dashed line is gone. Probably 6 miles until I have the full 60kW at freeway speeds.

Got only as much as 38kW at 50% at the Target SC today, but I was paired, so nothing really to be gleaned.

Anyone have that service bulletin link handy, for the plastic covers for the pins in the charge port? I can google, so no worries. I went to 2B and tried 5 times with no luck, just blue and DC warning on the dash. Another spot opened up, so I grabbed that and first time was the charm.

p.c.mcavoy | January 1, 2020

My recent observations regarding active battery heating have been more in the upper 30s to mid 40s F range. Example over the past couple days I’ve logged about 30 miles driving locally, all short trip. Time car parked outside typically in the 1-2 hour range depending upon the stops. Rest of the time car parked in an unseated garage that’s running likely in the upper 40s F inside. My Wh/mi average over that period is in the upper 250 range (interior heat off, seat heater typically on 2 or 3). That’s lower than I’d typically expect if I were seeing 6 kW going into battery heating. I’ve also not observed any clear spikes in my energy graphs while driving that I would recall from past winters doing similar short trips. Overall that period my regen probably limited to around the 20-25 kW range based upon visual estimation from the energy graph, with no obvious change. Again, this behavior is what I’d have expected if I had range mode on, disabling active battery heating, but double checking settings a couple times tells me it’s off.

Given the inability to directly measure pack temperature, it’s difficult to fully assess, but clearly seems that the level of regen reduction is more for the same temp conditions, it takes longer to restore full regen functionality, and no indication that I can observe in my operation to tell me there’s any significant level of active heating of the HVB occurring. For completeness, mine is a June 2016 built MS90D, AP1 refresh front fascia, running 2019.40.2.1 software (latest which my car shows as available for my config).

artc1688 | January 1, 2020

what is the reason why Regen does not work in cold weather?

jimglas | January 1, 2020

have to wait until the battery is warm
dont want to be pumping juice into a cold battery

Pungoteague_Dave | January 3, 2020

Theres a bit of confusion here on how the Taycan regen (Porsche calls it recuperation) works - the default is to coast on accelerator liftoff, but it is apparently possible to change settings and dial in regen without applying the brake pedal:

"The Taycan won’t have levels of regen to toggle through, or the accompanying paddle-shifters or shift knobs. But it will give drivers a choice to toggle lift-off regen on, with actual brake-off regeneration following four scenarios:
- Lift-off recuperation off, coasting
- Lift-off recuperation on
- Auto-recuperation with camera
- Max recuperation, used by all driver-assistance features"

Some testers may not have understood or turned this feature on.

TeslaTap.com | January 3, 2020

@PD - Good catch. A number of testers stated the Taycan was not 1-pedal driving and must not have read the manual or known about the option. Not sure why you brought up the Taycan in this thread though.

jimglas | January 3, 2020

I suspect the salesperson didn’t read the manual or know about the option

NKYTA | January 3, 2020

Why bother to sell EVs?

akikiki | January 3, 2020

NKYTA, Maybe that's the problem, they don't. Or maybe that's is their plan - not sell EVs. Who knows?

murraypetera | January 7, 2020

Tesla should have the ability to dump the Regen into battery heaters to get the battery warm quicker instead of blocking the Regen. This would require new hw upgrade for the battery heater capabilities but this way in winter the Regen would not be totally lost. No Regen also dramatically changes the driving characteristics of the car (a bit dangerous In my mind) and bring the battery temperature up quicker so the batteries can accept charge.

Less lost energy.

Takes time for a CA car company to understand the needs of cold climates.

murraypetera | January 7, 2020

Tesla should have the ability to dump the Regen into battery heaters to get the battery warm quicker instead of blocking the Regen. This would require new hw upgrade for the battery heater capabilities but this way in winter the Regen would not be totally lost. No Regen also dramatically changes the driving characteristics of the car (a bit dangerous In my mind) and bring the battery temperature up quicker so the batteries can accept charge.

Less lost energy.

Takes time for a CA car company to understand the needs of cold climates.

inconel | January 8, 2020

I think the heater will only be able to use a very small fraction of the energy produced by regen. In a near future maybe Maxwell super capacitors can be used to temporarily absorb that energy.

inconel | January 8, 2020

I think the heater will only be able to use a very small fraction of the energy produced by regen. In a near future maybe Maxwell super capacitors can be used to temporarily absorb that energy.

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