Forums

Model 3 Extreme Cold

Model 3 Extreme Cold

I reserved a Model 3, but have some concerns about the climate in my area. I live in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories Canada. Some days the temperature can go down to -40 or even -50 on rare occasions. Will this void my warranty for the vehicle or cause any damage to the battery? There are outlets all over the city since ICE cars need to be plugged in during the winter, so the main issue is whether I can actually own a Tesla in my city. If anyone could provide an official response to this that would be excellent. I spoke with someone on the phone at Tesla and he said the warranty is not voided by cold weather because "we sell Tesla's in Norway". So far these are $100,000 vehicles whose owners likely have a garage to store them in. Will it survive outside so long as it's plugged in?

Thanks,
Justin

mystercoco | 18. april 2016

Lithium batteries hate extreme temperatures. It will either discharge the battery or damage it (or both).
I guess that it will be the same rule as for the model S:

quoted from user manual:
"Temperature limits

Do not expose Model S to ambient temperatures above 140F (60C) or below -22F (-30C) for more than 24 hours at a time."

mystercoco | 18. april 2016

Lithium batteries hate extreme temperatures. It will either discharge the battery or damage it (or both).
I guess that it will be the same rule as for the model S:

quoted from user manual:
"Temperature limits

Do not expose Model S to ambient temperatures above 140F (60C) or below -22F (-30C) for more than 24 hours at a time."

yongliangzhu68 | 18. april 2016

@ justinmelville1: Keep in mine too that the electrical outlets you see are probably just standard 110V/10 to 15amp. This will only get you about 4 or 5MPH charger (I think). Someone correct me if wrong. I live in ATL and have never seen an engine warmer.

george210 | 18. april 2016

Yes always keep it plugged in and it will take care of the batteries

Alternator | 18. april 2016

@wj Yes you are correct about the speed of the charging, which is ok with me since the city isn't very large. My main concern was regarding the integrity of the battery in the weather. As @mystercoco states, Tesla specifically mentions the temperature limits for their vehicles. Does this mean I can't own a Tesla? I get that the market for this climate probably isn't that big but it is something to consider if your potential buyers can't own your cars. This is a limitation of the technology but a part of me wants to see EVs being capable of supplanting ICE everywhere, and not just in ideal climate.

Bighorn | 18. april 2016

You can get 3-4 MPH of charge in temperate areas on a 120. In those temps, you may lose mileage as that energy is directed to the battery heater. There's a Tesla blog about an owner of something like 7 Teslas north of the Arctic Circle.

jordanrichard | 18. april 2016

If I may. You said that you spoke with Tesla directly, but you want an official answer from us.........

JeffreyR | 18. april 2016

See TMC for:

Cold Weather Driving
Discussion in 'Blog Archive' started by Doug_G, Jan 15, 2015.

Short version:

- Pre-condition battery while plugged in
- Pre-condition inside car while plugged in
- Go slower

https://teslamotorsclub.com/tmc/threads/cold-weather-driving.64591/

Alternator | 19. april 2016

@jordanrichard I waited 47 minutes to talk to someone on the phone and he didn't have any specifics. I was a bit put off by the apparent product knowledge of the person on the phone, and their unwillingness to get a definitive answer. Rather than spend another hour calling back and hoping to get someone who is more informed I figured I'd take my question here.

@JeffreyR Thanks for that link. I read through it and it is certainly helpful, but when I read the line "I encountered the worst-case scenario for Model S range last winter by going Christmas shopping in extreme cold (below -20C)" I'll admit I was a bit let down. The weather conditions where I am are beyond what most people consider "extreme cold". Yellowknife is known as the coldest city in Canada (there are colder communities/hamlets further north). -20 is a warm day between November and February, and that's not being dramatic.

Maybe Tesla wants to give me a Model 3 to test in this climate lol. Honestly though I want to go through with the order, but don't see how I can without an official endorsement from Tesla that my car will survive and warranty will not be voided.

Alternator | 19. april 2016

"The mean temperature is -5.2 degrees Celsius (22.6 degrees Fahrenheit)"

Source: http://www.yellowknife.climatemps.com/

Tstolz | 19. april 2016

I live in Alberta ... my opinion is that a heated garage is necessary for any vehicle gas or electric at those temps! I'm sure most people use battery heaters as well as block or oil pan heaters up there.

Anyway ... I see you only got down to about -30 this winter ... though pretty regularly. In my experience if you plug in when the battery is warm, it will charge at 5 km/HR even at those temps and the battery will stay reasonably warm ... albeit you will lose some regen until you drive about 20 minutes.

Bottom line ... If your plug is reliable, it will work ... although personally, I'd be checking my app every 12 hrs to make sure the circuit was still working! I'm a little OCD though :)

Tstolz | 19. april 2016

That charge rate is for 110 volts at 15 amps btw

The flying hippie | 19. april 2016

Pretty sure the Model S warranty is still valid if the car is outside below -30c as long as it gets plugged in within 24 hours. Just can't leave it out unplugged more than 24 hours unplugged below -30. I've driven it after being unplugged outside a few days at -33 where daytime highs were -25. It wasn't a problem except that power was limited and there was no regen. still had plenty of power to get to normal highway speeds. After two Montreal winters I have lost 5 km of range or slightly over 1%. I wouldn't worry about it. Extreme heat is worse than extreme cold for the batteries.

jmilescummings | 19. april 2016

I live in Utah and I think that the cold temperatures will be fine.

Source: http://www.teslalending.com/

JeffreyR | 19. april 2016

@justinmelville1 You are most welcome. Doug_G is a very nice guy. I met him at Tesla Connect last year. As everyone notes, if you keep your car plugged in, then the battery pack will condition itself. You can also time when the charging takes place which will help make sure you get full re-gen when you start driving. Doug_G goes over this a bit.

I also so a video (have had trouble finding it since) of a guy in northern Midwest (cold by NorCal standards, but not so bad by yours) that pre-heated his car everyday to 80 degrees F, and never had to touch an ice scraper again. I'm more worried about AC cooling!

Hi_Tech | 20. april 2016

@Justin - I've taken my Model S for longer trips and kept my car plugged in on 120v/15amp outlets outdoors in middle of New England (US) winters. The 4-5mph charge rate is in good weather. During the cold, most of the energy going to the car will be used for maintaining the battery temp and cabin at above freezing. So expect maybe 1 mile of charge per hour. Not something to plan for charging up the car, but rather for maintaining it only.

That said, if you have a decent charger at home (even if outside), then you should be able to follow the suggestions by folks from the TMC thread and make it work. Keep in mind that the range will drop slightly due to the extreme temps... though this will be slightly mitigated by conditioning your battery and cabin temps while plugged in.

Sparky | 20. april 2016

Judging by the comments here, Justin, you'll have no trouble at all keeping the car performing, even in extremely cold conditions provided you plug it in when you're parked for a while. And since block heater outlets are everywhere in Yellowknife a trickle charge at 110V is almost always available. And unlike the guys running their trucks in the parking lot of the bar while they're inside you won't even be losing range while you keep the battery warm.