Cold Weather Affect on Tesla

Model S Cabin Cold Winter Snow

Recently, we had a winter blast coming through the North East. The temperatures stayed around 5 degrees Fahrenheit which is -15 Celsius. These freezing temperatures lasted almost the whole week. I wanted to discuss how cold weather affects Tesla Model S.

Freezing Temperatures Decrease Tesla Range

Generally, batteries do not like very low temperatures or very high temperatures. Tesla batteries are no different. They need to be kept under optimal temperature. In the manual, the temperature limits are set from -22 F (-30 C) to 140 F (60 C). So, Tesla has developed a system to keep the batteries warm or cool. I have observed that range starts to fall when temperatures start to fall below around 60 degrees Fahrenheit. The range is really affected when temperatures outside are at and below 32 degrees Fahrenheit or 0 C.

When battery is too cold, the yellow lines are displayed in the energy app which means that the regenerative braking is limited. However, the range is also affected because the energy consumption is increased.

Model S Battery Normal Battery

When battery is not too cold, the normal energy consumption when driving is usually between 250 to 300 Wh / mi.

Model S Battery Cold Weather Affects Range by Increasing Energy Consumption

Cold and freezing temperatures increase energy consumption above 350 Wh / mi even in the normal driving conditions. I believe this occurs due to battery system to constantly trying to warm the batteries to the optimal temperature which increases the regenerative braking. As a result, cold weather and temperatures reduce range by increasing energy consumption to keep the batteries warm.

Not only cold temperatures reduce the range. Snow, rain, and mud also reduce range by having the car consume more energy.

In the cold weather, I normally observe the energy consumption increase from normal 250 Wh/mi 350 or 400 Wh/mi. This is 40% to 60% increase. If the estimated range at 300 Wh/mi is 170 miles, the 40% would make 68 miles. This means that the range should drop from 170 to 102 miles. In reality, I only see the drop of about 29%, from 170 to 120 miles.


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