Tesla’s popularity has grown steadily over the years and it’s one of the most notable electric vehicles on the market. However, a good number of people who live in cold climates have had some complaints about its efficiency. This brings us to the question – does cold weather affect a Tesla?
Definitely, yes. Cold weather affects Tesla batteries and other EV batteries as well. According to AAA, electric car batteries lose around 40% of their range in extremely cold environments. Therefore, if you’re going to drive in cold weather, expect your vehicle’s range to reduce drastically.
Temperature affects battery range
Apart from cold temperatures, extremely hot temperatures can also affect the range of your batteries. However, the impact of hot weather on your battery’s range is not as powerful as cold weather.
AAA found out that driving an EV at 20 degrees F will lead to a range loss of 12% when the cabin heater is not applied. But when you turn on a cabin heater, the range drops quickly from 12% to 41%.
While at 95 degrees F, the range dropped by 4% when A/C is not used, but it dropped further to 17% when the A/C is used. Furthermore, the study stated that Tesla’s range when fully charged delivered 239 miles, but it reduced to 91 miles at 20 degrees F.
Tesla, on the other hand, claims that its range only reduces by just 1% in cold weather, which many consumers in cold-weather areas have disputed. All-in-all, it’s evident that Tesla’s range reduces in cold weather as the battery’s efficiency is affected.
How to maximize your Tesla EV range in extreme temperatures
The good news is that Tesla understands the struggle of EV cars in cold weather and that’s why they offer several tips to maximize your car in extreme weather. Some of their cold-weather tips include:
- Have a scheduled departure – Tesla advises drivers in cold areas to have a scheduled departure as it helps to conserve energy.
- Precondition your car – This helps to pre-heat your vehicle when you activate the preconditioning or defrost feature in the Tesla app.
- Conserve energy on the road – Understandably, the cabin will be cold in cold weather, but you should try your best to reduce energy loss by limiting energy use. You can do this by avoiding frequent and rapid acceleration or using seat heaters instead of heating the entire cabin.
- Use winter tires and accessories – To avoid stress on your battery power and loss, make sure to use winter tires in the winter, as they offer more traction and grip. Also, they will make controlling your car easy and safe.
Which Tesla Model is the best for cold weather?
Tesla Model Y
Not all Tesla models will perform outstandingly in cold weather. So, if you live in a region where it’s cold most of the year, you will be better off with the Tesla Model Y. This is an electric crossover with a starting price of about $53,000.
Tesla Model Y uses the interior, chassis, and powertrain from the smaller Tesla Model 3. However, it’s quite spacious with an additional cargo area. It also has additional third-row seats and SUV styling, which makes it stand out from Model 3.
What’s more, power from the Model Y’s dual onboard electric motors is enormous, enabling it to accelerate from 0 to 60 in just 3.5 seconds. Buyers have the choice of choosing different drivetrains as the base standard range model has RWD, while the long-range and performance models feature an AWD system.
All of these fancy features can be found in most Tesla models. But what makes the Tesla Model Y perfect for cold weather is the addition of a heat pump. This pump is a game-changer when it comes to winter weather.
Since most of the Tesla models can lose close to 40% of their range during winter, the heat pump helps solve this issue. Most Tesla use resistive heating, which creates one unit of heat from every unit of energy kept in the battery.
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With this concept, the heat pump will work to maximize efficiency as it removes the heat from the outside and pumps it into your vehicle. In short, your car won’t generate heat that will reduce the range of the battery, but instead move heat around.
Note that the heat pump can produce 2 to 3 kW of heat for every 1 kW energy used to pump it. So, Tesla Model Y won’t drain as much heat as other Tesla models without this feature.
What affects Tesla’s battery efficiency in cold weather?
Like gas-powered vehicles, several factors affect Tesla’s range. These include the terrain, driver behavior, passenger load, outdoor temperature, and speed. So, if you intend to drive in cold weather, you should consider all these factors before calculating your battery’s range.
If you intend to drive your car in cold weather, having a Tesla Model with a battery pack that has more power is crucial. The longer the range, the better. For instance, having a Tesla Model S with a range of 412 miles is better than having a Tesla Model 3 with a range of 236 miles.
What’s the best temperature for a Tesla battery get?
Try to keep your Tesla battery above 40 degrees F. If they get below this temperature or above 115 degrees F, then the batteries are not going to perform optimally. Those most effective temperature range is between 60 to 80 degrees F.
Can you drive a Tesla in rain?
Yes, you can. You can drive any Tesla model in rain or even snow. Actually, Tesla performs exceptionally well in rain, compared to most ICE cars. In fact, Tesla vehicles are more weather resistant than most vehicles on the market. Nonetheless, expect the range to drop slightly in adverse weather situations.
Keep your engine from getting too cold
In the end, cold weather affects Tesla’s battery. Tesla batteries perform at their best between 60 to 80 degrees F. So, if the temperatures fall below 40 degrees F, the battery becomes less efficient and starts to lose range. The colder the temperature, the worse the range. However, you can apply several tips to try and limit battery energy loss while driving in cold weather.