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2021 Model 3 Heater blowing cold air

Wow! Where are you?

:) I'm in the Kittilä and Kolari region in Finland. There'd probably be a Tesla Service Center closer by in Sweden or Norway, but we're not supposed to travel there due to the COVID-19 situation.

Update:
I've managed to get the heating working, but am still trying to figure out how I exactly did it. As for the background: Today has been between -24'C...-26'C degrees outside since the morning, so I don't think the temperature change itself was the reason as I've experienced the problem throughout the day and I had it also working yesterday in a much harsher temp.

After all the debugging (and still being unable to turn on heating from the mobile app itself), what I did was simply opened the car with the key card, sat in and fiddled with the aircon settings, turning them from Auto to Manual and increased/decreased fan speed, had backseat fan setting on, etc. basically toyed around with it. I also reversed the car a car's length.

What happened first was that I could see the car consuming above 3kW of battery power (SMT) with the heater on "HI" and "window heating icon" on - it now and then pushed a little bit of warmth into the cabin, turned it back to Auto. But with this method I only got the cabin to heat up to ca. +10'C according to the mobile app. Obviously this was a delight, but not exactly "family friendly" yet.

Next, I removed my phone of being a key for the Tesla from the Locks menu and hopped out of car, locked it with the keycard. Next went inside my cabin and used the Tesla Mobile App to "Turn on climate" and voila, it worked. Set at "HI" and it almost instantly lighted up the red "window heating" and "battery heating" icons in the Climate -view. Cabin warmed to +25'C in less than 10 minutes.

Further testing: I turned it off, cabin temp dropped to +9'C in some minutes (well, it's cold outside, no wonder). Turned it back on from the mobile app successfully and have now had it heating to +24'C, which the car reached. The car seems to turn off and back on the "battery heating" (icon) every now and then, supposedly turning back on when the cabin heat starts to dwindle or reduce too much.

Will have to see what happens after heating the cabin and going for a drive, if the car can upkeep comfortable inside temperatures/warmth.

A software bug? Can't tell yet, but it smells a bit like one, maybe combined with a sensor fault?
 
Update:
I haven't had the issue of not being able to adjust climate from the mobile application replicate as of since. Not sure what "reset" the situation from the mobile application point of view, maybe it was a hard reset or maybe it was the removing phone from being a key; but I no longer have seen the "Failed to turn on climate" in there, nor a "Climate keeper unavailable due to system fault" in the car.

This isn't a full recovery though, I did the drive to Tesla Service Center (ca. 1,000 kilometers / 620 miles away) and found out the following during the drive - I had a lot of time to play with this :)

1. Car heating works OK when you set climate from the mobile app AND the red "battery icon" appears alongside the red windshield icon. This is a good solution for stationary warm-up before drive.

2. Car heating works OK when it detects that the supercharger is ca. 40 kilometers away (or less) as it starts the "Preconditioning battery" -cycle while driving.

3. Car heating works OK while you're connected to a SC or another charger (e.g. we have so called Hyperchargers around here from other brands).

4. Car heating doesn't work during the drive (unless it's the case of I described at #2 above). At times I could get it to push a little bit of warm air from the air vents; I did a cycle auto to manual to auto of setting heat and also fiddled heat options through the mobile application in the middle to have this happen. End result seemed to be that with +27.5'C (one down from 'HI'), you could get heat either to the back or also to both, back and front. But this wasn't enough to really warm up the cabin.

Seat heaters worked marvelously during the whole time.

Tesla Service Center's pre-assessment before maintenance was that they were prepared to do the following, part numbers included:

Correction: Sensor - Subcool - Pressure and Temperature - High Pressure (Remove & Replace)

Parts Replaced or Added Part QTY.
PT SENSOR, LOW PRESSURE(1510048-00-B) 1 piece
PT SENSOR, HIGH PRESSURE(1510047-00-B) 2 pieces


Hope this gives some insight to people who may experience the same issue :)
 

LeffeP

Member
Dec 23, 2015
21
9
Sweden
Same components was changed on my car after fully loosing all heat. Haven't had problem other than a total loss of heat. Picked it up yesterday so haven't tested the car that much, but today in zero degrees C heat works perfect again. Heating through the app also. Seems like these components get swapped on all car with heating problems so dont accept Tesla saying its not a problem, took me a lot of discussion to even get them to admit it really is...
 

goldturtle

New Member
Feb 10, 2021
1
0
Missouri
I have a M3 Dual Motor LR 2021 with heat pump (1300 miles). Heater works fine at HI temp until I raise the fan speed past 6. Then it starts blowing cold air. I think the car can't keep up with the fan speed and heat generation at that setting. Seems like a limitation of the car. Hopefully I won't have broken sensors/parts in the future on top of that. Will schedule an appointment to see if there's something they can do.
 
yes you are right. i traded my 2020 for a new one and now i have problems with the heatpump... it is so annoying... today i thought the compressor would explode. it was so loud and vibrating before it shuts off... like an emergency shut-down...
I'm sorry you're going through all of these issues.

I'm hoping Volvo comes out with some competitive EV options. I've had a bunch of them over the years, and lord knows they should be well engineered for the Northern European climate.
 
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stopcrazypp

Well-Known Member
Dec 8, 2007
11,317
6,472
I'm sorry you're going through all of these issues.

I'm hoping Volvo comes out with some competitive EV options. I've had a bunch of them over the years, and lord knows they should be well engineered for the Northern European climate.
Polestar is pretty much the Volvo EV. Maybe they can do the heating better, but they certainly aren't immune to a new model having serious issues (see recall below for inverter).
All Polestar 2s Recalled for Problem That Can Shut Down the EV

Basically if you want a reliable EV don't buy a model that haven't been out for a year or two with the same components (the heat pump is new for Model 3).
 

Mattopotamus

Member
Jun 7, 2020
379
307
Atlanta
Polestar is pretty much the Volvo EV. Maybe they can do the heating better, but they certainly aren't immune to a new model having serious issues (see recall below for inverter).
All Polestar 2s Recalled for Problem That Can Shut Down the EV

Basically if you want a reliable EV don't buy a model that haven't been out for a year or two with the same components (the heat pump is new for Model 3).

that goes for any car really. Refreshes usually have issues, ICE or EV.
 
Oct 28, 2019
560
652
Texas
I can't believe they didn't add some auxiliary heating system to the heat-pump. if it's between a heat-pump and a PTC heater ... i'll pick the PTC heater any day. it *will* get the car warm. Heat-pumps simply do not work well under 25F and stop working altogether when you get into the low 20s or lower. North Texas will hit 5F as a low Monday night so maybe it's a good test for Model 3 heatpump owners...
 

GZDongles

Member
Feb 23, 2020
225
289
Michigan
I can't believe they didn't add some auxiliary heating system to the heat-pump. if it's between a heat-pump and a PTC heater ... i'll pick the PTC heater any day. it *will* get the car warm. Heat-pumps simply do not work well under 25F and stop working altogether when you get into the low 20s or lower. North Texas will hit 5F as a low Monday night so maybe it's a good test for Model 3 heatpump owners...


In the videos that have been posted here and elsewhere it looks like there is a supplemental heating mode. They operate the compressor in an inefficient mode that generates heat directly. This is much like how the motors are used (quote successfully) in an inefficient mode to heat up the battery.
 
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Oct 28, 2019
560
652
Texas
In the videos that have been posted here and elsewhere it looks like there is a supplemental heating mode. They operate the compressor in an inefficient mode that generates heat directly. This is much like how the motors are used (quote successfully) in an inefficient mode to heat up the battery.

if the car doesn't get warm after 15 minutes (like the OP states) ... the inefficient mode isn't good enough.
 
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GZDongles

Member
Feb 23, 2020
225
289
Michigan
if the car doesn't get warm after 15 minutes (like the OP states) ... the inefficient mode isn't good enough.
There have been a ton of sensor problems with the 2021 Model 3 that result in cold air blowing out of the vents. I believe @Cybr.Myk in this thread had similar issues and had a sensor replacement. It's possible that there are additional performance limitation with the heat pump, but I think all of the issues that people have found so far have turned out to be software bugs or a sensor failure.

I know it's Tesla and their engineering is a bit of a black hole, but I find it hard to believe that total heat output wasn't a top level design requirement for the HVAC system.
 
There have been a ton of sensor problems with the 2021 Model 3 that result in cold air blowing out of the vents. I believe @Cybr.Myk in this thread had similar issues and had a sensor replacement. It's possible that there are additional performance limitation with the heat pump, but I think all of the issues that people have found so far have turned out to be software bugs or a sensor failure.

I know it's Tesla and their engineering is a bit of a black hole, but I find it hard to believe that total heat output wasn't a top level design requirement for the HVAC system.
Maybe Elon should have rung up his friends at Nissan. They've outfitted the Leaf with heat pumps for the last few years. My family member who owns a Leaf doesn't live near the Arctic Circle, but they've never had an issue.

I was told that a few of the engineers working on the heat pump were re-assigned to the fart and video-game team - so maybe there was a brain drain effect.
 

stopcrazypp

Well-Known Member
Dec 8, 2007
11,317
6,472
if the car doesn't get warm after 15 minutes (like the OP states) ... the inefficient mode isn't good enough.
It's defective sensors, not that necessarily that the mode isn't good enough. As linked in the EPA document in the other thread, Tesla claims the inefficient mode is as good as a PTC heater if not better.
Heat Pump Limit?
 
It's defective sensors, not that necessarily that the mode isn't good enough. As linked in the EPA document in the other thread, Tesla claims the inefficient mode is as good as a PTC heater if not better.
Heat Pump Limit?
When I see the phrase "Tesla claims" in any given sentence - this means Tesla is lying to us.

Not the first time - and certainly not the last.
 

stopcrazypp

Well-Known Member
Dec 8, 2007
11,317
6,472
Maybe Elon should have rung up his friends at Nissan. They've outfitted the Leaf with heat pumps for the last few years. My family member who owns a Leaf doesn't live near the Arctic Circle, but they've never had an issue.

I was told that a few of the engineers working on the heat pump were re-assigned to the fart and video-game team - so maybe there was a brain drain effect.
Jokes aside, what Tesla designed is a lot more complex than the Leaf's and accomplishes a lot more.

The Leaf doesn't have a cooling system at all for the battery (why their batteries degrade so rapidly and also dragged down the reputation of EVs overall). From what I can find, the Leaf system uses a separate radiator and water jacket system to cool the motor, inverter, high voltage components. It has no ability to scavenge heat from those components like the Tesla system can.

The Tesla system also removes the PTC heater, which saves not only cost, but also space (so it still has a sizeable frunk despite having to fit a front motor also, like the Leaf).
 
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stopcrazypp

Well-Known Member
Dec 8, 2007
11,317
6,472
When I see the phrase "Tesla claims" in any given sentence - this means Tesla is lying to us.

Not the first time - and certainly not the last.
But absent of defective sensors, there are plenty of people claiming the heat pump system is able to keep them toasty warm even in the cold temperatures described. I have yet to see evidence that the system is unable to keep up.
 
Last edited:
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