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Battery warranty and temperature below -30C (-22F)

Matias

Active Member
Apr 2, 2014
3,861
5,439
Finland
I already wrote about this in an other thread, but I guess it is better to consider this question in separete thread

I noticed, that Tesla´s North American warranty (I could not find European
warranty online) states ;


“In addition, damage resulting from the following activities is not covered under this Battery Limited
Warranty:
• Exposing the vehicle to ambient temperatures above 140°F
(60°C) or below -22°F (-30°C) for
more than 24 hours at a time”

(Bolding by me.)

Source
http://www.teslamotors.com/sites/default/files/blog_attachments/model_s_quick_guide_-_na_rev_d_for_web.pdf
page 34


I’m somewhat disturbed by this. We in Finland (as also Norway, Sweden and Canada, at least) sometimes have
temperature below –30 C.

I mailed to Tesla concerning this and will post their reply here .
 
We have a couple weeks a year of -30 or below, and is not just at night. 99% of the time I can say the vehicle would be indoors (unheated garage, but still at least 10 degrees warmer) and plugged in at night so not over 24 hours outdoors. However that is much different than saying it will never be outdoors below -30c unplugged for over 24 hours.
 
At least the power outage thing is one I don't really have much to worry about. Having lived in Calgary for 35 years, I've only once had a power outage longer than about an hour, and that was scheduled a month in advance by the power company. I know for the eastern folks that's hard to imagine, but the electric grid out here really is that reliable.
 

Matias

Active Member
Apr 2, 2014
3,861
5,439
Finland
Warranty disclaimer doesn't say anything about whether the car is plugged or not.

But it does say "for more than 24 hours at a time". I think I will take the car to shopping mall carage everyday for at least half an hour in sub -30 weather. That would mean is not at that temperature 24 hours at a time.
 

Canuck

Well-Known Member
Nov 30, 2013
6,125
5,781
South Surrey, BC
At least the power outage thing is one I don't really have much to worry about. Having lived in Calgary for 35 years, I've only once had a power outage longer than about an hour, and that was scheduled a month in advance by the power company. I know for the eastern folks that's hard to imagine, but the electric grid out here really is that reliable.

That's also hard to imagine for us western folks.
 

brianman

Burrito Founder
Nov 10, 2011
17,618
3,224
@Matias - I've mentioned this in other threads... PLEASE bring this issue to the attention of Tesla directly (via email so you can have an extended, formal conversation) so that it officially addressed and Tesla's attention is raised on the important for folks, um, "far from California weather". Thanks.
 

Matias

Active Member
Apr 2, 2014
3,861
5,439
Finland
I mailed Stockholm store to the Tesla representative who I met in test drive event. He mailed that he had to consult Denmark office. Now I got reply from him

" I received answer that the warranty does not apply only when the car is exposed to more than -30 degrees Celsius for more than 24 hours at the time without being plugged in to a functional power outlet.
If the car is plugged in the warranty will still be enabled."

I also mailed Tesla Ownership, but have not got yet any answer.
 
The reason for being plugged in is to maintain power. The pack heater will kick in regardless of parked or not once the pack reaches a Tesla Pre-Determined tempetature. The pack heater will drain power from the pack to keep it warm. When not plugged in, the pack will eventually die. The idea, is being plugged in, even to a low voltage low amperage source, it will still have enough (though barely) power to keep the pack at operating temps without overly draining the battery. Since most will have it plugged into a higher power source, no problem at all using grid power to heat the pack.
The problem becomes, once the pack is too low, no more heating, and no driving to recharge.
 

stopcrazypp

Well-Known Member
Dec 8, 2007
13,108
9,432
The technical reason for this is because -30C is the freezing point of most lithium-ion electrolyte and 24 hours is enough time for the battery to cold soak. The battery can be damaged from frozen electrolyte. Presumably when you have it plugged in, the heater can keep the battery from freezing. The most Tesla can do warranty-wise (without changing the chemistry) is extend the amount of time they allow unplugged (given a more accurate cold soak time-frame), but I don't think Tesla will change the temperature nor remove it completely.

The Leaf has a similar provision, but it's for -25C and 7 days. However, the external surface area and shape of the two packs are different, so heat exchange will also be different (so don't expect 7 days for the Model S).
 

Matias

Active Member
Apr 2, 2014
3,861
5,439
Finland
The technical reason for this is because -30C is the freezing point of most lithium-ion electrolyte and 24 hours is enough time for the battery to cold soak. The battery can be damaged from frozen electrolyte.
Li-ion battery doesn't contain water, afaik. Most liquids won't expand when freezing. Water is exception. So freezing is not necessarily that bad.

Battery pack coolant most likely contains water and some antifreeze. If it freezes, it can rupture coolant channels. However, it's freezing point is most likely clearly lower than -30 C.
 
Last edited:

stopcrazypp

Well-Known Member
Dec 8, 2007
13,108
9,432
Li-ion battery doesn't contain water, afaik. Most liquids won't expand when freezing. Water is exception. So freezing is not necessarily that bad.
The lithium battery clearly doesn't contain water (otherwise it would freeze at 0C). However, it does contain liquid electrolyte that freezes at -30C:
The electrolytes used in commercial lithium-ion batteries freeze at approximately –30C and thus their use is limited at lower temperatures.
http://www.arl.army.mil/arlreports/1999/ARL-TR-1879.pdf

Damage to other components in the cell can occur from the freeze-thaw cycle of the electrolyte.

You seem to be thinking of solid-state batteries which have no liquids, however, they are still in experimental state (all the lithium-ion batteries in EVs today have liquid electrolyte).

Battery pack coolant most likely contains water and some antifreeze. If it freezes, it can rupture coolant channels. However, it's freezing point is most likely clearly lower than -30 C.
The Leaf battery pack contains zero coolant, yet it has a similar lower temperature limit. So it's pretty apparent that it has nothing to do with the pack coolant.
 

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