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Charging from the iPhone app when it's very cold ... a problem?

derowland

Member
May 4, 2014
103
14
Okoboji
I'm finding something interesting when trying to START CHARGING from the iPhone App. Here is the scenario: The car is 30 RM below the DAILY LIMIT and I want to charge it to heat the battery. It's real cold. 10 degrees. So, the battery is real cold too. When I press the START CHARGING button on the app, the wheels spin and it tries, and then the screen re-appears with the START CHARGING button displayed again. At that point, the STOP CHARGING button should be appearing if the car is charging. So, it isn't charging. If I go out to the car and manually start the charging, once the battery gets up to temp and it starts charging, I can STOP it from the phone, and then START it from the phone. SO, my takeaway is that the app won't start charging the battery because it's too cold ... kind of defeats the purpose of having a remote charge option on the phone, when it's cold. The car is in my garage, with good Internet connectivity. It's plugged into a HPWC and I can pre-heat the cabin with the app. I've called Tesla and am waiting for their reply Your thoughts?
 

islandbayy

Active Member
Feb 25, 2013
2,671
1,065
Greendale, Wisconsin
I'm finding something interesting when trying to START CHARGING from the iPhone App. Here is the scenario: The car is 30 RM below the DAILY LIMIT and I want to charge it to heat the battery. It's real cold. 10 degrees. So, the battery is real cold too. When I press the START CHARGING button on the app, the wheels spin and it tries, and then the screen re-appears with the START CHARGING button displayed again. At that point, the STOP CHARGING button should be appearing if the car is charging. So, it isn't charging. If I go out to the car and manually start the charging, once the battery gets up to temp and it starts charging, I can STOP it from the phone, and then START it from the phone. SO, my takeaway is that the app won't start charging the battery because it's too cold ... kind of defeats the purpose of having a remote charge option on the phone, when it's cold. The car is in my garage, with good Internet connectivity. It's plugged into a HPWC and I can pre-heat the cabin with the app. I've called Tesla and am waiting for their reply Your thoughts?

Here is what is happening. The reason that the bar looks to be lower then the daily limit, is because of the cold. The batteries cannot provide as much power when they are cold, especially cold soaked.
Now, hypothetically, for purpose of explanation, say out of nowhere your neighbors Hummer bursts into flames, and the million gallons of gasoline that is burning was enough to raise the ambient temperature to say, 80 degrees, and your pack warmed up, with no charging what so ever. You would then notice your charging bar (and range) increase to near what you had it originally charged to.

Due to the pack warming, it regains the ability to provide that power, and as such, goes back up. In the cold, the power is still in the battery, just "in-accessible". And as such, the car cannot dump more power into the pack. In this case, you would need to raise the slider slightly, maybe a few %, to give it enough headroom to start the cycle.
You may also notice, depending on the temperatures and pack temp, that charging may be extremely slow, or none at all, even though it says charging. in this case, the pack would be so cold (below 32*F or below 0*C) it would be unable to charge. In this case, the pack heater will be running. Via the app, pack heater consumption will not show. It will show on the charging screen though.
Once the pack is above the said temps, charging will start, first at slow pace then faster.

Lithium Ion batteries cannot be charged at or below freezing. Doing so will result in PERMANENT capacity loss. The Anode in the battery get electroplated. This is also why regen is disabled or severely reduced on a cold pack.
 

rlang59

Member
Feb 27, 2013
945
30
US
Here is what is happening. The reason that the bar looks to be lower then the daily limit, is because of the cold. The batteries cannot provide as much power when they are cold, especially cold soaked.

According to the 5.9 release notes the battery bar is supposed to show blue in the area that is limited due to the cold unlike the older firmwares that would just not show the %diminished. Of course this may not actually work and it hasn't been cold enough since I got 5.9 see if it does or not.

From Release 5.9 Release notes:
Untitled.png
 

islandbayy

Active Member
Feb 25, 2013
2,671
1,065
Greendale, Wisconsin
According to the 5.9 release notes the battery bar is supposed to show blue in the area that is limited due to the cold unlike the older firmwares that would just not show the %diminished. Of course this may not actually work and it hasn't been cold enough since I got 5.9 see if it does or not.

From Release 5.9 Release notes:
View attachment 63971
Yes, it is supposed to.... I have never actually whit eased or heard of anyone who has seen it. I would need to say either A, it doesn't work, or B, they removed it as some sort of big or code problem popped up. 0 degrees last night, charging stopped at 180 at 90% on my car. battery is cold soaked, my available range is only 165 miles as of right now. No special colored bar.
 

rlang59

Member
Feb 27, 2013
945
30
US
Yes, it is supposed to.... I have never actually whit eased or heard of anyone who has seen it. I would need to say either A, it doesn't work, or B, they removed it as some sort of big or code problem popped up. 0 degrees last night, charging stopped at 180 at 90% on my car. battery is cold soaked, my available range is only 165 miles as of right now. No special colored bar.

Like I said, it very well may not work but it hasn't really gotten cold enough here for me to verify it one way or another. Of course it wouldn't surprise me that Tesla has shown a feature that was never tested properly.
 

Alysashley79

Active Member
Oct 4, 2013
1,230
536
Seattle(ish) WA
Why don't you just preheat the cabin? That will also effectively warm your battery. Or...like others have said set it to range charge and it'll do the same. Just don't let it range charge

Or or you can always utilize the scheduled charge and then hop into a nice hot battery in the morning.

Main regards to the 5.9 release I'm thinking they got rid of that because it was 32degreesF here a couple days ago and I drained my battery down to 6 rated miles and never saw the snowflake or blue bar. Just the green three red.
 

derowland

Member
May 4, 2014
103
14
Okoboji
I see on the 5.9 notes that warming the cabin will also heat the battery. I didn't think that was the case. If it is the case, then that should allow it to start charging after the cabin warming. Still not sure the function and the interface to the iPhone are really working as intended. 4 degrees this morning. I do see that moving the slider to Range Charge will get the car to start charging. It does seem to need a few percentage points more than 1-2% to get it going. Thanks for everyone's input. All very good stuff.
 

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