TMC is an independent, primarily volunteer organization that relies on ad revenue to cover its operating costs. Please consider whitelisting TMC on your ad blocker or making a Paypal contribution here: paypal.me/SupportTMC

Extreme cold weather in Canada's North

Discussion in 'Model S: Battery & Charging' started by Realistic EV Fan, Aug 26, 2014.

  1. Realistic EV Fan

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2014
    Messages:
    13
    Location:
    Edmonton
    Does anybody have experience with the Tesla Model S in very cold weather? When I say cold, I am talking about anywhere between -35°C to -43°C. In Fahrenheit that is -32°F to -45°F. I'm wondering about what kind of range I can expect in this bad weather, especially if charging the battery for daily commute to about 80% of the most and probably avoiding going down to less than 20%. I heard charging above 80% and below 20% is not good for the durability of the battery.
     
  2. jerry33

    jerry33 S85 - VIN:P05130 - 3/2/13

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2012
    Messages:
    12,763
    Location:
    Texas
    1. The warranty is void if you leave it outside in -32F or lower for 24 hours or longer. (I believe this is not plugged in, but you'll need to check).
    2. It's sitting at high and low SOC that's the problem. Just time things so that you aren't sitting at those high and low SOCs and no problem. I never hesitate to do a range charge if I need one.
    3. Range in cold weather depends upon several factors. Pre-warm the car (while plugged in) for an hour to eliminate the hit from getting the cabin up to speed, and keep it plugged in as much as possible.
     
  3. Jeeps17

    Jeeps17 Cath Jockey in a P85

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2012
    Messages:
    875
    Location:
    Montreal, Canada
    To give you an idea of real-world use, I drove my P85 with 6 occupants 260km (130km each way) last Xmas when the temperature was somewhere between -36 and -40C. I had started with a full range charge, and got back home with slightly less than 20km range.

    The trip was to an old home where I could not plug in the car, thus it sat and cold-soaked for several hours. Battery re-warming used up a decent amount of power on the return trip, some of which could have been mitigated had I been able to plug in while there. I also drove slower on the return trip (IMO it is better drive to slower and get to your destination than having to stop en route to charge, unless you have access to a supercharger (what am I saying, we are in Canada!)).

    The current algorithm uses 90% as the cutoff for daily use and trip (range) charges, so I do not think that charging up to that level daily is damaging to your battery. I agree that it is likely a good idea to avoid constantly going below 20% SOC though.
     
  4. Zythryn

    Zythryn MS 70D, MX 90D

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2009
    Messages:
    1,660
    Location:
    Minnesota
    I believe the owner of the most Teslas lives north of the article circle. I don't think they are on this board though. I suspect Tesla has a blog on them though.
     
  5. tga

    tga Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2014
    Messages:
    2,220
    Location:
    New Hampshire
  6. mknox

    mknox Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2012
    Messages:
    8,570
    Location:
    Toronto, ON
    In my experience last winter, how far you are driving makes a BIG difference. I would drive 200+ km (each way) to a rental property I own and only see a reduction from summer values of between 10 and 20 per-cent at the most. When all the systems get up to temperature and you are just humming along, it seems to be very efficient. I have a 75 km (each way) commute and found the same thing there. Now if I was making a number of short trips where the car would "cold soak" between each trip, my energy use would be double or triple summer values (sometimes even more). This is because at first, the car is using a lot of energy to warm things up, and this energy is coming from the battery which itself is not as efficient when super cold.

    When my car was new, and for most, if not all of last winter, Tesla did not have the charge % slider and a "Normal" charge was something between 90 and 93%. I don't think you'll have any battery issues charging to 90% on a regular basis in the winter. I think it's the 90 to 100% slice that is better to avoid.

    FWIW, in summer, I charge to 70% and end my day at about 30%. In the winter, it's typically 80% to 30%.
     
  7. AudubonB

    AudubonB Mild-mannered Moderator Lord Vetinari*

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2013
    Messages:
    4,251
    Location:
    Denali Highway, Alaska
    Three comments:

    1. Jeeps - might you possibly have been able to plug in your vehicle at that "old house" to a 15A or 20A 120V line? I'm thinking that, while that would not have provided you any meaningful charge, it might have trickled enough juice into your pack to assist in keeping it warm. It would seem to me that makes sense whenever possible, although even that would not be an option were you to visit, for example, someone's off-grid vacation cabin.

    2. It is my understanding that our current Li-ion battery pack is demonstrably not a good solution for our arctic climate. It is the best overall battery pack TM yet has been able to provide. I am hoping that technology improves so that we can be better served, but I'm neither holding my breath nor making use of a Tesla in our winter conditions.

    3. Coastal Norway's winter climate is in no way severe enough to compare with that of high-latitude interior NoAM. Balmy!
     
  8. fredag

    fredag Member

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2013
    Messages:
    131
    Location:
    Oslo, Norway
    It doesn't really get that cold there, along the coast of northern Norway. Winter temperatures in Oslo (south-east Norway) are on average much the same as in Tromsø (well north of the arctic circle). Winter can be much colder in Oslo, though.

    Inland it can get to -20 og -30 C in winter.

    Tromsø: Average winter temperature: -5C (low -13C) http://www.yr.no/place/Norway/Troms/Tromsø/Tromsø/statistics.html
    Kautokeino: Average winter temperature:-15C (low -41C) http://www.yr.no/place/Norway/Finnmark/Kautokeino/Kautokeino/statistics.html
    Oslo: Average winter temperature:-5C (low -13C) http://www.yr.no/place/Norway/Oslo/Oslo/Oslo/statistics.html
     
  9. Realistic EV Fan

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2014
    Messages:
    13
    Location:
    Edmonton
    Has anybody tried to charge from a 120 V socket? In extreme weather I doubt it would actually do anything. From what I understand, charging using this electrical connection is not recommended as the battery cannot use its thermal management system. There isn't a lot of power the car could actually use for anything. But I wonder if it would be able to use the power to help rewarm the car after standing in such extreme weather for 12 hours before the return trip.
     
  10. Realistic EV Fan

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2014
    Messages:
    13
    Location:
    Edmonton
    I'm shocked to find out that you were able to make it the distance without plugging in the car overnight. I'm sure this is not a trip I would want to make every day as it would affect battery life. But the fact that it makes it that far is impressive. Of course one also has to factor in battery degradation with time. The car may be able to do the distance when the battery is new, but eventually the card does get old and range would decrease.

    My comment is free for anyone to use.
     
  11. Jeeps17

    Jeeps17 Cath Jockey in a P85

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2012
    Messages:
    875
    Location:
    Montreal, Canada
    I had brought my UMC with that in mind, but the house where my G-M lives (our traditional meeting place for the holidays) was built in the 1940's, and does not have accessible outlets outside. You can imagine that running an extension through an open door / window would NOT have been popular with the family at -36C (not to mention of dubious utility).

    Once around the same period last year I had to attend a meeting after work with a total travel distance of about 200km, and given the frigid temperatures I brought my UMC to work to plug into the sole 110V 15A outlet in our hospital parking lot. Checking periodically during the day with the mobile app, I was getting about 1 km per hour of charge, and honestly have no idea if being plugged in at such low voltage helped with keeping the battery warm(er)... Obviously if you have access to a decent plug (30A or more), the question is moot.
     
  12. AudubonB

    AudubonB Mild-mannered Moderator Lord Vetinari*

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2013
    Messages:
    4,251
    Location:
    Denali Highway, Alaska
    I would be very interested to learn whence you obtained that understanding - this is the first I've heard of it, and am somewhat doubtful of its veracity.
     
  13. Cottonwood

    Cottonwood Roadster#433, Model S#S37

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2009
    Messages:
    5,062
    Location:
    Colorado
    #13 Cottonwood, Aug 27, 2014
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2014
    Makes sense. The battery heater is a few kW. 120 Volts times 12 Amps is only 1.44 kW; not enough to heat and charge...
     
  14. Realistic EV Fan

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2014
    Messages:
    13
    Location:
    Edmonton
    The real problem with 120 Volts connection is that is there's also a shared connection. These connections are set up for block heaters. Where some number on a 15 minute timer on and off every 15 minutes. I'm not sure whether that would really work with Tesla. In my case it would be a continuous connection but with other people plugging in I'm not sure how stable it would be and how the car would handle it. I have heard stories, seen them on the Internet, where an unstable are changing electrical supply what trip off the charging sequence and then it has to be manually restarted. These 120 V connections are limited by the amperage so with multiple vehicles on the same circuit this might cause the circuit trip. I'm not sure if Tesla design to handle that.
     
  15. taraquin

    taraquin Member

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2013
    Messages:
    68
    Location:
    Norway
    2. Actually, low SOC i far better than high SOC. ideal percentage for longtime for NCA-batteries is about 20% even at 0C, but it`s totally worthless for daily use. The lower the temperature, the higher the SOC can be without reducing longevity of battery noticeably.
    http://www.teslamotorsclub.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=23059&stc=1&d=1370224174
    3. Prewarming can be a problem since it uses up to 12 kWh and unless you have a 22 kWh-charger, range will drop. Also, preheating stops automaticly after 30 mins so you must restart it. The best rangetip I have found after driving in sub -15C for a couple of weeks is: Charge at max speed and preheat with rangemode. Charging itself brings the batterytemp up to 15 kWh at 13 amps even when it`s below -15C. If you have a faster charger, it brings the temp up even more. Using a 7,4 kWh-charger caused the battery to go from 15 kWh-regenlimit to no limit after 10 mins of charging in -5C :) I have tested this a few times when having to drive 280 km over a mountain-pass in sub-zero with 4 adults in my S60 ;)
     
  16. green1

    green1 Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2014
    Messages:
    4,116
    Location:
    Calgary, Alberta, Canada
    There are limits, at a certain point things actually freeze and cause other issues. As a result there's the problem of too cold, such that Tesla feels it appropriate to void the warranty if you leave the car out below -30c. That makes me worry buying one in Calgary, it would flat out rule it out in northern Canada unless I was certain I'd never park it other than in a heated garage.
     
  17. Realistic EV Fan

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2014
    Messages:
    13
    Location:
    Edmonton
    Very good point for me here in Edmonton.
    I did not realize the warranty is void if the car is left outside in below -30°C. I needed it to be able to be left overnight or even two nights in -43°C. I can understand if it loses some range because of it, that is acceptable, but not being able to leave it in a cold at all is not acceptable. Especially if it voids the warranty. Of course the scenario would normally be that the car is left plugged in, but breakers can trip inadvertently and the car has to be able to handle it. Voiding the warranty at these temperatures basically means the car is not for northern climates. Norway may be up north, but the influence of the sea keeps the temperatures relatively moderate compared to any northern continental climate. So it's not just the range, but there is actually issues with even storage of the car in cold weather. This I have to say is an absolute deal breaker for me as well.
     
  18. Peter_M

    Peter_M Member

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2013
    Messages:
    736
    Location:
    Ottawa, Canada
    Another thing to expect (besides the charging / range issues discussed already) is that the steering will get much stiffer below about -25C, at least until the car warms up. If you normally use Standard or Sport, you might want to change it to Comfort. But this is a minor issue compared to the charging. You really need at least a 30A circuit to plug into. I have a NEMA 14-30 50' extension cord for emergencies, and for winter use, I also carry a long piece of 2" x 2" foam to squeeze into the crack of the door or window that the cable is going through, if I'm plugged into someone's dryer outlet. Not ideal, but better than nothing.
     
  19. ecarfan

    ecarfan Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2013
    Messages:
    10,393
    Location:
    San Mateo, CA
    #19 ecarfan, Aug 29, 2014
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2014
    Just like ICE cars need to be plugged into block heaters overnight when left outside in extreme low temperatures, EVs should be plugged in. If you can't plug them into a reliable circuit in extreme cold, than unfortunately an EV is not for you.

    Winter temperatures in inland Norway are pretty extreme, and Tesla is very popular in Norway.
     
  20. Realistic EV Fan

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2014
    Messages:
    13
    Location:
    Edmonton
    I would have to respectfully disagree on both points. I can leave my ICE overnight without plugging in and I'm not going to void the warranty. Also realistically I have started many ICE in the winter at -43°C. They may not like it, and definitely require about a 15 minute warm-up time, but they work. The most reliable 120 Volt connection can easily tripped the breaker with just a little bit of snow. Here in Canada all outside electrical connections required to be on the ground fault interrupt circuit. Those circuits are really easy to trip. A huge part of owning a startup company vehicle like Tesla is the warranty. Service outside the warranty is an altogether different issue which is a gamble at this time. It's nice to be able to use a block heater most of the time, but one is not reliant for warranty or even to be honest usability. I'm talking about gasoline engine cars, diesels an altogether different issue. But I can leave an external combustion engine unplugged for months without voiding the warranty, all it needs is a boost and it keeps on going even in extreme temperatures.

    They should design electric vehicles so they have the capability to at least run the battery down and keep themselves warm for at least a couple of days during extreme temperatures.

    There might be a lot of electric cars in Norway, but Norway does not really have extreme temperatures. Most of Norway is actually by the coast relatively speaking, this gives rise to actually moderate temperatures. It may be up north, but it's far from being an extremely cold place.
     

Share This Page