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Ignoring the "Preconditioning battery for Supercharging" alert?

Midnyht

New Member
Jun 17, 2020
4
2
Texas
Recently bought a M3 and didn't put a supercharger on my nav until I got there. Long story. As soon as I put the supercharger location on my nav, I got a "Preconditioning battery for Supercharging" alert. After waiting about 15 minutes, my impatient son asked me to use the supercharger anyway. I did and the alert went away.

For a newbie, I have three questions:

1. What are the implications of ignoring the alert and supercharging while the alert is still on?

2. How long is "Preconditioning battery for Supercharging" supposed to last?

3. What's the recommended way to supercharge if you forget to put the supercharger in the nav beforehand?

Thanks in advance!
 
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Zoomit

Active Member
Sep 1, 2015
2,298
4,510
SoCal
Your son was correct; you should have just charged right away. The car limits Supercharging speed based on battery temperature so no ill effects exist by just charging without using On Route Battery Warmup.

Preconditioning duration varies based on many factors, such as ambient temp, battery temp, discharge rate, whether you have a dual motor car, etc. In my experience, the ORBW feature rarely gets the battery to optimal temperature for the fastest charging, but I’m sure it helps.
 
It’s not needed, but it helps get the fastest speed. Mine usually pops in about 10 to 25 miles away from a supercharger when I’m going highway speeds. The warmer the battery is the higher charge rate you’ll get when plugging in. Charging in its self warms the battery so within a few minutes of plugging in the battery will be heated anyway, it just might slowly ramp up to a faster speed while the charging warms it up.

The benefit is to reduce charge time and make the trip quicker and more enjoyable, so you should use it, but you don’t have to, you’ll just spend a few extra minutes there...
 
no need to precondition. It is only a slight benefit for charging speed.

Also, i believe the vehicle has to be in motion to actually pre-condition.

The engineers of these cars consider how they will be used and if protections are needed, it will be part of the vehicle design. Being an engineer isn't a requirement to use these cars.
 
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Zoomit

Active Member
Sep 1, 2015
2,298
4,510
SoCal
Also, i believe the vehicle has to be in motion to actually pre-condition.
On Route Battery Warmup uses 7kW when in Park and 4 kW while driving, according to u/Wugz in this reddit post. While driving, there are other sources of waste heat (inverter, motor, faster battery discharge) so it’s hard to say which mode would heat the battery faster.
 
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Rocky_H

Well-Known Member
Feb 19, 2015
8,152
10,408
Boise, ID
Tesla does well to make the experience very simple, and the cars aren't fragile things that you're going to break by doing something wrong. That thing on the screen was more of a notification, not a warning. If there's something you are not supposed to do, the car will tell you that in some kind of real warning message.

That preconditioning is just to warm the batteries up a little more before you get there, because it will help the charging speed some. But you can go ahead and plug in any time you want, even when it's stone cold below freezing. The car knows its own systems, and it will just request power very slowly if it is starting out very cold, as it adjusts to what it can handle without damaging itself.
 
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I admit, my first reaction reading this was "Oh no!". And them immediately started thinking of how to improve the user experience to make it clear that you don't have to wait.

For what it's worth, they just updated how this notification displays. Instead of "Preconditioning for Supercharging", it has moved to above the nav and says "Preconditioning battery for fast charging".
  1. You're intended to ignore it actually. It's purely informative that something is happening. Some people notice their motor makes more noise during preconditioning, and this tells them why. Plugging in sooner is always faster.
  2. It lasts until the car determines the battery is sufficiently hot to charge as fast as it can. In my experience it starts a little bit too late on average, but that's fine.
  3. Put it in the Nav as soon as possible and/or use voice commands. If you arrive without preconditioning, it's fine - it'll just charge slower to start until the battery is warmer. It won't hurt the battery just because it's not warmed.
 
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user212_nr

Active Member
Aug 26, 2019
1,407
882
US
I admit, my first reaction reading this was "Oh no!". And them immediately started thinking of how to improve the user experience to make it clear that you don't have to wait.

There is a constant tradeoff between "keeping things simple" and getting in the user's face with information.

Tesla has a lot to improve with its software, but I think this is a case where reading the manual was the appropriate thing for the OP to do. Asking on TMC is great, but there are other things that he doesn't know, and he won't know what he doesn't know except by reading.

When you learn by trial and error (without the manual), I think the thing to do would be to plug in and see what happens. This is an odd case IMO.
 
There is a constant tradeoff between "keeping things simple" and getting in the user's face with information.

Tesla has a lot to improve with its software, but I think this is a case where reading the manual was the appropriate thing for the OP to do. Asking on TMC is great, but there are other things that he doesn't know, and he won't know what he doesn't know except by reading.

When you learn by trial and error (without the manual), I think the thing to do would be to plug in and see what happens. This is an odd case IMO.

Mostly agreed. To be fair, the manual only briefly mentions this and only uses the word "Preconditioning" in reference to the climate control.

Warming the Battery Before Supercharging
If you are using Trip Planner (see Trip Planner
on page 134) and navigate to a Supercharger
station, your vehicle will allocate energy to
pre-heat the Battery in cold weather. This
ensures you arrive at the Supercharger with an
optimal Battery temperature, reducing the
amount of time it takes to charge.
I'm no stranger to debating documentation wording for excessive amounts of time (software developer, here), but to me this doesn't make a clear connection or even a reference to the notice displayed on the screen. As it stands, this feature is much better documented on forums.
 

user212_nr

Active Member
Aug 26, 2019
1,407
882
US
Mostly agreed. To be fair, the manual only briefly mentions this and only uses the word "Preconditioning" in reference to the climate control.

Warming the Battery Before Supercharging
If you are using Trip Planner (see Trip Planner
on page 134) and navigate to a Supercharger
station, your vehicle will allocate energy to
pre-heat the Battery in cold weather. This
ensures you arrive at the Supercharger with an
optimal Battery temperature, reducing the
amount of time it takes to charge.
I'm no stranger to debating documentation wording for excessive amounts of time (software developer, here), but to me this doesn't make a clear connection or even a reference to the notice displayed on the screen. As it stands, this feature is much better documented on forums.

Now that we know that the OP fell into this idea, the question is, how many other people will think this also? I hope none, but knowing the size of the world, it is likely to happen a few more times.

Not to say anything toward the OP, but it is a very laughable gaffe. There is always going to be that person who takes there Tesla to a gas station to fill up. Nothing we can or should do to prevent it.

 

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