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Is Tesla Model S Heating/Cooling Effective like ICE cars?

How effective is your Tesla's heating/cooling/air conditioning?


  • Total voters
    83
  • Poll closed .

Tribaltech

Member
Nov 14, 2016
207
192
Michigan
Hi folks,

I am about to take delivery of my Model S (feels like I have been saying that for a year now, hurry up Tesla!!). Recently I came across a few threads and a video where folks pointed out peculiar problems with the heating and cooling effectiveness of Teslas. A number of folks say that they went on a long road trip and after a few hours driving in 100+ degree F weather the car AC's cooling reduced significantly and it became quite ineffective. Perhaps it was used to cool batteries or whatever the heck happened, this just does not sound good. After spending $90K+ on a luxury EV, the last thing one expects is to have problems with a car's basic functions like heating and cooling.

In some other threads I read that some folks' Model S heating never got above 40 degrees in Minnesota and/or Michigan winters. And that they were freezing their posteriors off driving in the cold weather. And no the car in either situation wasn't in range mode and the users had tinkered the the cilmate control settings to fix the issues to no avail.

Now I know that a lot of times folks who post online a negative review or write a post about a problem do so only when they have a problem. But my question to all of you is, are you happy with how well a Tesla heats and cools on a regular day and extreme hot and cold days? This is really important for me because the last thing I want is to have a bloody car that cannot even keep me and my family comfortable. Please let me know and kindly vote your option in the poll below. Thank you very much
 

S4WRXTTCS

Well-Known Member
May 3, 2015
5,708
6,837
Snohomish, WA
It tends to be pretty mild in the pacific northwest so my vote of excellent doesn't really count for much.

My biggest gripe has to do with the inability to turn on either the front or rear defroster before I get into my car. I love being able to turn on the car heater 10 minutes before I leave work when it's 20 degrees out (what those of is in the NW call cold). So much better than an ICE car.

The cold weather is also a great way to remind me of why I love the Tesla. I look at all the smoke bellowing out of other cars exhaust that's so much more noticeable in the cold.
 
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Tribaltech

Member
Nov 14, 2016
207
192
Michigan
It tends to be pretty mild in the pacific northwest so my vote of excellent doesn't really count for much.

My biggest gripe has to do with the inability to turn on either the front or rear defroster before I get into my car. I love being able to turn on the car heater 10 minutes before I leave work when it's 20 degrees out (what those of is in the NW call cold). So much better than an ICE car.

The cold weather is also a great way to remind me of why I love the Tesla. I look at all the smoke bellowing out of other cars exhaust that's so much more noticeable in the cold.

Well I wouldn't say that 20 degrees is mild. And if you find the heating extremely effective in that type of cold and if the majority of the other responders feel so too, then I should be all set :)
 

STbreaker

Member
May 5, 2016
231
224
Long Island, NY
The feet warmer area could be better but generally the HVAC is pretty effective. It's more a matter of if you are okay with the high energy usage. Heat in particular is a big battery drain. Now that winter is here, I tend to ride around with the temp set on 63F. When I'm on the highway (speed limit 70) I will frequently see 370 Wh/mi if its in the 20s or low 30s. I know some of that is going towards battery warming, but it's still a bit shocking compared to my summer numbers.
 

kort677

Banned
Sep 17, 2015
4,801
2,996
florida.
the difference between the tesla heat and an ICE's heat is the penalty paid in lose of range when you use the tesla's heater.
 

KyleDay

Active Member
Oct 29, 2016
1,375
3,098
AZ
Great question! I'm in AZ and am concerned as to cooling effectiveness in 100+ degree summers.
 

Mknac

Member
Jul 10, 2016
282
113
Florida
I like my car heat to blow downward towards the bottom. With the fan set on 10 I can't feel any heat blowing on my feet or legs. Feels like it is coming straight at me from the vents in the dash. Yes I have it set correctly.

But the air is warm and heats the cabin.
 

kort677

Banned
Sep 17, 2015
4,801
2,996
florida.
Great question! I'm in AZ and am concerned as to cooling effectiveness in 100+ degree summers.
the cooling system is not as good as found on other cars in this segment, the good news is that using the AC doesn't use as much energy as using the heater
 

Tribaltech

Member
Nov 14, 2016
207
192
Michigan
The feet warmer area could be better but generally the HVAC is pretty effective. It's more a matter of if you are okay with the high energy usage. Heat in particular is a big battery drain. Now that winter is here, I tend to ride around with the temp set on 63F. When I'm on the highway (speed limit 70) I will frequently see 370 Wh/mi if its in the 20s or low 30s. I know some of that is going towards battery warming, but it's still a bit shocking compared to my summer numbers.
Ugh!!!! 63 is not good. My wife would kill for buying a $100K freeZer on four wheels. Man that's really concerning. I do understand the range loss and have read extensively about it.
 

Tribaltech

Member
Nov 14, 2016
207
192
Michigan
I like my car heat to blow downward towards the bottom. With the fan set on 10 I can't feel any heat blowing on my feet or legs. Feels like it is coming straight at me from the vents in the dash. Yes I have it set correctly.

But the air is warm and heats the cabin.
I guess as long as it keeps the cabin cozy it is fine. But isn't there a setting wherein you can tell it to blow heat toward the feet? In every car that I have owned in auto mode the car heats the feet area first. Should be a no brainer for such an adavanced vehicle, no?
 

Tribaltech

Member
Nov 14, 2016
207
192
Michigan
the cooling system is not as good as found on other cars in this segment, the good news is that using the AC doesn't use as much energy as using the heater
I'm disheartened by reading some of the replies on this post. Im seeing a lot many folks talk about disappointing heating and cooling and it's almost a tempting thought for me to take a loss on my deposit and not bother getting the car rather than getting an expensive Tesla and being annoyed by it every day while paying dearly for it. What the heck.
 

Tribaltech

Member
Nov 14, 2016
207
192
Michigan
Yeah that wouldn't fly. He sets it at 63. He didn't say it it wouldn't get hotter than 63.
Sure, but setting it at 63 for fears of severe range loss and still getting a terrible 370 wh/mi is disappointing. It's almost like the car wants you to freeze to death while it tries desperately to show the range numbers it posts on its website.
 

Tribaltech

Member
Nov 14, 2016
207
192
Michigan
the cooling system is not as good as found on other cars in this segment, the good news is that using the AC doesn't use as much energy as using the heater
During my test drive too I was very disappointed with the cooling and it wasn't even a 100 degree day in Ohio. I kept asking the Tesla guy to turn the AC on and he kept telling me it's on. I was quite taken aback. And the darn thing wasn't even in range mode.
 

⚡️ELECTROMAN⚡️

SS of 96 and falling
Jul 15, 2016
2,869
5,425
Pacific Northwest
The AC should work the same as an ICE car. Maybe there was something wrong with it. Obviously the heating works differently than an ICE and needs to be taken into consideration. The range calculator takes AC/Heater use into consideration. Punch in the numbers and see if it works with the cold weather driving you'll be doing. If it doesn't work then don't get the car.

Model S | Tesla
Scroll down towards the bottom to find the range calculator. This is just an estimate, you should use a trip planner to check the to see if the actual trips you will be taking will work for you.
 
Last edited:
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Oct 25, 2015
246
144
Chicago, IL
AC works very well for me, zero complaints. But I have issues with the heat.

On sub-freezing days, the heat is great for about the first 30 minutes, then goes into a mode where it is basically useless. I speculate that the car has switched into a mode where it is trying to harvest waste heat from the battery pack or motors - whatever it is doing, it is pretty ineffective. When this happens, I can work around it by raising the set temperature. If I crank it to 80+, I can usually get back into my comfort zone. For reference, I normally like my thermostat set at 71 year round.

Also, the driver's side footwell has extremely poor airflow. The front passenger footwell is fine. I asked my service center about it, and they advised that poor footwell airflow on the driver's side is "normal for my VIN range" (~8xxxx). So my feet are always cold in the winter.
 

Branzo90D

Salt and Pepper
Oct 13, 2015
154
101
NorCal
Living in northern California, I can't say much about problems driving in very cold conditions. However, I have never seen a problem where the Model S AC system is unable to keep up with high outside temperatures. Last summer, I drove mine on a 2,200 mile road trip through Nevada, Utah, northern Arizona, and returning through Death Valley. Everyday temperatures were between 100 and 105 F on that trip. We hit an extreme of 119 F in Death Valley. The car performed flawlessly and the AC provided a uniform temperature of 71 F in the cabin, even when driving for hours in full mid-day sun. I don't see how the AC could have worked any better and it seems to have a very small effect on range.
 

Mknac

Member
Jul 10, 2016
282
113
Florida
I guess as long as it keeps the cabin cozy it is fine. But isn't there a setting wherein you can tell it to blow heat toward the feet? In every car that I have owned in auto mode the car heats the feet area first. Should be a no brainer for such an adavanced vehicle, no?

Yes there is. But unlike my other cars nothing. Perhaps something is wrong with my S. First time I take it to the service center I'll ask. Does anybody have the same experience?
 

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