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Low Power Charging in sub-zero temperatures does not work!

Discussion in 'Model S: Battery & Charging' started by randvegeta, Jan 8, 2017.

  1. randvegeta

    randvegeta Member

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    Location:
    Lithuania
    Arrived home last night to find someone parked next to the 32amp outlet I normally use to charge my car. No worries, there are plenty of wall sockets around and I have a 25meter extension lead I used to charge a rate of around 2.2kw.

    Ran the cable, plugged in, and started charging fine. My charge level was down to about 95km. A few hours later I see charging has STOPPED and my range is only at 120km. I thought I may have blown a fuse or something so i go and check. Nope, cable/power is AOK. Un plug and plug in again and it starts charging again, and I head to bed.

    Wake up in the morning and charge has reached 130km now, but again 'stopped'.

    Given the temperature outside dropped to around -20 last night (-4f), I figure this may be related. I assume that the 2.2kw just isnt enough power to heat the battery sufficiently to even start charging and was only able to get the first 25 - 35km because it was slightly warm from my earlier drive.

    Luckily, by morning, the space with the 32amp outlet was free, so I moved the car and plugged in. My app shows status as 'charging' but at 0km/h. When looking at the instrument cluster, I could see 'snow flake' icon next to the battery, and also a BLUE bar on the battery charge indicator. Presumably the battery is being heated and will charge when warm enough.

    Will see how things go!
     
  2. Btrflyl8e

    Btrflyl8e Supporting Member

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    I had a similar issue years ago, but with it being too hot out. I was in South Florida at a conference, and my hotel only had a 110v outlet for me to use. Every day around noon it would stop charging as the heat reached near 100°F, and it would automatically resume again once the sun went down and the temp dropped.

    Did it finally hear the pack enough to charge?
     
  3. randvegeta

    randvegeta Member

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    On the 32amp circuit, yes. At a rate of about 26km/h, as opposed to the usual 35.

    Since 32amps @ 220v = approx 7kw, it suggests approx 1.75kw was constantly being used to keep the battery warm enough to charge. It took a good 30 mins for the charge to even start so the initial load may have been more. So a 2kw charge really seems insufficient to at extreme cold. Lucky I have a 32amp circuite available or I would know what else I could do!
     
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  4. Btrflyl8e

    Btrflyl8e Supporting Member

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    Glad you were finally able to charge!
     
  5. Rocky_H

    Rocky_H Active Member

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    Yes, we've seen that condition for a few years. In the U.S., the regular wall outlets being only 120V and 12A current makes this problem even harder since that is only a 1.4kW power level. It probably does need about 2-3kW to overcome a temperature around 0 degrees Fahrenheit or below to warm the battery up enough to charge, so I have seen several people report that their car sat plugged in all night and got no miles added when it was really cold.
    However, I don't recall any reports that it would say charging was stopped. I thought it just kept drawing energy to run the battery heater and never really got enough to do more than that.
     
  6. brkaus

    brkaus Active Member

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    The charging stopping sounds more like an electrical outlet problem.

    The slow / no progress charging is related to not being able to overcome the heating requirement with the low power.
     
  7. randvegeta

    randvegeta Member

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    Location:
    Lithuania
    The status on my app was 'parked' rather than charging. There was no issue with the outlet. It definitely had power, and the car indicated it was indeed plugged in.

    No matter, when plugged into the 32amp outlet, it both heated up and charged. It was particular cold that day, but it's interesting since that means even in an emergency, a standard wall socket really may not be sufficient to perform a charge unless the vehicle is already warm.
     

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