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Model 3 battery draining 1-2 miles per hour while off

I've posted on Tesla's forums about this, but haven't had any luck.

I purchased a Model 3 for my mother, and while she's loved it overall, the battery drain is ridiculously high. At 8PM last night it was at 262 miles -- this morning at 11am, it's at 243. She hasn't driven it in that time.

The tip we got was to make sure our phone keys weren't repeatedly waking it up. We've completely disconnected both phone keys and solely use the keycards to lock and unlock.

The software is version 2018.14.13, I believe it's the latest.

We've taken it to Tesla service, and they've promised to file a work order and email us: that was over a week ago when they said they'd do it "today".

What else should we be trying, short of going back to the service department?
 

Rockster

Active Member
Oct 22, 2013
3,022
4,708
McKinney, TX
Just wait. When the Model S first came out it had a large vampire drain. Tesla addressed this by updating the firmware to make the car more efficient when powered down. A few firmware updates later, the vampire loss in the S was dramatically lower. It's likely that the 3 is being tweaked in the same way.

Just curious, why was the car not plugged in overnight?
 
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Just wait. When the Model S first came out it had a large vampire drain. Tesla addressed this by updating the firmware to make the car more efficient when powered down. A few firmware updates later, the vampire loss in the S was dramatically lower. It's likely that the 3 is being tweaked in the same way.

I haven't heard of hardly any other Model 3s having this issue. If it was widespread, sure, but why only one?

Just curious, why was the car not plugged in overnight?

She doesn't have a charger at home right now. We live close, and she drives maybe ~5 miles per day, so she was expecting to only charge at our house a couple times a month... which she could if her drainage was the same as mine. I'm going to hook up her trickle charger, but at this rate that won't actually charge the car, it'll just stop it from discharging. She's understandably pissed that a brand new $55K car is causing such a hassle, and I'm increasingly furious at Tesla's response. We were promised a work order for it 12 days ago.

Are you signed up with any data logging services such as TeslaFi? That’s been the cause of most high vampire drain reported with the Model 3. Phone keys no longer wake up the car by itself with the current firmware— need to press a door handle.

Ironically, I wasn't until I signed up to try to use it to put the car into a deeper sleep, but haven't been able to get that to work anyway. So, it's not that.
 
I've posted on Tesla's forums about this, but haven't had any luck.

I purchased a Model 3 for my mother, and while she's loved it overall, the battery drain is ridiculously high. At 8PM last night it was at 262 miles -- this morning at 11am, it's at 243. She hasn't driven it in that time.

The tip we got was to make sure our phone keys weren't repeatedly waking it up. We've completely disconnected both phone keys and solely use the keycards to lock and unlock.

The software is version 2018.14.13, I believe it's the latest.

We've taken it to Tesla service, and they've promised to file a work order and email us: that was over a week ago when they said they'd do it "today".

What else should we be trying, short of going back to the service department?
Can you do us a huge favor and ask your mom to also write down the battery state of charge (percent) before and after? If the battery state of charge changes by the same amount range does, and this persists after doing a *reset, then I'd contact the service center about it because it's probably not sleeping.

If the battery state of charge changes less than the range does, what your mother could be seeing is a some vampire loss and some change in "rated range" because how far an EV can go is a function of how warm the pack is. The higher the battery pack temperature, up to some reasonable limit, the more energy the battery pack can provide.

* When parked, hold the brake pedal and both buttons on the steering wheel down until the display goes black and the car reboots.
 
Last edited:
Woops, sorry, didn't get email replies that more responses were coming in.

Can you do us a huge favor and ask your mom to also write down the battery state of charge (percent) before and after? If the battery state of charge changes by the same amount range does, and this persists after doing a *reset, then I'd contact the service center about it because it's probably not sleeping.

If the battery state of charge changes less than the range does, what your mother could be seeing is a some vampire loss and some change in "rated range" because how far an EV can go is a function of how warm the pack is. The higher the battery pack temperature, up to some reasonable limit, the more energy the battery pack can provide.

* When parked, hold the brake pedal and both buttons on the steering wheel down until the display goes black and the car reboots.

We took it to the shop today, and they asked us to disable Tesla Fi and monitor it through the weekend for exactly that reason. We haven't been tracking it super-specifically because we can extrapolate: for example, we know we charged it to 280 last Thursday. It reports it's driven 30 miles at 350kw/h since then, which is 17% above rating, so we'd expect it to to be at ~245. Instead, it was at 105. So, in 6 days, it lost 140 miles beyond the ~35 miles it drove. That's 24 miles per day, a mile per hour.

If there's reason to track it more specifically throughout the day, we can, but she doesn't drive much, so the drainage is the majority of the battery "usage".

Would it be possible to have your Mom plug the car into a 110-volt outlet and the mobile connector overnight on occasion? This would eliminate the issue. That's what I do whenever I'm visiting my in-laws.

I tried that, but unfortunately her external outlets don't seem to be properly grounded, as the Tesla charger shuts off when it gets above 8A. We can have an electrician come fix it or install a real outlet, but that's probably around $1000 with the way her house is wired and where her carport sits. We hadn't planned to need that with how little she drives -- so if we end up needing that, I'll cancel the other pre-order I have and use the deposit to pay for it (not that paying for it is a problem -- but if they can't/won't fix this, I sure as hell am not going to order the other one I was going to get in August).
 
We took it to the shop today, and they asked us to disable Tesla Fi and monitor it through the weekend for exactly that reason. We haven't been tracking it super-specifically because we can extrapolate: for example, we know we charged it to 280 last Thursday. It reports it's driven 30 miles at 350kw/h since then, which is 17% above rating, so we'd expect it to to be at ~245. Instead, it was at 105. So, in 6 days, it lost 140 miles beyond the ~35 miles it drove. That's 24 miles per day, a mile per hour.

If there's reason to track it more specifically throughout the day, we can, but she doesn't drive much, so the drainage is the majority of the battery "usage".
I'd track it with the app to confirm. When I've done that, I've seen little to no standby energy consumption, and the times it did use some were because it was in the sun and the HVAC fan was on to keep the cabin temps lower.
 
Woops, sorry, didn't get email replies that more responses were coming in.



We took it to the shop today, and they asked us to disable Tesla Fi and monitor it through the weekend for exactly that reason. We haven't been tracking it super-specifically because we can extrapolate: for example, we know we charged it to 280 last Thursday. It reports it's driven 30 miles at 350kw/h since then, which is 17% above rating, so we'd expect it to to be at ~245. Instead, it was at 105. So, in 6 days, it lost 140 miles beyond the ~35 miles it drove. That's 24 miles per day, a mile per hour.

If there's reason to track it more specifically throughout the day, we can, but she doesn't drive much, so the drainage is the majority of the battery "usage".



I tried that, but unfortunately her external outlets don't seem to be properly grounded, as the Tesla charger shuts off when it gets above 8A. We can have an electrician come fix it or install a real outlet, but that's probably around $1000 with the way her house is wired and where her carport sits. We hadn't planned to need that with how little she drives -- so if we end up needing that, I'll cancel the other pre-order I have and use the deposit to pay for it (not that paying for it is a problem -- but if they can't/won't fix this, I sure as hell am not going to order the other one I was going to get in August).
Is it actually a grounding problem? Which kind of service and circuit does she have? I think you can turn down to as low as 5A with Teslas.
 
My question would be about cooling. You mentioned a carport. I haven't noticed any real battery drain in my garage where the temperature is about 85 degrees (according to app), but sitting outside at work where the cabin temperature gets above 100 degrees I noticed a 1-2% drop today over about 10 hours. However, the temperature in the cabin also never gets above about 105-110 degrees, so obviously it's doing some sort of cooling (outside of me preconditioning later in the day). Is it possible your mom's car is getting quite warm and doing this?
 
I've posted on Tesla's forums about this, but haven't had any luck.

I purchased a Model 3 for my mother, and while she's loved it overall, the battery drain is ridiculously high. At 8PM last night it was at 262 miles -- this morning at 11am, it's at 243. She hasn't driven it in that time.

The tip we got was to make sure our phone keys weren't repeatedly waking it up. We've completely disconnected both phone keys and solely use the keycards to lock and unlock.

The software is version 2018.14.13, I believe it's the latest.

We've taken it to Tesla service, and they've promised to file a work order and email us: that was over a week ago when they said they'd do it "today".

What else should we be trying, short of going back to the service department?

My M3 purchased in April only loses about 1-2miles/10 hours. I have checked my phone app and its disconnects overtime the phone is off. When I log back on it has to wake up. Don't know if that helps. I would suggest you leave it at your house charge it up and see how it does.
 

eprosenx

Active Member
May 30, 2018
2,076
2,554
Beaverton, OR
I tried that, but unfortunately her external outlets don't seem to be properly grounded, as the Tesla charger shuts off when it gets above 8A. We can have an electrician come fix it or install a real outlet, but that's probably around $1000 with the way her house is wired and where her carport sits. We hadn't planned to need that with how little she drives -- so if we end up needing that, I'll cancel the other pre-order I have and use the deposit to pay for it (not that paying for it is a problem -- but if they can't/won't fix this, I sure as hell am not going to order the other one I was going to get in August).

Hrm, I don't think the Tesla will even start charging at all without a functional ground. Shutting off above 8a sounds to me like a loose wire somewhere or a bad receptacle (it sees too much voltage drop during the charge cycle). This is likely quite easy to fix (and it indicates a real wiring issue I am guessing). Standard 15a outlets are like a few bucks each if you have to replace them. You might even not need to replace one (just tighten something), though I always like outlets with real screw on terminals vs. the crappy push in ones. I replace those every time I see one.

If you are reasonably comfortable with electrical stuff I would plug a light or something into the outlet she wants to use to charge and then go flip breakers off one at a time till that light goes off (try to guess which one it is by the names to make this faster and shut less random stuff off).

Once you figure out which breaker it is, take the receptacle out (with the power off) and check to make sure all the wires are tight (or heck, just replace it anyway). Then go find all the other plugs that are off when that breaker is off and do the same thing. In residential wiring the plugs are all daisy-chained from one to the next to the next and so some other random plug having a loose connection may be your issue.

I know it is frustrating to have more loss in the Tesla than you would expect though while Tesla works on figuring out if it is software or hardware it would be great if you could get her a charging solution at home. Sounds like with her driving patterns she could keep 100% charged all the time even off a plain old 15a 120v outlet.

I actually just did this exact thing at my house. I was installing a Wall Connector outside and a NEMA 14-50 inside the garage just for fun and while I was at it I realized my outdoor front plug was not on GFCI and neither was the entire garage (same circuit). So I identified which receptacle was the first in the "chain" from the electrical panel and I put a new 20a GFCI receptacle there (the circuit was 20a but the receptacles were formerly 15a which is allowed). Then I put a "water resistant" 20a receptacle outside (replacing and old 15a one) and I also replaced a couple other outlets inside the garage also with 20a ones (though these did not need to be water resistant or GFCI in themselves since they were downstream of the GFCI I added). So with all that being said, for a handful of dollars in receptacles I improved safety by adding GFCI, I replaced several outlets that had cracked ground plug ports, I added a proper water resistant outlet outside, and I upgraded my outlets from 15a to 20a so if I needed to (or wanted to test) I could plug in my forthcoming UMC to my Model 3 and charge at 16a vs. 12a. Also, one of the wires on the outdoor plug fell out in my hand (those horrible push in connectors) so I am REALLY glad I did this project.
 

jboy210

Well-Known Member
Supporting Member
Dec 2, 2016
6,544
4,464
Northern California
My question would be about cooling. You mentioned a carport. I haven't noticed any real battery drain in my garage where the temperature is about 85 degrees (according to app), but sitting outside at work where the cabin temperature gets above 100 degrees I noticed a 1-2% drop today over about 10 hours. However, the temperature in the cabin also never gets above about 105-110 degrees, so obviously it's doing some sort of cooling (outside of me preconditioning later in the day). Is it possible your mom's car is getting quite warm and doing this?

I wonder about this also. I assume the battery has fans to keep them cool even when parked. And heaters to keep them warm. Can some verify this?
 
I wonder about this also. I assume the battery has fans to keep them cool even when parked. And heaters to keep them warm. Can some verify this?

I've seen elsewhere that the Model 3 uses the motor to heat the battery and standard car climate control to cool it. I have no idea if that's actually correct or not, but those were the reports people were talking about back in December or January in the context of "this is partially why the Model 3 is cheaper to produce". Since that time we've seen battery tear down that shows some sort of new thermal gel, but I haven't read anything about explicit temperature control.
 
I've seen elsewhere that the Model 3 uses the motor to heat the battery and standard car climate control to cool it. I have no idea if that's actually correct or not, but those were the reports people were talking about back in December or January in the context of "this is partially why the Model 3 is cheaper to produce". Since that time we've seen battery tear down that shows some sort of new thermal gel, but I haven't read anything about explicit temperature control.

This is true, but as mentioned by @eprosenx above, I doubt the car would expend any energy when at rest unless the battery pack was in dire need of cooling/heating to avoid any physical damage or runaway chain reactions.

The new motor is capable of generating waste heat without moving, so the car can head up and use the "wasted" motor heat to heat up the battery pack. Great in winter when the pack can absorb the heat anyway, and perfectly fine if the motor doesn't need to move also. Sorta win-win.

If only they'd used the AC as an Air-to-Air heat pump instead of cooling only, then we'd save 4/5th the heating energy in winter.
 

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