Welcome to Tesla Motors Club
Discuss Tesla's Model S, Model 3, Model X, Model Y, Cybertruck, Roadster and More.
Register

Shut down with supercharger in sight

passhard

Member
Oct 26, 2019
101
24
near Montreal
It was bound to happen to me. For years I was bragging that I regularly drive my car down to single digits and it has never shut down. Now it finally did. And to punish me a little extra for my big mouth, it happened at 3:30 am just before the exit for the supercharger. I could literally see it. There goes the theory that the car will allow you to go a little extra if you are heading to a charger.

It was totally my own fault. I was pulling a trailer and my energy consumption was about double. At higher discharge rates the voltage drops faster and earlier at the end. I had 1 mile left when it shut down.

A few things to keep in mind when that happens:
Pull over as soon as you can. You have 5-10 seconds from the message popping up to loosing all motor power.

Since the 12 Volt battery isn't charged any more, get out of the car and let it be. This is your best bet to keep the 12 Volt battery alive until the tow truck arrives. Roll down the windows. When the 12 Volt battery dies opening or closing the door can break the windows.

Remember 'tow mode' is under the service tab.

Always have one of those external battery chargers for your phone. You are going to make many calls and do a lot of Googleing to find nearby chargers, and take lots of pictures and videos of your adventure LOL

The tow attachment thingy that came with my car is under the carpet in the frunk and you have to take the nose cone off to attach it. Just to mess with you when you are already stressed out, Tesla used a left tightening thread on it. WTF? I recommend making yourself familiar with your car and how it works so you know what to do in the situation.

One of those compact jump start battery packs can be a life saver. If you have to wait very long and the 12 Volt battery dies on you, you can't even plug in to charge the car. You first have to bring the 12 Volt system alive. One of those little batteries will do the job.

Always have a jacket and extra cloths in your car. Prepared as I am I was in my flip flops and shorts coming from California and freezing my butt off waiting at night in Iowa.

I wish Tesla would give the driver a little more time before cutting off power. The time you have might not be enough on a busy freeway and find a safe place to stop. There is zero heads up. I had ScanMyTesla app running and couldn't see any indicator that would have given a hit. The only thing that gives you some idea is the power limiter. If it's down to 80 kW, you are very close to a shut down. In general it helps a lot to drive very carefully and gentle when the battery is very low. By driving super careful I was able to get to 0 % without a shut down countless times. In this case, I didn't pay attention and kept driving at normal speed. With the trailer that was 60-80 kW.
dang.....I'd rather run out of gas! LOL
 

Babaron

Member
Jan 24, 2017
233
148
SW Ohio and west central FL
I got one for you. I traveled from Dayton Ohio to Detroit right after I got my 2014 model S. Made it up no problem. When I set the navigation to take me back home it said I had enough to get to the next supercharger so I just got on my way without paying much attention. It turns out that the nearest supercharger is in Windsor Canada across the border. The next nearest is in Toledo which was too far for my charge level.

Once I figured out what was happening it was too late and I had to keep going to Toledo. I ended up drafting and driving like my grandma but finally made it to Toledo 6 miles after the meter read 0%. I wouldn’t dare try that now; the car has 140,000 miles on it and is five years old. And by the way they now have super chargers in the Detroit area.
 
  • Like
Reactions: David99

Hugh-SG

Member
Jun 3, 2019
89
96
Vancovuer, BC
It was bound to happen to me. For years I was bragging that I regularly drive my car down to single digits and it has never shut down.

Thank you for telling us about your misadventure. Your level headed and candid report was educational and I very much appreciated the thoughts of others who have experienced this and those who responded with out trolling the poor chap. Civility much appreciated.

I got caught once by strong headwinds and AC use traveling from Ritzville, WA towards Seattle.

When I left Ritzville it said arriving at Clu Elum TSC at 18%, then 15%, then 12%. Ellensburg showed all SC's in use, so I continued west with the car predicting arriving at 10% SOC.

Well....I pulled in to Clu Elum at 5.5% (23km's left on the dial). I plugged in, lefty the windows slightly down, turned off everything and went for a short walk to let my thirst beast guzzle down some much needed energy with all loads removed.

Pure pucker factor for the final 15km into Clu Elum. And the lesson here... Don't push it unless you have to.

If I may offer a thought David, you mention you regularly driving the battery down to single digits range.

Anything regularly below below 20% SOC can do cumulative damage to the battery.

All the literature and engineering analysis's I've read make it very clear you can drastically reduce the range available and life of an Li ion battery by discharging it to nearly empty.

Therefore may I refer some reading to you.

The Secret Life Of An EV Battery | CleanTechnica

Although old, it is still very much correct. For max battery life, only go to 100% charge when you absolutely have to.

Instead stick to 85-25% charging cycle and your battery will reward you with a long life and good range for a very long time.

Food for thought,
Cheers! Hugh-SG
 
  • Like
Reactions: David99

SageBrush

REJECT Fascism
May 7, 2015
12,224
15,131
New Mexico
I once was pretty tight en route to a Supercharger and decided to drop my trailer a few miles away from the charger, go charge, and come back to pick it back up. Having the car untethered on that last leg made it possible for me to make it.
That is a really good tip since the final straw that often pushes the car into shut-down mode is not the SoC per se but the drop in voltage from load.

I had not connected the dots here, so thanks.
Your post caused me to remember my one low battery event when I arrived home with 6% range remaining. At the time I thought that was plenty of reserve but I didn't think about my 5 miles going uphill into our foothills in terms of the voltage sag it would cause.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Kenz

cduzz

Member
Jun 6, 2019
383
432
boston ma
That is a really good tip since the final straw that often pushes the car into shut-down mode is not the SoC per se but the drop in voltage from load.

I had not connected the dots here, so thanks.
Your post caused me to remember my one low battery event when I arrived home with 6% range remaining. At the time I thought that was plenty of reserve but I didn't think about my 5 miles going uphill into our foothills in terms of the voltage sag it would cause.

Does anyone know one way or the other if the preconditioning for supercharging is disabled if the battery is below a certain capacity? I've noticed that I can put an enormous load on my car just with the HVAC, I suspect the battery heaters are similarly capable of nuking any remaining capacity if they turn on when there isn't enough there there.
 

SageBrush

REJECT Fascism
May 7, 2015
12,224
15,131
New Mexico
Does anyone know one way or the other if the preconditioning for supercharging is disabled if the battery is below a certain capacity? I've noticed that I can put an enormous load on my car just with the HVAC, I suspect the battery heaters are similarly capable of nuking any remaining capacity if they turn on when there isn't enough there there.
IIRC pre-conditioning only happens when SoC is > 20%
 
  • Like
Reactions: Kenz

derkan

June Bug
Jul 25, 2016
149
139
Orange County, CA
Possibly the car doesn't actually know exactly where the bottom is until it asks for power and doesn't get it, at which point it is too late. When doing some work at a machine tool factory I stepped on the top of a suspended ceiling (and went through, down onto the conference table 6 feet below)

I've never ventured to the bottom of my car's range (10% is as low as I trust) -- it would be nice if it really aggressively limits power output. 15-25 mph for the last 5 miles is better than 65 for the last 1 mile then 0mph for the remaining 4. Only the most adventure seeking among us would intentionally venture into that punishment room. It is probably slightly hazardous to have the car limit speed to 20 mph, but it is also hazardous to just shut off.

I'm sure many meetings took place at Tesla to discuss how to deal with this; we don't get the minutes to those meetings, just the deliverable...
There was a post somewhere discussing the first 6% of supposed state of charge aren't to be trusted for accuracy. The story there was, when planning trips that end up with SOC of 6% or less at next charging stop, don't trust it. Since that post I started considering 6% the new 0%.
 
  • Helpful
  • Like
Reactions: Kenz and Rocky_H

doghousePVD

My grandfather’s car
Dec 3, 2018
587
472
New England, USA
Technically it is very hard to determine exactly how much energy is left in a battery. It is not an exact science. The results depend temperature (of batteries, cable, motors), prior discharge or regen, suddenness of changes in consumption or regen, etc.

Detecting how much gasoline is in a tank is trivial. Gasoline cars do not tell you the exact # of miles left. Even so, no gas gauge measures the last bit of gasoline in tablespoons, just "E" and flashing.
 

Hugh-SG

Member
Jun 3, 2019
89
96
Vancovuer, BC
I think one giant leap Tesla could make it to eliminate "miles remaining" and just show "percentage remaining", just like a phone. At least have this on by default.

Mis read what you said, so let me edit this.

I would like to see them show both SOC and Distance remaining estimates instead of just one or the other..

Food for thought,
Cheers, Hugh-SG
 
Last edited:

immolated

Member
Oct 3, 2016
223
291
Las Vegas
Mis read what you said, so let me edit this.

I would like to see them show both SOC and Distance remaining estimates instead of just one or the other..

Food for thought,
Cheers, Hugh-SG

This is possible, if you have miles remaining on the dash, you can also see your current and estimated destination battery % with the energy graph up.
 

cpa

Active Member
May 17, 2014
3,055
3,800
Central Valley
This is possible, if you have miles remaining on the dash, you can also see your current and estimated destination battery % with the energy graph up.

True, but only if you are navigating to a destination. I cannot speak for others, but I have no need to show destinations to places that I have been to before. Having to dial into a destination just adds another layer of crap on the dashboard and touchscreen that is superfluous.
 

Bluesmoods

New Member
Oct 2, 2019
4
2
Los Angeles
It was bound to happen to me. For years I was bragging that I regularly drive my car down to single digits and it has never shut down. Now it finally did. And to punish me a little extra for my big mouth, it happened at 3:30 am just before the exit for the supercharger. I could literally see it. There goes the theory that the car will allow you to go a little extra if you are heading to a charger.

It was totally my own fault. I was pulling a trailer and my energy consumption was about double. At higher discharge rates the voltage drops faster and earlier at the end. I had 1 mile left when it shut down.

A few things to keep in mind when that happens:
Pull over as soon as you can. You have 5-10 seconds from the message popping up to loosing all motor power.

Since the 12 Volt battery isn't charged any more, get out of the car and let it be. This is your best bet to keep the 12 Volt battery alive until the tow truck arrives. Roll down the windows. When the 12 Volt battery dies opening or closing the door can break the windows.

Remember 'tow mode' is under the service tab.

Always have one of those external battery chargers for your phone. You are going to make many calls and do a lot of Googleing to find nearby chargers, and take lots of pictures and videos of your adventure LOL

The tow attachment thingy that came with my car is under the carpet in the frunk and you have to take the nose cone off to attach it. Just to mess with you when you are already stressed out, Tesla used a left tightening thread on it. WTF? I recommend making yourself familiar with your car and how it works so you know what to do in the situation.

One of those compact jump start battery packs can be a life saver. If you have to wait very long and the 12 Volt battery dies on you, you can't even plug in to charge the car. You first have to bring the 12 Volt system alive. One of those little batteries will do the job.

Always have a jacket and extra cloths in your car. Prepared as I am I was in my flip flops and shorts coming from California and freezing my butt off waiting at night in Iowa.

I wish Tesla would give the driver a little more time before cutting off power. The time you have might not be enough on a busy freeway and find a safe place to stop. There is zero heads up. I had ScanMyTesla app running and couldn't see any indicator that would have given a hit. The only thing that gives you some idea is the power limiter. If it's down to 80 kW, you are very close to a shut down. In general it helps a lot to drive very carefully and gentle when the battery is very low. By driving super careful I was able to get to 0 % without a shut down countless times. In this case, I didn't pay attention and kept driving at normal speed. With the trailer that was 60-80 kW.
 

Bluesmoods

New Member
Oct 2, 2019
4
2
Los Angeles
It was bound to happen to me. For years I was bragging that I regularly drive my car down to single digits and it has never shut down. Now it finally did. And to punish me a little extra for my big mouth, it happened at 3:30 am just before the exit for the supercharger. I could literally see it. There goes the theory that the car will allow you to go a little extra if you are heading to a charger.

It was totally my own fault. I was pulling a trailer and my energy consumption was about double. At higher discharge rates the voltage drops faster and earlier at the end. I had 1 mile left when it shut down.

A few things to keep in mind when that happens:
Pull over as soon as you can. You have 5-10 seconds from the message popping up to loosing all motor power.

Since the 12 Volt battery isn't charged any more, get out of the car and let it be. This is your best bet to keep the 12 Volt battery alive until the tow truck arrives. Roll down the windows. When the 12 Volt battery dies opening or closing the door can break the windows.

Remember 'tow mode' is under the service tab.

Always have one of those external battery chargers for your phone. You are going to make many calls and do a lot of Googleing to find nearby chargers, and take lots of pictures and videos of your adventure LOL

The tow attachment thingy that came with my car is under the carpet in the frunk and you have to take the nose cone off to attach it. Just to mess with you when you are already stressed out, Tesla used a left tightening thread on it. WTF? I recommend making yourself familiar with your car and how it works so you know what to do in the situation.

One of those compact jump start battery packs can be a life saver. If you have to wait very long and the 12 Volt battery dies on you, you can't even plug in to charge the car. You first have to bring the 12 Volt system alive. One of those little batteries will do the job.

Always have a jacket and extra cloths in your car. Prepared as I am I was in my flip flops and shorts coming from California and freezing my butt off waiting at night in Iowa.

I wish Tesla would give the driver a little more time before cutting off power. The time you have might not be enough on a busy freeway and find a safe place to stop. There is zero heads up. I had ScanMyTesla app running and couldn't see any indicator that would have given a hit. The only thing that gives you some idea is the power limiter. If it's down to 80 kW, you are very close to a shut down. In general it helps a lot to drive very carefully and gentle when the battery is very low. By driving super careful I was able to get to 0 % without a shut down countless times. In this case, I didn't pay attention and kept driving at normal speed. With the trailer that was 60-80 kW.

Thanks for posting this. I guess as a Pilot, I use the same logistics and strategy similar to flying a jet airplane. I figure the amount of energy required to reach my destination + a 25 mile reserve. So whatever that number is, it becomes "My" zero percent. Never have an issue and never experience range anxiety. Full disclosure...I have a new AWD extended range version and really have not traveled too far as of yet. Use my formula and you will never have an issue...
 
  • Like
Reactions: Rocky_H

About Us

Formed in 2006, Tesla Motors Club (TMC) was the first independent online Tesla community. Today it remains the largest and most dynamic community of Tesla enthusiasts. Learn more.

Do you value your experience at TMC? Consider becoming a Supporting Member of Tesla Motors Club. As a thank you for your contribution, you'll get nearly no ads in the Community and Groups sections. Additional perks are available depending on the level of contribution. Please visit the Account Upgrades page for more details.


SUPPORT TMC
Top