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SR / SR+ owners really need Boardman OR!

acarney

Active Member
Jul 9, 2019
2,517
1,562
Richland, WA
Man, had to drive home from Seattle last night when the pass was restricted to chains only and then closed for awhile due to accidents. I went south to Vancouver and then along I-84 back up to the Tri Cities in my SR+ and I really could have used a Boardman, OR supercharger!

My 2019 SR+ is running 18" xIce winter tires at 45psi with aero caps on. Due to heavy rain from Seattle to Vancouver I noticed I was averaging about 315 wh/mi with an average speed around 50 to 60 mph (heavy traffic most the way). I had the heat set to about 68F and was using the heated seat on 2 and 3 during the segment.

I paid closer attention to my efficiency between Vancouver, WA and The Dalles since it was still very heavy rain with a lot of standing water on the roadway. At a steady 65 mph with same climate settings my usage increased to 328 wh/mi or a range of approx 152 miles if I used 100% to 0% of the battery. From the Dalles supercharger to my home in Richland, WA is 147 miles. To the Kennewick, WA supercharger is 130 miles, and to Pendleton Supercharger is 134 miles.

Obviously charging above 80% takes MUCH longer. There were only two cars at the Dalles supercharger (counting myself) so I didn't feel like I was hogging it up or anything and I was fine with a nice rest, so I spend about 40 to 50 minutes charging to 94% (approx 47kWh on a battery with no degradation). At my previous efficiency this gave me a maximum range of 143 miles. I would be a little short of getting home, but I should be able to make either of those superchargers. I also had checked the radar and saw that about 20 miles East of the Dalles the rain stopped but it picked up again right about at the I-82 interchange. I gambled that I could reduce my power usage and make it. Sure enough roads dried up and with setting the heat back down to about 66F I was able to drop down to about 280 wh/mi, I felt fairly safe that I would make it home but was a little cool and going 65 mph when the speed limit in this area was actually 70 mph. Going eastbound you actually climb at a fairly gradual slope for a long time. It started raining again about 10 miles before the I-82 interchange and I saw my power usage creep up a little bit again.What I DID NOT expect was that as soon as I crossed the river and into WA there was a BUNCH of snow and slush on the highway. I would say between 1 and 2 inches between slush and fresh powder. Even with slowing down to about 50 mph due to the heavy snow my power usage went way up and I started getting worried again a little bit. I cut the heat back even more (down to 62 F) and stopped using the heated seat. It's only about 30 miles but any gains I had made from slower driving and lower heat from the Dalles to this point started being washed away.

I ended up pulling in at home with about 7% battery left. That sounds like a lot when my destination is my home and I can plug in as soon as I get out of the car... but when you think about options it's not very much. That was approx 11 or 12 miles and even at the best ~225 wh/mi would have been about 16 miles. That could have got me over to the Kennewick supercharger but not really many other options since I don't have a chademo adapter and level 2 would have been painful at 1am in the morning after leaving Seattle at 3pm.

If it had been solid rain from the Dalles I don't think I would have made it without setting the heat down to 60F the whole time or even turning it off for segments. Personally I can deal with that on these edge cases (bad weather, winter tires, standing water, low temps, etc) BUT, if I had a passenger I think they would have thought it was NUTS to buy a Tesla Model 3... especially when I spent ~$42k on it. If I had kids I think they would have been upset at 60 to 64F and the back seats aren't heated. Heating the passenger seat would also have added to the drain and if we ever get a chance to activate the rear seats, families are going to see a much larger power drain with all four running.

We've come a long way and I think the SR+ is suitable for most cases (it got me home after all), but man you really have to think about the weather and your driving habits still. 240 miles of range turned into ~150 miles and could have been like 140 miles if I hadn't had a break in the rain.

Tesla needs to get on Oregon and build out more superchargers. They're doing a bang up job in WA right now, but having to charge to 90%+ is slow and painful AND uses a space up much longer than it should.

(I wouldn't have actually had much luck with the Chademo adapter either since there is only a single location in Arlington that's said to only be 25kW! Otherwise I would have had to overshoot a little bit into Hermiston to use the ones at Space Age Fuel. After driving there and backtracking, a 15 minute charge would only have gained me an additional 30 miles based on this trips power usage. Could be the difference between home and not, but for $450 for the adapter AND another 15 minutes on a 10 hr trip for what normally takes under 4 hours that's rough...)
 
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IdaX

Member
Dec 27, 2016
428
523
Moscow, Idaho
Thanks for the story! The other Teslas that could really use it are those towing -- I've charged at that 25kW "fast"-charger to help me get south into California from Kennewick supercharger. I mean, I charge at 17kW at home on my Tesla HPWC! 25kW is just painful. I'd really appreciate a Boardman supercharger too!
 

acarney

Active Member
Jul 9, 2019
2,517
1,562
Richland, WA
Thanks for the story! The other Teslas that could really use it are those towing -- I've charged at that 25kW "fast"-charger to help me get south into California from Kennewick supercharger. I mean, I charge at 17kW at home on my Tesla HPWC! 25kW is just painful. I'd really appreciate a Boardman supercharger too!

Ya, I didn’t even think about towing. I kind of wrote that off as an option after Engineering Explained (YouTube channel) put out a video comparing Tesla’s towing ability to that of a Ford or something. The guy is a Tesla Model 3 owner and loves it, so he wasn’t bashing against Tesla, but the physics just isn’t there yet with energy storage compared to gas.

I would be stressed if I waited for a Y instead and had to tow, lol.
 
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ReddyLeaf

Active Member
Mar 19, 2014
1,635
2,627
WA State
Thx for the info. I meant to drive around Boardman on my last trip through. Towing with the Y will absolutely require Boardman.
 

acarney

Active Member
Jul 9, 2019
2,517
1,562
Richland, WA
Thx for the info. I meant to drive around Boardman on my last trip through. Towing with the Y will absolutely require Boardman.

I keep hoping we'll see a couple more Oregon locations soon based on how much activity Washington state has had (7 or 8 new sites in the last year?) but it seems like nothing...

Three or four sites could help a lot with Oregon.
If you can make it in the worst of conditions, then what's the problem? ;)

That I almost didn't, and that you have to charge to ~95% or more on the SR/SR+. I feel like going from 75% to 95% almost takes 15 to 20 minutes on it's own. I would much rather stop 15 to 20 minutes at the Dalles and then another 15 to 20 minutes in Boardman than sit at the Dalles for 45+ minutes (especially at 10pm at night when nothing is open)

Also, if I hadn't had dry road between the Dalles and the I-82 interchange I would either have not made it, or it would have been extremely close (like 2 to 3% battery by the time I got home). I also would have charged to 100% instead of 94%, which I think it was estimating was going to take another 15 minutes or so... I was down to only about 12kW by the time I hit 94%.

For a 5 spot supercharger planning at least 40+ minutes in the winter for any of the short range cars or cars towing anything is rough. Everywhere else on my trip I was 25 minutes or less, and even at the max of 25 minutes I had extra range by the time I reached my next point (it was mainly I was watching a video or finishing up some food or something).

Also, it's a little ridiculous that in a $40k+ car I have to turn off the heat during segments to make my trip or run it very low (most people would find 60 to 65F too cold, especially women). I think if I had a passenger they would have walked away saying that was the last time we used the Tesla for a road trip (even if they didn't have any sense of worry on not making it but just had to deal with the long charge stop and the cold cabin).

Boardman could solve all those issues. Even at a high 365 wh/mi (which I assume I would be able to stay under even in heavy rain with a 68 to 70F heat setting) that segment would require only 58% of the battery. That means I just need to charge to 70% at the Dalles to roll into Boardman with ~12% (16 miles) left on the battery. A charge to 70% at the Dalles would still be a manageable charge of like 25 to 30 minutes rather than 45+ and rolling into Boardman that low would put me in the peak fast charging range. Rolling into the Tri Cities would only eat up about 19kWh (if using that high 365 wh/mi) which would be a quick 15 minute or less stop in Boardman. Pendleton would even be a shorter charge.

In the winter and in rain/snow road conditions having this location as a supercharger would allow all cars to follow the more ideal 15 to 20 minute charge stop and keep the turnover rate on the stalls pretty high. In the summer it probably would get skipped more often but still adds another option and might actually be a stop point from Portland eastbound travel instead of the Dalles (SR+ should be able to get there with 265 wh/mi or less if leaving Portland full). Obviously Tesla knows this since it's identified on their map... I'm just really disappointed we've seen zero build out for 12+ months in Oregon when they're been knocking it out in WA so much.
 
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PLUS EV

Running on Empty
Sep 16, 2016
6,260
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Seattle
If you can make it in the worst of conditions, then what's the problem? ;)
I was thinking the same thing. He didn't even have to stop at the Kennewick supercharger. He made it all the way home with miles to spare.

No offense @acarney but you bought a SHORT RANGE car and you are complaining about little stuff like the extra few minutes it takes to top off from 75-95% and the fact that you nearly had to detour to the Kennewick supercharger rather than drive straight home. The real takeaway here is that there was basically no chance that you were going to run out of juice driving the 130 miles between The Dalles supercharger and the Kennewick supercharger in your short range car in the middle of winter. Sure, Boardman will save you a few minutes when it opens, but let's not act like this is some type of emergency.
 

PLUS EV

Running on Empty
Sep 16, 2016
6,260
9,668
Seattle
Also the Denny's is always open and it's walking distance from the Dalles supercharger.

And if you're trying to hypermile, you should kill the heat completely and only use the seat heaters. You blundered there by turning the seat heater off and using heat instead. You should probably research the basics of hypermiling if you are taking a short range Tesla on long trips in the winter.
 
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acarney

Active Member
Jul 9, 2019
2,517
1,562
Richland, WA
I was thinking the same thing. He didn't even have to stop at the Kennewick supercharger. He made it all the way home with miles to spare.

No offense @acarney but you bought a SHORT RANGE car and you are complaining about little stuff like the extra few minutes it takes to top off from 75-95% and the fact that you nearly had to detour to the Kennewick supercharger rather than drive straight home. The real takeaway here is that there was basically no chance that you were going to run out of juice driving the 130 miles between The Dalles supercharger and the Kennewick supercharger in your short range car in the middle of winter. Sure, Boardman will save you a few minutes when it opens, but let's not act like this is some type of emergency.

It’s actually a Standard Range, not short. Yes, I know what car I bought and I thought I wouldn’t ever be in a position like this because I don’t tend to hit the beach or national parks or places off major interstates. What I’m saying is you have to be REALLY aware at what bad weather can do. I had sort of assumed losing 30% range would basically be a worst case, but in this situation it was almost 40%. I honestly don’t think I would have made it if the roads had been soaking the whole way back from the Dalles to Tri Cities.

I didn’t swing by the Kennewick supercharger because I’m less than 10 miles away from it, so I felt comfortable at that distance of rolling home slowly if it really came down to it or something. BUT, the distance between Pendleton and the Dalles isn’t much shorter. I wouldn’t consider one supercharger to the next a “long trip.” If someone only charged to 90% that segment would use all the battery at 335 Wh/mi, which I very much saw at 65mph with standing water and again with snow and slush on the road. I feel like a lot of owners may not be the kind of people that hang out here that are checking weather radar maps before departing, absolutely NOT trusting the Tesla when it says “ten minutes left before you continue on your trip” [I ended up charging for an additional 30 minutes after the Tesla told me I was good to go]

I’ve been getting loads of questions about the car and people always asking if it’s difficult or where do I charge, etc. My answers have always been that realistically you’ll never get the 240 mile range on the freeway, but probably like 180 or so and there are enough superchargers around that you don’t need to worry unless you’re heading away from interstates or to national parks or the beach or something. I also say that it’s pretty simple with charge for X amount of minutes and you’re usually good to go, but it doesn’t hurt to spend another 5 minutes or so for a little buffer. Well after this I might change what I say and explain that you do have to do a little critical thinking during winter months.

I also do hate tying up 1/5 of a supercharger for essentially an hour just to be able to make it for the next segment. I haven’t been in that position yet, but I know I would feel horrible if I was charging at 10-20kW while I saw someone else waiting to use the supercharger.

Finally, I do believe Tesla’s estimation of energy usage is way better than anyone else’s, but I think there is room for improvements. With how connected these cars are, and how smart they are, Tesla probably could really refine the system for account for fluctuating variables like weather and temperature. They could pull wind speed data into the equation and even radar info (if they don’t already) AND they could look at energy usage from other Tesla’s on the route in the last hour or something. They could look at base rated efficiency of the S, X, 3, etc. The look at the energy load from heating and if headlights are being used, etc. Look at the energy from the speed they’re traveling, and finally any additional energy requirements could probably safely be assumed on road conditions (water, snow, etc). Update a model every five minutes or so and than use that to calculate charge time requirements.

A driver that’s aware can make these adjustments while on route but I suspect a large majority of the masses wouldn’t pay that close of attention, especially based on the more frequent posts here of people asking what’s wrong when they can’t get the “full” range of their new Model 3. The cars are the best out there, but there still can be a really steep learning curve for a lot of new owners...
 
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acarney

Active Member
Jul 9, 2019
2,517
1,562
Richland, WA
Also the Denny's is always open and it's walking distance from the Dalles supercharger.

And if you're trying to hypermile, you should kill the heat completely and only use the seat heaters. You blundered there by turning the seat heater off and using heat instead. You should probably research the basics of hypermiling if you are taking a short range Tesla on long trips in the winter.

Nice tip on the Denny’s! I obviously didn’t notice it but would have liked a hot cup of coffee and slice of pie or something. I’ll have to keep an eye out for it next time.
 

andrewFW

Member
Nov 4, 2019
158
418
Seattle area
Just my 2 cents: It's been established that a lower range tesla can make the trip in even bad conditions, but I think that, for widespread EV adoption, these trips don't have to be just possible, they have to be easy. I know that we have all adapted to the additional thinking that goes with long distance EV trip planning, but I don't think it should be required of everyone.

This tends to be an unpopular opinion: I know/agree that most people don't need >200miles of range and DC fast chargers everywhere, but while having those things might not make a functional difference in most peoples' driving habits, they do make a huge mental difference in the perceived acceptability of EVs by non-EV owners. Most people don't care about their car, they just want to get to where they're going without having to think about it. A higher range and an visible abundance of fast chargers gets an EV in their garage, then they get an L2 charger installed, almost never fast charge, and almost never let the range dip below 150. Whatever it takes to get these cars in garages.

Again, I'm speaking in generics about one large part of the population here. (mostly commuting suburbanites with a garage or driveway). I'm not talking about PLUS EV or other folks frequent long distance travelers that do absolutely need the range and charging network.
 
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acarney

Active Member
Jul 9, 2019
2,517
1,562
Richland, WA
Just my 2 cents: It's been established that a lower range tesla can make the trip in even bad conditions, but I think that, for widespread EV adoption, these trips don't have to be just possible, they have to be easy. I know that we have all adapted to the additional thinking that goes with long distance EV trip planning, but I don't think it should be required of everyone.

This tends to be an unpopular opinion: I know/agree that most people don't need >200miles of range and DC fast chargers everywhere, but while having those things might not make a functional difference in most peoples' driving habits, they do make a huge mental difference in the perceived acceptability of EVs by non-EV owners. Most people don't care about their car, they just want to get to where they're going without having to think about it. A higher range and an visible abundance of fast chargers gets an EV in their garage, then they get an L2 charger installed, almost never fast charge, and almost never let the range dip below 150. Whatever it takes to get these cars in garages.

Again, I'm speaking in generics about one large part of the population here. (mostly commuting suburbanites with a garage or driveway). I'm not talking about PLUS EV or other folks frequent long distance travelers that do absolutely need the range and charging network.

And I completely agree. I made it, and to be honest I wasn’t terribly stressed because I had been watching it on the previous leg and adjusting my calculations for the final leg. I also pulled up the freaking weather to look at the radar image for precipitation. Your normal entry level BMW/Merc owner... they skip the $37k gas car and go for a $40k SR+. Do you think they’re going to be checking the weather to calculate into their range? Do you think they will take the capacity of the battery (50,000 wh) and divide by 328 Wh/mi to figure out realistically what their max range is? I almost guarantee you they will NOT be turning off the heat early on to try and extend range. They might do it as a last ditch effort when they have 10% left and 50+ miles or something and they realize they won’t make it...

Again, this isn’t a trip out to the country and back where someone can point out that maybe they just need to rethink using the Tesla for “remote” vacations like that. This is a major interstate and even if you don’t factor into my house it’s between two Tesla superchargers and in continuous rain with a normal person’s amount of heat (68F) I don’t think you would make it at 70 mph (I was at 65mph). I 100% know you wouldn’t make it if you left when Tesla said it would ok to do so (I believe around 70% SOC).

The more mass market you make it the more you either need to have extra range (300 and 400 mile options for these price points) OR tighter supercharger spacing (80 to 100 mi, not 130 mi), or a much more refined estimation algorithm.

I believe Tesla has all the tools to improve the estimation to include most of the changing conditions (speed, weather, temperature, etc). Look at your historical driving record (on 35mph and under streets do you tend to go 5mph over the limit. On 35-50mph streets do you go over/under, on 50+ mph, etc) and build that into the algorithm. If you usually do 80 on a 70 road and Tesla knows the route is 70mph, run the estimation using energy usage at 80mph. Look at my heater usage for the last 1 hour duration before connecting to the superchargers, is it on or off, am I adding an extra 100 Wh/mi because of that... go ahead and assume I’ll keep doing that and build it into the estimation.

Then at least drivers have more confidence in their battery and car. I can do the math, you can do it, some average person out there might not be able to, or think of doing it, especially if a spouse bought the car or convinced them to get it.

The other way is increasing supercharger density, at least along major interstates. Tesla is doing a good job of that, but not fast enough. Oregon has sat for like 14 months with zero build outs while WA has had like 8 new sites come online or have ground broken. I don’t know if this is a capital issue (I doubt it though based on how readily they take on debt for expansion) or a staff issue. They might just need more people working on getting the contractors and deals done.
 
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acarney

Active Member
Jul 9, 2019
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Richland, WA
For comparison, you would need a very small tank (~8 gal) and a horribly inefficient car (~19mpg) to be in the situation I was in. I absolutely think there are times where your 24mpg suv is sports car dips down to 18-20mpg... BUT, I don’t think I’ve ever seen one with less than a 15 gallon tank, and most at like 18-20 gallon.

The cars with a small 8 or 9 gallon tank usually get like 34mpg and at the worst will probably drop to like 22mpg, still a healthy ~175 mi range.

The argument of “you don’t get the rates mpg in a gas car” is absolutely valid, but their ease of having a much larger buffer is far greater then in an EV (the best EV, I would PANIC if I had a Bolt or something!) They WILL be fearful if they were told this story by a friend. They won’t want to cut it this close. They won’t want to pay a lot AND feel like they don’t have enough.

Adding in “but I stopped half way when I realized I needed to charge again and 15 minutes later I was on my way” goes a LONG way to remove those fears. Just like above, it goes from being possible, to easy.

Everything Tesla did was for making it easy. Now they just need to really focus on filling in those little gaps.
 
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Hebert

Member
Apr 28, 2019
138
125
Peoria, AZ
I travel to Oregon often with my 231 mile X75D. I bought the Chademo adapter soon after I bought my X to make those trips easy. There are lots of Chademos scattered around Oregon. With the adapter in my frunk, I really don't worry traveling around the state. On one trip from Pendleton to the Dalles, I hit sustained 40mph headwinds, the Chademo in Arlington was the only way I made it to the Dalles.
 
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PLUS EV

Running on Empty
Sep 16, 2016
6,260
9,668
Seattle
Nice tip on the Denny’s! I obviously didn’t notice it but would have liked a hot cup of coffee and slice of pie or something. I’ll have to keep an eye out for it next time.
You can also zoom in on the Nav and view nearby businesses. I usually do this while in Autopilot before I get to a supercharger, but you can also do it after you plug in of course.
 

acarney

Active Member
Jul 9, 2019
2,517
1,562
Richland, WA
I travel to Oregon often with my 231 mile X75D. I bought the Chademo adapter soon after I bought my X to make those trips easy. There are lots of Chademos scattered around Oregon. With the adapter in my frunk, I really don't worry traveling around the state. On one trip from Pendleton to the Dalles, I hit sustained 40mph headwinds, the Chademo in Arlington was the only way I made it to the Dalles.

And I think that's the only Chademo on the route between those two superchargers....
 

ReddyLeaf

Active Member
Mar 19, 2014
1,635
2,627
WA State
.....snip.... I also do hate tying up 1/5 of a supercharger for essentially an hour just to be able to make it for the next segment. I haven’t been in that position yet, but I know I would feel horrible if I was charging at 10-20kW while I saw someone else waiting to use the supercharger......
Don’t worry about that. Just charge as needed. I’ve had to let it go to near 100%, over 90 min, when the weather or wind is really bad. The more people that do this, clogging up the stalls, the faster Tesla will fix the problem. This certainly doesn’t rise anywhere near the overloaded holiday conditions around SD-LA-SF-Vegas.

Unfortunately, the Dalles is the worst SC, and eastern OR is still ignored. That was an early build just like Ellensburg, when Teslas weren’t selling in such high numbers. They just completely screwed up, not realizing that eight units would be required so quickly or that additional installations in rural, conservative areas would take so much time or effort. Personally, I think Biggs (junction with 97) would have been a better 1st location, with Hood River and Boardman as fill-in.

Unfortunately, hotel locations like this one are often ICEd late evening to morning (you were lucky to get a spot because it’s winter, summer is the worst). Second, it’s a small parking lot and that hotel is highly used by large trucks of construction/contractors/utilities/railroads for overnights. Another problem is the lack of decent food options nearby and the lousy walk to get to them (heavily traveled polluting traffic road). Finally, this is a connecting SC so just about everyone wants to get into Portland or onto their next stop east. I’ve only spent the night in the town due to a weather emergency. I even drove through it with my 2011 Leaf (70 mi range) and stayed West of Portland.

BTW, walking to Starbucks is just barely possible if arriving empty and walking fast(I walk through the park for less noise and cleaner air. Right on Ash, left on 7th, right on Walnut, left at the park, walk along the fence and it comes out right near a shopping area with Starbucks at the other end, ~15 min. Also, I really like Casa el Mirador, otherside of freeway, but the walk isn’t enjoyable.
 
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ReddyLeaf

Active Member
Mar 19, 2014
1,635
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WA State
I drove around Boardman last week and there wasn’t any sign of construction or hints of anything. There’s a new hotel under construction, but no Tesla boxes visible. :(
 

acarney

Active Member
Jul 9, 2019
2,517
1,562
Richland, WA
I drove around Boardman last week and there wasn’t any sign of construction or hints of anything. There’s a new hotel under construction, but no Tesla boxes visible. :(

I've been checking OneCall daily and Oregon permits weekly (or so) and haven't noticed any activity that would suggest Tesla is starting construction. Someone needs to make a good contact with Blackstone Construction since they seem to be the main contractor for superchargers in the Pacific Northwest... I doubt Tesla gives them MUCH heads up, but they might know plans a little more in advance then permit requests show.

Tesla does seem to be focused on OR this year... I think three superchargers are permitted or under construction, maybe four. I'm hoping they'll get a couple more going before winter starts to set in and they slow down/pause. Boardman and Hood River could be huge improvements, especially if V3....

That said, I'm seriously considering a Model Y Long Range or LR Model 3... my SR+ has held it's value really pretty well and with the recent price cuts the LR doesn't seem that irresponsible upgrading to.... Curious about that heat pump in the winter with the Model Y. Heat pumps aren't known for being much more efficient than resistive heating when temps are really cold (30 and below) and honestly that's really the only time I've had concern with how much energy the heating system takes. When temps are 35 to 50F seat heaters go a long way to being comfortable with just minimal heater use. I do however highly praise the instant heat of the Model 3 and I'm concerned the heat pump would take minutes to really warm the cabin (or at least get air that physically feels hot to the driver). Also, I'm curious if it can maintain in deep cold without having to really be on it's highest setting. I would love to know the capacity of the unit, but I suspect that wouldn't help a huge amount since it sounds like Tesla has tweaked it to run slightly different than a normal heat pump would.
 
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Rocky_H

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Feb 19, 2015
6,276
7,337
Boise, ID
Also, I'm curious if it can maintain in deep cold without having to really be on it's highest setting. I would love to know the capacity of the unit, but I suspect that wouldn't help a huge amount since it sounds like Tesla has tweaked it to run slightly different than a normal heat pump would.
These kinds of things are always set up as a hybrid system, where they have another heating element they can use when the outside temperature is too cold. My house has a heat pump system with gas furnace backup. The cutoff point is set I think at about 39 degrees.
 

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