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Sub-zero weather: is there a point where the Tesla should stay at home?

Discussion in 'Model S: Battery & Charging' started by Argelius, Jan 1, 2014.

  1. Argelius

    Argelius Member

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    I've read a good bit of info here about cold weather's effect on range, etc. I'm just curious if there's a point where it's not good to be driving the Tesla when it will be sitting out (not connected to a outlet).

    Early next week, the highs in Chicago will be below zero.

    I have about a 50 mile (round trip) commute and at work my car is in the open (not a parking garage) with no access to charging.

    I remember a couple of weeks ago when it was in the teens, when I returned to my car to head home, I got the "regeneration has been disabled, drive with caution" (or something like that) warning, which went away after 10 minutes or so of driving.

    I'm still operating under the assumption that as long as I start out every morning with a "full tank" and "preheat" the car before heading home from work, everything is safe. Just curious about if things get more dicey with sub-zero temps (and, as I said, my car sitting out in an exposed parking lot for 8 hours).

    Thanks for your thoughts!
     
  2. Cottonwood

    Cottonwood Roadster#433, Model S#S37

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    The car has been through some cold weather tests and seems to be pretty good at protecting itself. Going through the Colorado winter, I often blame design decisions on "Palo Alto, Silicon Valley" engineers, but I think the car does a pretty good job of protecting itself.

    I'm not sure that you even have to do the pre-heat; I am also guessing that your overall range after a cold soak will be better if you use the battery energy for motive force and let the car heat as it goes. On the other hand, if I am not range challenged, I always preheat in the winter. It is such a nice, comfort luxury.

    The bottom line is "just drive it" with the understanding that the colder it is, the less range you will have.
     
  3. Lloyd

    Lloyd Active Member

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    Tesla says in the manual not to expose the battery to temperatures less than -30C (-22F) for more than 24 hours. Thus if you come home and have the car in a garage charging you should be OK. You will use more energy for you commute, but you should have ample for a 50 mile trip.
     
  4. jerry33

    jerry33 S85 - VIN:P05130 - 3/2/13

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    There won't be a problem with a 50 mile round trip. A normal daily charge will do just fine. You lose about 25% at 0F, and if there is new fallen snow that you have to plow through it's possible to lose another 20%. However, with new fallen snow the temperatures are likely to be above 0F. The only time I would be concerned is if the temperatures were -22F or lower.
     
  5. Argelius

    Argelius Member

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    Thanks, all -- appreciate your reassurance. My main concern isn't range (since I know even under the worst circumstances, I have an ample buffer).
     
  6. dave

    dave Member

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    I'm tossing around the idea of moving back to Winnipeg to be closer to family. Although it's last on my list of things to worry about, I do wonder if I'd bring the Tesla. It was -50 last night (with the windchill). Not sure how my baby would do in that...
     
  7. Doug_G

    Doug_G Lead Moderator

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    Wind only affects how fast the car cools to ambient - it cannot actually make it colder than ambient.

    I have no hesitation driving my car in extreme cold conditions, whether charging is available at my destination or not. I drove it all through last winter with nary a concern. We get more extreme winters here than most Americans will ever see.
     
  8. islandbayy

    islandbayy Active Member

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    Don't worry about the cold unless your going to be cutting it close on range. At 0 degrees F, take 30%-40% off your rated range to compensate for heat, battery warmer, and other electronics and inefficiencies at those temps.
    It just took me about 200 miles of range to go 125 miles on my 60kW. Otherwise, 50 mile round trip in any of the cars is no problem. I did not plug in last night at -4 degrees. I parked with 138 miles on the Rated Range, and this morning after 14 hours of sitting, had 135 miles left.

    - - - Updated - - -


    Would be no problem. Would you have a garage to park in at night? Only thing at those temps is to make sure it's plugged in every night when not in use. Even if it's not charging, once it hits a certain temp, the pack warmer will kick in and heat the battery. Even if your not charging. Don't worry at all. I have been experimenting when it was -11 the other night, and it will be -8 F tomorrow night with a -25 windchill. No problem what so ever. And even better yet if you can pre-heat on Grid Power.
     
  9. yobigd20

    yobigd20 Well-Known Member

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    With a 50 miles round trip, you have absolutely no worries whatsoever about outside temperatures. You could have 100 mile round trip, and only need to charge to 80%, and still have absolutely no worries about range. In 15 degree weather, going with CC @ 95mph, you'll still only use about 450Wh/mile with the heat on, again so you're fine. Just one of the reasons why that extra range from the 85kW pack is handy.
     
  10. Argelius

    Argelius Member

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    Alas, the cold wasn't the problem! The curse of a RWD car (with no snow tires) + 12' of snow + never-plowed Chicago alleys = trapped Tesla. I was hoping that heavy battery would be able to overcome the traction problem, but, alas, it wasn't to be...
     
  11. jerry33

    jerry33 S85 - VIN:P05130 - 3/2/13

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    Without snow tires, it doesn't matter whether it's RWD, FWD, or AWD. You have to be very skilled and lucky.
     
  12. tezco

    tezco Sig P85

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    I plow through 24" of snow in my 1/2 mile driveway with ease in my '97 Audi A8 on all-seasons.
     
  13. kota23

    kota23 Member

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    Whenever I'm entering the alley in Chicago with all this snow I move the suspension to high or very high and haven't had an issue of being stuck.
     
  14. neroden

    neroden Happy Model S Owner

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    I drove like that for almost a week in Michigan, and it tended to go away after, uh, an hour or so of driving. Losing regen hurts range, and you need to remember to use the brakes, but it doesn't hurt the car.

    Having done some worst-case driving in the last two weeks, I can say that you will be able to do your commute -- but you probably want to range-charge in the morning before you leave. You can expect to get no worse than 600 wh/mi -- do your own computations and you'll see why I recommend range charging.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Oh, I'm so sorry. I don't think you can overcome 12 feet of snow in any car, though. :)
     
  15. Argelius

    Argelius Member

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    As the OP, I thought I'd follow up. After several days with the high temperature failing to go above zero, I have to give my Tesla high marks. While there was a noticeable reduction in range (? 15%), it was never of concern. The car performed flawlessly (with the exception of navigating down the snow-laden, unplowed alley, which even SUVs had some trouble with). So awesome to have the car all heated up for me before driving it.
     
  16. neroden

    neroden Happy Model S Owner

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    My pro tip: get out of the unplowed alley, then pull over somewhere clear, get out a scraper, and clean out the wheel wells. This eliminates the biggest drag on mileage which I've discovered so far.
     

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