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TEMPERATURE LIMIT: -22°F (-30° C) is a no no according to user manual ???

Discussion in 'Model S: Battery & Charging' started by slyastro, Mar 6, 2013.

  1. slyastro

    slyastro Member

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    I've got a surprise by reading the Model S user manual (Page 25) :

    «Do not expose Model S to ambiant temperatures above 140° F (60°C) or below -22°F (-30°C) for more than 24 hours at a time.»

    This warning really surprises me for the cold part, because in Canada (places like Edmonton, Northern Quebec, Norther Ontario) we get temperatures below -30°C for more than 24 consecutive hours EVERY year !!

    And also, I thought that cold was GOOD for long time battery life !! At least I thought that by plugging the car, that would be no issue, no? That what the liquid cooling system is for, right, keeping the battery pack at optimum operating temperature?

    Does it mean that people living in Northern parts of Canada must have a heated garage to own a Model S ??

    Mods: I couldn't find threads discussions about this subject, feel free to correct if it's the case.
     
  2. Oyvind.H

    Oyvind.H Member

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    I spoke with an ownership advocate about this earlier.
    The warranty is not automatically void if the car is kept below -30 for more than 24 hours.
    And as long as you plug in it's no problem even below -30.

    However, I would not buy a model s if I lived somewhere with regular temperatures below -30 for long periods....
     
  3. wycolo

    wycolo Active Member

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    This winter was 'easy' with only 2 nights in a row @-15*F (-26*C). My Teslas were outside & plugged in. For future winters I plan to have some sort of garage set up. Or at least a couple of shipping containers for the Teslas. Being sealed they will moderate the temperature somewhat as long as the cars are plugged in. Cars could be covered with moving blankets, too.

    > I would not buy a model s if I lived somewhere with regular temperatures below -30 for long periods.... [Oyvind.H]

    But you would be missing the best part: being able to drive off without having to warm up the ICE. And not having to hear the painful sound of a really cold ICE (ouch!). True, the Tesla would be power-limited at these temperatures but should be able to keep up with general traffic.
    --
     
  4. Doug_G

    Doug_G Lead Moderator

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    When my Model S cold soaked all day in -28C conditions this winter, it still accelerated fairly briskly despite the power limits (that was before the App preheat feature was available). Slow for a Tesla, but still faster than most cars. And still smooth as glass.
     
  5. patp

    patp Member

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    #5 patp, Mar 6, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2013
    If you plug the car, there's no issue as car will top-off every day.

    However, I exchanged some emails with Elon and JB Straubel regarding that. Most people here got it wrong including myself. I will post eventually... But Tesla needs to be much more clearer on cold temperature.

    Good news is that Norway will help us very soon in that regard. We won't be alone ;)
     
  6. steve841

    steve841 Active Member

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    I just can't relate to this thread!

    Hello from Florida! :tongue:
     
  7. rolosrevenge

    rolosrevenge Dr. EVS

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    I would imagine that as long as it is plugged in it shouldn't matter, since it can turn its heaters to max. It will suck a lot of power though.
     
  8. Oyvind.H

    Oyvind.H Member

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    Haven't gotten into a cold car for years. The solution is called webasto with remote :)
    Anyways, I live in Norway and I'm looking forward to receiving my model s. I have no issues with being aware of the -30 "limit" every 5-10 years when I actually experience temps below -30. But on a regular basis would be stressful for me.

    One ting to add:I've read that the batteries age less in cold climates? Great for Norwegians :)
     
  9. gaswalla

    gaswalla P4201/85/airsusp/pano/19i

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    global warming should take care of this issue if given enough time
     
  10. brianman

    brianman Burrito Founder

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    Today's random question:
    Let's assume all you have available is 110V/12A. What's the minimum outside temperature at which the wall power is enough to keep the Model S battery above -22F (-30C)?

    Use whatever simplifying assumptions you like. :)
     
  11. Doug_G

    Doug_G Lead Moderator

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    I'm not sure, but if you're plugged into 110V and the ambient temperature is below -20C, by all reports it doesn't gain any mileage. It just keeps the pack warm (ish).

    I've only ever used 110V in an unheated garage, and it hasn't got quite that cold indoors, but I do find this very plausible. At -15C you might get 1 km an hour.
     
  12. brianman

    brianman Burrito Founder

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    Assuming Doug_G was replying to me...

    My question was not about the rate of gain but rather about how low in ambient temperature you can go before the 110/12 can't keep the battery warm enough.
     
  13. stopcrazypp

    stopcrazypp Well-Known Member

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    Lithium battery generally degrades slower at colder temperatures. However, there is a minimum temperature where the liquid electrolyte freezes and the battery would need to "thaw" before it is usable.

    And charging the battery below freezing causes permanent lithium plating which reduces capacity and is a huge safety issue (increase chance of failure and internal shorts which can lead to a fire). However, practically all BMS will prevent battery charging at such temperatures (for example it disables regen, and it heats the battery to the minimum temperature before it allows charging to start). That is why with a 110V socket, at extremely cold temperatures, all the power goes to heating the battery before it even starts charging. At cold enough temperatures the battery may never charge if the heat is being removed faster than it is being added.

    - - - Updated - - -

    That seems to be what I am talking about in my post. [email protected] gives 1.4kW. Then the next question is whether the power going to a resistive heater (in which case at most 1.4kW of heat being delivered) or to a heat pump (which increases that number 3-4x to 4.2kW-5.6kW, although at extremely cold temperatures this falls aback down to 1x).

    Then you have to calculate the heat transfer between the pack and ambient area, in which case you need the temperature difference of the air and the surface, the surface area, and heat transfer coefficient of the surface. Using this formula, you basically figure out Q (which would give you heat flow in watts):
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heat_transfer_coefficient
    If Q is higher than 1.4kW (or the other values for the heat pump case) then the battery will never heat to the necessary temperature.
     
  14. agentsmith1612

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    I definitly agree with you.

    In general Li-Ion battery last slower at cold temperatures. The reason is the mobility of the components. In all chemical reactions the reactions are slower at lower temperatures (at in all reactions but most). The drawback of this is that you can't get high power out of the battery because of slow reactions. For charging the same.
    If the electrolyte beginns to freeze you never get any current out or in the battery will be dead. When you heat it up again and the electrolyte will become fluid the battery is dead as well, because some components that was solved in the electrolye got precipitation.
     
  15. dsmith2189

    dsmith2189 Active Member

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    ICE vehicles do not respond well at -30F either. That's why they have oil heaters you can plug in to warm your oil on those COLD days. I can still remember my car not being able to turn over because of oil that was too thick. (at -20F if I remember correctly) and I didn't have an oil heater. I had to use a plug in heater to warm the engine compartment for about 1/2 hour to get the engine to turn over.
     
  16. Doug_G

    Doug_G Lead Moderator

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    Well, if we assume that below -20C all the energy is going into the pack heater (about 1.4 kW), and none into charging, I would assume that the pack is no longer being kept above freezing. Beyond this point the temperature of the pack will be a fixed delta to the ambient temperature (ignoring effects of wind). So I'm going to assume that the pack heater at 1.4 kW can keep the pack about 20C above ambient. If we assume that Tesla doesn't want the pack to go below -30C, since by then it reportedly heats the pack from battery power, then my wild-ass guess is that the temperature could drop to -50C if you're plugged into 110V, and there would be no extra power drawn from the battery to maintain pack temperature.

    Lots of assumptions there, of course.
     
  17. brianman

    brianman Burrito Founder

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    #17 brianman, Mar 9, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2013
    Thanks, Doug_G.
    So unless you live in one of these places [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extremes_on_Earth], leaving the car outside but plugged in you're probably fine. Though your seats will be pretty cold if you actually want to go drive.

    The lowest recorded temperature on that list is -89.2C, with the second being -71.2C. So on the worst day in the worst place recorded, you're not very off of Doug's guess number for the "comfortable plugged in limit".


    More data:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yakutsk
    And for the U.S. (many sources with different answers but here's one):
    Five Coldest US Cities | Farmers Almanac
    (Note that Fahrenheit and Celsius happen to match at -40 degrees.)
     

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