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Tesla Model 3 in Australia

Candleflame

Active Member
Mar 9, 2015
3,300
1,784
QLD, Australia
Finally tested the aircon power usage. Did it at night so it wouldn't have been under much stress. Ambient temp around 24C, interior temp read the same. I sat in the passenger seat and used the app to turn the aircon on. Aircon was set to 22C, auto mode. Screen was left off. The car is plugged in to the wall charger, and on standby to start charging at 8:00am the next day.

I used the Tesla app (Powerwall section) to monitor power consumption. As a baseline, with me sitting in the car and the aircon off the house pulls around 400W.

View attachment 474819

Started the test at 8:22pm by turning the aircon on via the app; this increases power usage by about 2kW.

View attachment 474820

It didn't take long for the interior temperature to stabilize at 22C. As it ran, the power consumption would fluctuate somewhat but only rarely would it drop below about 1.5kW. And when it did, only very briefly. Kind of like this:

View attachment 474821

...and then 12 seconds later:

View attachment 474822

After ~15 minutes this pattern hadn't changed. I switched the aircon off at 8:40pm and the house went back to its baseline power usage:

View attachment 474825

View attachment 474823


So in theory you can gain about 10% in range by keeping the A/C off (assuming you drive the car for ~4 hours at ~100kph, you'll end up spending 6-8kWh on aircon). That seems to align with my actual driving experience, as I get a reported average of ~170Wh/km with the aircon on and ~150 Wh/km with it off (for local driving on approximately the same routes).

For comparison, here's what my 7.4kW split-system/inverter aircon looks like when switched on during a warm January day:

View attachment 474824

It definitely pulls a higher peak load than the Model 3 (~4.5kW), but then settles in at the same consumption (or slightly better, at ~1.3 kW after accounting for baseline usage) to cool a much larger area under much warmer conditions.

If anyone is interested I can graph the Model 3 A/C using the same tool (just have to redo the test during the day; the Enphase thing can't see nightime consumption because of the Tesla batteries).

Yap, this is consistent with my experience too. I have a wattmeter attached to my wall outlet and the aircon obviously goes way above the available 2kw ( i suspect it is 2kw from AC and 500W from the fan) when it cools a 70C cabin but once it stabilizes and just keeps the cabin i.e. at 22C it pulls between 1.2-1.5kw when AC is on and fan is at 2-3. Have not tested it yet in the middle of the day when it is much warmer.

If you drive through the 40C outback at midday the car needs to keep the fan at 5-6 to be reasonably comfortable. I don't actually think this makes a massive difference to the consumption though of whether it's a nice and chilly 29 degrees in the evening and the fan is running at 1-2 without sun or whether you are driving through the northern outback in summer with the fan at 5-6. I'd wager that there are massive inefficiencies with the system when it does not have to cool much.
In the evening when the fan can stay on level 2 or so I notice that I lose probably about 6km/hr (fits with about 1kw/hr) though I suspect this is more when driving through the midday outback.

I drove from Mt Isa to Hughenden (525km) which I would have probably almost made on one charge driving at 80km/h. There was a bit of headwind so lets assume 90kmh equivalent. According to the TeslaRangetable the car should have a range of 624km at that speed. If we assume 1.5kw powerdraw from the aircon then over the 6 hours of driving the range should have been reduced to 87% of it's original value which is 540km. Over those 6 hours I had the sound system turned up so thats probably another 15km or so gone and it is slightly uphill. Pretty much fits with the range I got from the car. The car initially suggested I could make it if I drive less than 90kmh but then corrected it to -1% after 3h of driving after which I topped up for a few hours anyway.

I have also noted that the car seems to kick the AC fan up a notch when it is plugged in. I.e. there is Level 10 fanspeed and then there is level 10 when it is plugged in where the AC is noticeably more noisy from the outside.
 
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Vostok

Active Member
Jul 1, 2017
1,667
1,771
Sydney
You need to remember that the car uses an AC to DC rectifier to provide shore power. If you were actually curious you could also use scan my Tesla using the canbus connections. Alternatively on the other forums people have investigated this already. I wouldn’t care too much about AC use. The car is capable of great range without worrying about this.
Sure, but it would have even better range if the AC wasn’t such a power hog. Having a huge battery to run off is not an excuse to be profligate and think “near enough is good enough”. Other BEV manufacturers do much better on this score, Tesla should be utterly offended this is the case and resolve to do much better.
 
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HPSOV

Member
Jul 31, 2019
52
114
Sydney
But is a Tesla any worse than a petrol car? Did anyone care how many milliliters per hour the aircon in their ICE car used?
In my limited experience so far it’s the heater that kills battery life not the aircon.

The screenshot below is from Wikipedia so it must be true...
BC187DC1-F461-4D90-9868-C4C59851564E.png
 
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Sparty93

Member
Jul 31, 2019
78
112
Melbourne
I dont think that is the bar that we are using.

Maybe not the bar but certainly relevant. Also to HPSOVs point about efficiency, there are reports of Tesla making the seat heater / cooler more efficient. This is the biggest issue right now in terms of efficiency of the cabin (current gen is terrible), more than the ventilation (a/c and heat). And unlike a traditional car, cabin heating is more of an issue as the ICE is not generating heat. My understanding is that is the next up for Tesla to tackle.

Tesla is working on its own 'more efficient' seat with temperature-control system - Electrek

Also, I am not convinced that seeing the draw of the a/c when plugged in is perfecty accurate methodology. We know that Tesla does some amazing software optimisation - do we know for sure that it is optimising the same when plugged in vs. not for cabin ventilation? Very possible that it is running a different power profile when plugged in to optimise pre conditioning / pre heating vs. when driving.
 
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aroth

Member
Aug 16, 2019
210
323
Sunshine Coast
What happens if you place the AC into recirculate?

I'll try that tomorrow. Today I let it run for a couple of hours with the wall charger disconnected. Everything else the same as the previous test (I'm not in the car, car is sitting parked/locked in the garage, 27C ambient temp, 22C aircon temp, auto mode).

The car started on 86% charge at 10am sharp. Cooled the interior to 22C in 4 minutes, the same as when plugged in.

Let the A/C run for 2 hours, and observed the expected ~2%/hour drop that would be consistent with a ~1.5kW constant load. Had 84% at 11am, and 82% at noon.

Now I can go to lunch in my nicely prechilled car.

I wouldn’t care too much about AC use. The car is capable of great range without worrying about this.

I generally agree. However for those scenarios where I need all the range the car can muster it's good to know I can get an extra ~10% (40-50km) by leaving the aircon off (if/when this is actually tolerable).
 

kieranu

Member
Jul 22, 2014
268
177
Australia
However for those scenarios where I need all the range the car can muster it's good to know I can get an extra ~10% (40-50km) by leaving the aircon off
Assuming aircon uses the same amount of power consistently when the car is in motion and not sealed up in a garage (airflow)

May be more tolerable just to drive slower and get extra that way if you really need it.

My house to Albany (422km), set max speed at 90 kph, 5:01 duration, 83% estimated battery use
Set max speed to 110 kph (max speed limit 110kph), 4:28 duration excluding stops, 98% estimated battery usage
 
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Priit

Member
Mar 25, 2019
528
508
Carrara, QLD, Australia
Let the A/C run for 2 hours, and observed the expected ~2%/hour drop that would be consistent with a ~1.5kW constant load. Had 84% at 11am, and 82% at noon.
I have been observing similar power drain when leaving the car parked at work. The staff parking area has no shade so parking in the sun with leaving the cabin overheat protection on and allowing it to use AC appears to let the cabin temperature go up to 38C and then kicks in the AC and appears to draw ~2% per hour.
In our climate in coastal QLD the seat heating efficiency does not really come into play and for us the biggest benefit would be improved cooling as even in the winter one would not use heating more than possibly early morning to warmup the car. where over 80% of time cooling will be required. I wonder if they can increase the efficiency of the AC with software/firmware update or if the AC system hardware is limiting there?
 

Blue heaven

Fair Dinkum Tesla
Nov 25, 2014
1,152
1,397
South West Australia
I'll try that tomorrow. Today I let it run for a couple of hours with the wall charger disconnected. Everything else the same as the previous test (I'm not in the car, car is sitting parked/locked in the garage, 27C ambient temp, 22C aircon temp, auto mode).

The car started on 86% charge at 10am sharp. Cooled the interior to 22C in 4 minutes, the same as when plugged in.

Let the A/C run for 2 hours, and observed the expected ~2%/hour drop that would be consistent with a ~1.5kW constant load. Had 84% at 11am, and 82% at noon.

Now I can go to lunch in my nicely prechilled car.



I generally agree. However for those scenarios where I need all the range the car can muster it's good to know I can get an extra ~10% (40-50km) by leaving the aircon off (if/when this is actually tolerable).

You will get an improvement in range but not 10% unless you were already running the aircon at low temps to start with.
Personally I wouldn't sacrifice aircon on warm days unless in desperation, in uncomfortable conditions humans lose concentration more than normal and tend to make poor decisions.
Better options are-
Turn the aircon up to 24.
Make sure the vehicle is parked in the shade before driving off.
Pre-cool the car on mains power
Drop the average speed by 5kmh but don't bother going below 60kmh on a long trip as an aircon consumes power over time rather than distance. ( best not to drive below 90kmh unless you have the road to yourself or other road users will get hot under the collar )
 

Candleflame

Active Member
Mar 9, 2015
3,300
1,784
QLD, Australia
auto mode on 24C is just not tolerable. Manual mode is completely useless. Putting the AC on 25 degrees and fan on i.e. 8 or 9 gives you insanely nice cool breeze but actually consumes more power than 19 degrees in automatic mode! I suspect fan speed has by far the biggest effect on consumption as you not only increase the fans Whr consumption but also the ACs work as it has to work faster.

21.5C imho is completely fine for driving through the outback at midday without any tint or shade. 22 is tolerable.. Once dawn is coming 23 or no aircon is actually ok even when it's still above 30 outside. I think what's happening is that without sunlight a well cooled car can just be recirculating air for hours whereas if the sun is shining there is a lot of light energy entering the cabin. Certainly the glassroof feels so hot that you can burn your hand. Don't think tinting the side windows will make any difference, the sun is all hitting the top of the car.

I'll try that tomorrow. Today I let it run for a couple of hours with the wall charger disconnected. Everything else the same as the previous test (I'm not in the car, car is sitting parked/locked in the garage, 27C ambient temp, 22C aircon temp, auto mode).

The car started on 86% charge at 10am sharp. Cooled the interior to 22C in 4 minutes, the same as when plugged in.

Let the A/C run for 2 hours, and observed the expected ~2%/hour drop that would be consistent with a ~1.5kW constant load. Had 84% at 11am, and 82% at noon.

Now I can go to lunch in my nicely prechilled car.



I generally agree. However for those scenarios where I need all the range the car can muster it's good to know I can get an extra ~10% (40-50km) by leaving the aircon off (if/when this is actually tolerable).

probs best to switch the car to km as 1 km = 150watthours.

I will try a test in the cairns midday heat maybe on sunday and see how much the car consumes.
 
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Hairyman

Member
Jul 24, 2019
777
412
Australia
auto mode on 24C is just not tolerable. Manual mode is completely useless. Putting the AC on 25 degrees and fan on i.e. 8 or 9 gives you insanely nice cool breeze but actually consumes more power than 19 degrees in automatic mode! I suspect fan speed has by far the biggest effect on consumption as you not only increase the fans Whr consumption but also the ACs work as it has to work faster.

21.5C imho is completely fine for driving through the outback at midday without any tint or shade. 22 is tolerable.. Once dawn is coming 23 or no aircon is actually ok even when it's still above 30 outside. I think what's happening is that without sunlight a well cooled car can just be recirculating air for hours whereas if the sun is shining there is a lot of light energy entering the cabin. Certainly the glassroof feels so hot that you can burn your hand. Don't think tinting the side windows will make any difference, the sun is all hitting the top of the car.



probs best to switch the car to km as 1 km = 150watthours.

I will try a test in the cairns midday heat maybe on sunday and see how much the car consumes.
I put some strongly infrared rejecting tinting on the sides and back window of mine and it did seem to make a fair difference to the rate at which the car heats up in the sun
 

jyavenard

Member
Aug 23, 2019
171
209
Melbourne
I put some strongly infrared rejecting tinting on the sides and back window of mine and it did seem to make a fair difference to the rate at which the car heats up in the sun

I wonder the impact and how much heat stress that could put on the glass.

I had a crack that appeared shortly after I used the demistifier (though it may not be related). When I see how much back and forth was needed to get Tesla to replace it under warranty, I don't want to think what would have happened if that glass had been tinted.

The cost to replace the rear glass is $1,126.51 FWIW
 

Hairyman

Member
Jul 24, 2019
777
412
Australia
I wonder the impact and how much heat stress that could put on the glass.

I had a crack that appeared shortly after I used the demistifier (though it may not be related). When I see how much back and forth was needed to get Tesla to replace it under warranty, I don't want to think what would have happened if that glass had been tinted.

The cost to replace the rear glass is $1,126.51 FWIW
Fair point. I’m not sure about the physics and heat flows with the tint vs without. We’ll see how I get on.
 
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WoodWombat

Member
Aug 19, 2019
178
305
Melbourne, Australia
Had to reach out to Melbourne delivery about another matter, and so I prompted them for an updated delivery date. It looks like my delivery has slipped from "Late November-Early December" to "Late December-January". No reason given, I would assume that vehicles arriving on the 22nd November (Syndergy Keelung) might run into Christmas slowdowns?

Part of me is hoping that they are just being conservative and that they will get me my car before Christmas.

Funny side note. At the beginning of the year, I established a "head race" between NBN being delivered to my house, and my Tesla showing up. NBN got pushed back repeatedly, so I thought that Tesla had won by a country mile, but every few weeks, the Tesla gets pushed further out, so there is a chance the NBN might snatch victory. A thrilling and exciting race, like the Chariot races in Ben Hur!
 

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