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Vampire drain in freezing temperature


Active Member
Apr 2, 2014
I have one question, which is not very actual at the moment :wink:

If you leave Model S unplugged in sleep mode and temperature is below freezing, will car let the battery get as cold as outside temperature, or will it try to keep battery's temperature above some limit?
At least this video Tesla Model S vampire drain after 27 days in winter - YouTube suggests there is not increased vampire drain in freezing temperature. I'm curious, because in Finland we often have more than -20 C and if there will be some automatic battery heating in sleep mode, it would drain battery fast, if it is unplugged for several days.


Active Member
Apr 2, 2014
I don't live in a cold climate but it seems to me that if you live where there are harsh winters and you want to own a Model as you should make sure to have a plug available to keep the car plugged overnight.

Yes. I was just thinking about leaving the car on the airport while going for holiday in winter.

- - - Updated - - -

If the car is unplugged and in sleep mode, it won't heat the battery. It would only heat the battery if it needed to do so while charging.

Ok. Thank you!

Todd Burch

12-Year Member
Nov 3, 2009
Smithfield, VA
I believe the Tesla warranty requires that you not leave the car unplugged for longer than 24 hours when the temperature is below 25 C.

I believe there is a clause like this in the warranty, but I think the temperature is much lower than 25°C!

The battery has limits to its storage temperature, obviously. I believe the car will not do any active heating unless it's REALLY cold, and it that case it will only actively heat the pack enough to get its "core temperature" reasonably above the minimum limit. Lots of Norwegian owners should be able to answer this definitively...after all, they get colder than Finland!


(S85-3/2/13 traded in) X LR: F2611##-3/27/20
Supporting Member
Mar 8, 2012
If the warranty doesn't cover leaving the vehicle for 24hrs at -30c that's a problem, I really have no way of avoiding doing that at least once or twice a year.

Of course, you would have to check with Tesla, but having it plugged in and turning the heat on with the App should keep the temperature up high enough to not void the warranty. I read the warranty to mean "unplugged", but that's speculation, not verified information.


Active Member
Apr 2, 2014
If the warranty doesn't cover leaving the vehicle for 24hrs at -30c that's a problem, I really have no way of avoiding doing that at least once or twice a year.

Warranty says "damage resulting from..." so imo just leaving the car over 24h hours in temperature below -30 doesn't void warranty.

It is difficult to understand how -30 would be different for battery than -31 C.
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These guys say that the electrolyte used in commercial Li-ion batteries freezes at -30C. I don't know what electrolyte Tesla uses but it's possible that at extreme temperatures, there could be a problem with the electrolyte freezing.

Proceedings of the Symposium on Lithium Batteries - Google Books

Also, as far as I know, no one has had a battery damaged by extreme cold. It seems likely that if this had happened to someone, we would have heard about it.
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Burrito Founder
Nov 10, 2011
This is really important question for Canadian and Scandinavian markets. Is there some absolute low temperature limit, which breaks Tesla’s battery?

This post http://www.teslamotors.com/blog/tesla-superowner-arctic-circle
however suggests that at least -40 C is not the limit

Where does the -30 limit come from? It would be nice to know.
Recommend: Email [email protected] to start up a discussion about your specific concerns. Once you've (hopefully) reached a satisfactory conclusion, (bonus points) ask politely if it's ok to post some formal statements (and clarify which portions from the e-mail thread) and share with the class. :)


Sig P85
Nov 9, 2012
My Leaf manual talks about the battery freezing, at which point the car becomes immoble and must be towed to a warm garage to thaw. I don't recall a lot of discussion about battery damage; however, I believe the Leaf battery bags are soft and could expand if necessary.
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