Blue Bar Shows Impact Of Cold Weather On Tesla Model S Range – Video

JAN 17 2015 BY MIKE ANTHONY 30

A somewhat recent firmware update gave the Tesla Model S this blue bar. This blue bar shows the range that is lost due to the coldness of the battery pack.

Slight range loss when it colder out, Like it will for any vehicle. EV or not.

Slight range loss when it colder out.  Same is true for other EVs and ICE vehicles too.

In the video above, KmanAuto shows us the blue bar.

You’ll typically see this blue bar when the battery pack has a lower state of charge and temps are low. These scenarios increase resistance of the cells and reduce the overall power.

You can check out this topic on TESLARATI, by clicking here.

Have you seen this blue bar on your Model S? Did you wonder what it meant?  Well, now you know.

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30 Comments on "Blue Bar Shows Impact Of Cold Weather On Tesla Model S Range – Video"

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PHEV owner

That’s so cute, guy driving a $100,000 car complaining about expensive electric rates… So maybe it’s $15 to charge his car?

In all seriousness I think I lose about 25% on my Ford if it’s really cold.

Aas

He dives S 60 so it’s more like 75000$

Speculawyer

Can’t they tell the Tesla to warm up the battery in the morning while still connected to AC to improve performance? Seems like a no brainer.

Wouldn’t be so great if you don’t have an AC connection though. But most of the time, you should have an AC connection, even if it is just a 110V connection.

ffbj

I think that there is an ap included that does that.

JRMW

The problem is that each heater draws 6-7 kW for about 10-12 kW total. This is too much for some outlets to handle thus pre warming drains the battery.

Some Tesla folk have come up with workarounds to this issue.

But it does mean that one should stick with Superchargers in super cold weather if on road trips.

The cold weather issue is why I decided to stay with a PHEV or Rex for now until we get more AER on the lower priced EVs

Leaf isn’t ready for Prime time in cold places yet. Winter range can be 40-45 miles.

Tyl Young

I like the snowflake!

Bill Howland

I assume that 9-10 mile ‘hit’ he took should be recouped when the battery gets warmer, although I’m unclear as to whether this is an actual loss or not.

Lensman

No, you’re not gonna “recoup” the loss of range when the battery warms up; or at least, not all of it. From the data in a detailed analysis following the “broderization” of a Model S, my guess is you won’t even recoup most of it.

And yes, the Model S can be set to use electricity from the wall while plugged in to keep the battery warm.

But– and this applies to both cases– it takes energy to -keep- the battery warm while the car is running. And that will reduce range, even if you don’t run the heater or power up the heated seats.

Anon

You can’t get something for nothing.

But it’s nice the car tells you what the losses will likely be, given current conditions. That strikes me as refreshingly honest.

Bill Howland

Well, the part I’m unclear about is the ‘initial conditions’ here.

I know on a Lead – Acid battery, you can temporarily lose 1/2 your capacity when the battery gets cold, and the ‘almost’ all (except maybe 2 or 3 %) is recooped if the battery is rewarmed.

But its hard to say here, since it seems to be such a small percentage apparent loss anyway, and that in itself seems odd. So I’m just not sure what I’m looking at here.

Lensman

If you want an exhaustively detailed analysis of what happens to the Model S’s range in very cold weather (Fair warning: This may be a lot more than you wanted to know), look at the following article. But a caveat: That article goes too far in being critical of Tesla Motors and the Model S; for example, suggesting there might be 10% permanent loss of battery capacity after only 25,000 miles of normal driving, which I think we can safely say won’t happen, given the data reported by actual drivers.

“The Tesla (Elon Musk) and New York Times (John Broder) Feud: Understanding the real reasons the Model S ran out of charge”

http://www.duckware.com/blog/tesla-elon-musk-nytimes-john-broder-feud/index.html

Bill Howland

THanks Lensman for the link. I’ll check it out presently.

I was attacked years ago for defending broder, since I did my own analysis of Tesla’s real time charts, and found that, at the time (prior to the current software release), that the car lost charge at an 1840 watt rate during the very cold night he spent at the Motel, and such that even if he did find a 110 outlet to plug into (around 1300 watts max – and then charging any tesla charger product at 110 is more inefficient anyway), that the car would continue to lose range even if plugged-in.

THen a Tesla owner in Minniapolis proved my hypothesis and actually lost range while plugged into 110 volts during a trouble prone roadtrip in the cold.

Most of those 2 problems have been corrected so I’m told, but a rigorous analysis of a Modern S would be very instructive.. CHecking it out now.

Bill Howland

Just read the whole linked article. (I have a Roadster, not an S, btw). I learned that the car indicator is inaccurate, which was a bit surprising, however, performance in very cold weather is still undocumented in the article (they use 32 degrees, which here is hot in the wintertime).

I would guess that going from 90 to 32 would be much less of a effort for the S, than going from 32 to 10. They say its less than 2% which is unbelievable. As a matter of fact, the big problem with the car’s loss seemed to start at around 20 degrees, but again, that is undocumented here.

BUt its nice to not be the only one in the world to see a range issue, which it seemsd like at the time I was the only one who did, and then was unfairly attacked for noticing it.

I guess we’ll all have to wait for a modern (new software) test, since this link ALSO dates back to the broder incident.

Bill Howland

INcidentally that 50 mile range in the ROadster is very, very believable. I’ve let BRIAN (who has a very heavy foot) drive it, and I’d estimate his range would be about 50 miles. He noticed it too. We had to find the 70 amp 200 volt suncountryhighway charger at the best western so that I could get home!

Lensman
Both Broder (the NY Times reporter) and Musk came off badly in that exchange. It’s a shameful chapter in Tesla’s history, and both the NY Times and Elon Musk lost credibility, at least in my view. (Clearly Musk does not run his comments past the Tesla Motors publicity team before he posts them!) I am glad that someone actually did do a thorough analysis; my hat is off to them. But rather than suggesting every plug-in EV owner needs to study and understand how environmental conditions affect EV range in that much detail, I’d much rather see EVs which are designed to give a realistic estimate of driving range, taking into account planned route, elevation changes, speed limits, temperature, etc. EV drivers shouldn’t need to have an advanced degree in the characteristics of batteries just to be able to know if they can get from Point A to Point B at speed X without having to stop for a recharge. So I am glad to see this new “blue bar” app for the Model S. Better would be to incorporate the range loss for exceptionally cold temperatures into the car’s normal range display, but at least this is a step… Read more »
Bill Howland

What I’m getting at is, I now know how the ‘old S’ performs during very cold weather.

SInce I live in a part of the country equally cold at times, I would be interested to see how a ‘new S’ performs. I’ll have to wait until someone actually tests that.

Phr3d

Bill, I know that Bjørn specifically addressed cold losses and said that he was unaffected by cold-vampire, and that his cold-loss numbers were under 5% in his P85, but if you’re familiar with him, -Finding- specific mentions of issues amongst his vids, due to the length, is nigh impossible.

I can only offer that the info is there if you have a few spare hours to try and jump through/forward (Gootube’s abundant help here a real education, right arrow sometimes works to jump ahead) and mine the info.

Bill Howland

I watched his very long video where he was temporarily disappointed to get a small volvo loaner.

Depends on if he documents the temperatures at 20 deg F and below. I’m curious as to the performance of a new S using the conditions that Broder encountered the night of the Motel.

Also, 120 volt charging during a time under 20 degrees F would also be interesting to see. I’m ultimately undecided about purchasing an S, but, If I do, I’d be sure to make the test myself during the cold weather months here.

Omar Sultan

With low temps and low SoC, you get two warnings, the first is the one shown above, you will also get a warning if the car things it is going to have to start warning the pack, as both with cause an unexpected non-linear drop in remaining miles. In theory, I guess if the pack were to warm up by itself you would get these back, but the basic message in both cases is “go plug in somewhere”

Chris O

So where does all the “lost” energy go when the battery gets colder?

I doubt it magically disappears somehow and I think only the battery heating requirement causes real energy loss.

Bill Howland

The ‘loss’ I was talking about in lead-acid batteries is not an actual one but merely a temporary inavailability which becomes available as the temperature becomes normal.

ffbj

Reactions are more efficient in certain temperature ranges. So if it is too cold or too hot the reaction is not as efficient therefore less energy is produced and therefore less is available.
In other words:
“Like humans, batteries function best at room temperature, and any deviation towards hot and cold changes the performance and/or longevity. Operating a battery at elevated temperatures momentarily improves performance by lowering the internal resistance and speeding up the chemical metabolism, but such a condition shortens service life if allowed to continue for a long period of time. Some manufacturers of lead acid batteries make use of the improved performance at warmer temperatures and specify the batteries at a toasty 27°C (80°F).
Cold temperature increases the internal resistance and diminishes the capacity. Batteries that would provide 100 percent capacity at 27°C (80°F) will typically deliver only 50 percent at –18°C (0°F). The capacity decrease is linear with temperature. The capacity decrease is momentary and the level of decline depends on the battery chemistry.”
-Battery University

Speculawyer

Well, you’ll likely get some back from the ambient temperature rising during the day. But it won’t be much.

Steven

When cold, Energy is not lost, it is not given by the cells in form of electricity but in thermal losses. That means during the same power consumption a higher voltage drop occurs thus the chemical /ion reaction is producing more heat. This self heating is generally too little too late with normal ev usage. Also the voltage drop is perceived as a reduction in maximum availible power.

Jouni Valkonen

It would be a good idea that those electric cars that are located in colder region, are equipped with gasoline or ethanol burning auxiliary heater. Although it is very ineffient to produce torque from gasoline, it is very efficient to produce heat. More than 80 % of heat energy of gasoline can be used and this of course saves the battery power, especially when battery is cold and is not preheated while car was plugged-in.

Robert

Would it not be possible to also have a speed / range chart in the console, tied in with route planning and elevation changes? So, if you want to make a 130 Mile trip, but the Temp is 20 Below, AND you have a Change in elevation of 5,500 feet, how fast can you expect to go, before you “Broader” your Tesla (60 or 85 kWh car), based on your current state if Charge, AND – if you stopped for a range charge?

Robert
Since Pilots are responsible for the safe operation of their Aircraft, they learn to do Flight planning, with calculations based on inputs of: Available fuel on board and at destination, Winds aloft (temp. and direction), payload on board, AND with 45 Minutes safe reserve in good weather, plus in bad weather, additional fuel to an Alternate Airport. Having no expectation of a Sky hook to pick us up if we run out of fuel, we take it seriously, and may even divert from the plan if, for example, headwinds are greater than forecast or planned for! The only reason for Anyone today to “Broader” a Tesla, or an iMiEV, is Bad Planning (forgetting to do a Range Charge on a Tesla, or waiting to reach 100% charge on their EV before departing, and planing awareness of EV charging points at 40% of trip planned distance, 60%, and 80%, as well as destination), Pride (too proud to realise, it ain’t going to make it, and take the nearest 120 Volt plug, if that is the best there is, and wait it out; or – forget speed to empty, and instead focus on speed to next charging station, which might just be… Read more »
Speculawyer

Well, pilots are well-trained and careful people. Most people are stupid and lazy. They’ve never had to deal with these issues because gas cars can be fueled up in 5 minutes and there are gas stations all over. So the stupid lazy people get mad when they are expected to think a little bit more.

To get broad adoption, the EV makers do need to idiot-proof their vehicles. And this can be done with larger batteries, battery heating systems, reminder apps on smartphones, PHEVs, good navigations systems, good state-of-charge systems, etc.

But there will also be an idiot that still screws up.

ffbj

Sad but True.

Lensman

Getting a pilot’s license requires much more study, and is a much higher hurdle to get over, than an ordinary driver’s license. If plug-in EVs require that much effort to be able to use properly, then they will never have mass appeal.

BTW– the reporter’s name was “Broder”, not “Broader”; and the invented term that’s a riff on his name, meaning to run your PEV out of juice and get stranded on the side of the road despite multiple warnings from the car (either foolishly or intentionally), is “broderize”.