See How Cold Weather Impacts Tesla Model 3


Cold weather impacts every EV and ICE car, but precisely, how does the Tesla Model 3 fare?

One of our most highly respected sources, Trevor Page from Model 3 Owners Club, is situated in the great white north. Trevor lives in Canada and has to deal with extreme cold weather on an almost year-round basis. He’s shared with us before about dealing with EVs in the frigid climate. Most notable is his previous take on charging and range loss in Tesla vehicles in cold temps. But, more importantly, he now has a Tesla Model 3 and he’s updated us with his observations surrounding how the cold weather may impact the EV.

There’s nothing completely compelling in this video for those that know Tesla products and EVs in general. But for those electric-car rookie reservation holders, this is surely something to be considered. Keep in mind that this doesn’t just apply to the Model 3, but any EV. Batteries react to the cold and that’s important to note. However, it’s not really bad news.

Let’s think for a minute here about the fact that ICE cars can’t be warmed up in your garage, there’s no true pre-heating function, and sometimes gas-powered cars refuse to even start in bitter temps. While EVs may have reduced range in cold weather, so do gas-powered cars. But regardless, there are many advantages to owning an electric car.

Imagine charging at home and never having to endure the cold at a gas station! Think of a car that starts instantaneously regardless of the weather. How about even heating your cold garage with your EV and having forever warmed seats and cabin previous to ever venturing out in the elements.

Let us know your thoughts and concerns in the comment section below.

Video Description via Tesla Model 3 Owners Club via YouTube:

Cold weather and your Model 3


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33 Comments on "See How Cold Weather Impacts Tesla Model 3"

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Range in ICE cars it’s irrelevant in 90% of cases, it’s always big and refueling speed is very fast.

Well, I fondly remember the long minutes with my unprotected hand gripping the pump handle in 0F temp with a 30 mp/h wind ……. I never experienced it with the 5 seconds it take to plug my car

And after 3 minutes can you turn on the car and drive for another 500 miles?
I’m a big fan of EVs but it’s irrelevant trying to distort the facts.

I moved to Southwest Florida when I retired. No frost down here. I wear shorts all winter. Unfortunately, the summer heat does a number on batteries. Li-ion batteries don’t like temperatures above 86 F and they lose a lot of range in very cold weather. I don’t know how much the heat deteriorates them, though. They can’t be recharged below 32 F. I’ll stick with my Camry and may even buy a hybrid a few years down the road while waiting for solid-state battery packs to arrive.

No, but each evening after five seconds of flicking the plug in the charger on my driveway, I can get on with my daily plans.

And a few caveats: It’s not just 3 minutes after filling a full 500 miles worth and paying. Many of us want to take a piss and maybe even eat – after 500 miles. How many ICEs do you feel comfortable driving a full 500 miles in winter conditions? How many compact cars even have a reliable 500 miles of range in normal weather?

Well, I fondly remember the long minutes scraping ice off my idling ICEboxes while running the useless defroster. Nowadays, I just unplug my fully charged, perfectly defrosted and comfy warm LEAF.

you put the pump handle in and 2 minutes later you take it out again. No point in gripping it while the car fills up. Except when you are in the UK, those pumps don’t lock for some reason.

Do Not Read Between The Lines

Safety. They don’t lock so you can’t walk away from the car.

We are moving in a new house this December and I have to drive back and fourth 20 miles each way. As we don’t have an EV yet (Model 3 reservation holder) I need to visit a gas station about once a week. I have been searching on google maps for a gas station near my route, no gas stations to be found. The closest gas station is a 6 miles de-tour.
Can’t wait for my Model 3!

You’ve picked up the wrong route :p… More seriously – average distance to the closer gas pump is around 5 miles, to a fast charger over 100 (in the US).

But if you charge at home, you don’t need a fast charger for your commute. That’s the whole point of EVs. You might need the fast charger for long trips, that’s all.

Gas stations have been disappearing at the rate of ~2% per year. In the U.S., the number of fueling stations has dropped by more than a quarter since the mid-1990s. Obviously, new communities do not want the noxious pollution that comes with a gas station. Cities don’t want the liabilities associated with cleaning up the brownfields left behind. The 5-minute fill up is a myth. You always waste 20 minutes driving to the gas station.

I’m sorry, but 20 minutes! Do you live in the middle of the desert. It’s true that there’s a lot less gas stations, but the number is still over 100k.

That is your number. Average 5 mi at 30 mph is 10 minutes. I think it takes even longer, what with getting ready, traffic, waiting in line, pumping, paying, hunting for cheap gas, checking the oil, checking the coolant, topping up fluids, the inconvenience, etc.

Do Not Read Between The Lines

It’s a depends where you are. I drive past gas stations on my right both to and from work. But I usually fill up with a whopping 500ft detour at the gas station nearest my home, because it’s an easy in and out and they have an unlinked debit card I can use at the pump.

For some people in other places gas stations mean choosing between high prices and lines, but I don’t live there.

It’s as good as you’re hoping. Since getting a 3 our household gas is down about $170 per month and I never have to stop for gas.

Refueling may be fast, but it is expensive. IC cars lose 20% of their range and that ends up costing you more money than the 30% range loss in an EV (which is irrelevant for the newer 200+ mile EVs).

Only for very short distances. Actually with cold there’s no problem for ICEs, they waste so much energy in lost heat that you can use some to warm inside the car.

True, but significant since 60% of one-way vehicle trips are less the 6 miles. So lots of cold-soak starts. The big causes of range loss in an ICE is less efficient components and excessive idling/warmup. The small causes are tire inflation and winter fuel blend.

30% loss is a huge deal for a 200 mile ev. There is one trip that I do roughly monthly in the summer that I won’t do in the winter. 280 miles round trip with 12a L2 charging at my destination. Just able to do it without stopping for a dcfc in summer, not even close in winter. Even going to the airport is a big deal with the ev in winter. In summer, it’s a non issue, 160 miles round trip. In winter it can take an hour of charging at a dcfc to make the trip. Yeah a cold soaked ev doesn’t charge very fast at 0f. The Bolt started at less than 20kw on a 50kw charger, it did ramp up as the battery warmed up, but that takes time. You have to be willing to make compromises with our current tech to replace an ice.

The biggest hurdle electric cars have in cold weather is heat generation. Heat generation is a byproduct of gasoline combustion, which means cars running on gasoline will be able to use that heat with a minimum of additional energy cost. Electric cars must use electricity to both heat and run the car, so the energy toll is much more pronounced.

However, when one takes into account that electricity is a much more efficient source of power to move the car, the overall efficiency may still work out in the EV’s favor, even in cold temperatures. Of course, another benefit of electric cars in heat production is that the heat is produced without harmful exhaust, and can often last longer than a tank of gas if one needs to be in a stationary heated car for an extended time.

“Heat generation is a byproduct of gasoline combustion”

What is really happening is you are collecting a fraction of the wasted energy from an ICE engine, and repurposing that waste energy for heat in the winter. Meanwhile the rest of the year all that wasted energy is dumped.

One analogy is to think of repurposing old newspapers to line a birdcage vs. going and buying birdcage liners at the pet store. Sure, the old newspapers are free if you still get newspapers delivered to you. But getting the newspapers in the first place is a huge waste of resources vs. reading the newspaper online and paying a little extra for birdcage liners just when you need them.

The waste energy from gas is the same way. Sure it is nice to use that waste energy for heat for free sometimes. But you are better off never generating that waste energy every single mile driven, and then just pay for just the energy to heat the cabin only when heating is needed.

Tesla needs to design a snow cover for the Model 3 charging port. One that covers the port and port door would be best. I see myself spending too much time clearing snow from the port door this winter. Maybe a small car canopy to cover the back end of the car will work.

Volt#671 + BoltEV + Model 3

Possibly a heated charge port?

Trevor “has to deal with extreme cold weather on an almost year-round basis”? Are you serious? This summer was so warm his igloo almost melted.

Come on, Tesla! Heated steering wheel!! Even the cheapest Kias have them!

My Sonata PHEV doesn’t have one, but it’s a badly designed PHEV. Yes, I would be nice to have in the winter.

Ok,pretty standard stuff in the video here… Since there were some reports of wildly varying parasitic (‘Vampire’) drains over 24 hours, I wonder if anyone has done a sub-freezing test to see how much the battery system looses when cold over each 24 hour day.

If you don’t venture far from home, don’t mind paying a premium for an EV, don’t mind rapid depreciation, and aren’t worried about it catching fire while recharging in your garage, that’s fine. Have at it. I’ll wait for solid-state, thank you. I may even buy a Toyota hybrid before going fully electric if the next generation hybrids meet my expectations.

“and aren’t worried about it catching fire while recharging in your garage”. Are you still driving an ICE? Then your chances of a garage fire are about 10x more likely than an EV. Jeesh! You might want to turn off Fixed News for a while.

If that Camry you’re aspiring to in Florida will make you happy, then have at it.

Google: Gas station fires – and have a blast!

Regarding the limited regen, I never noticed this in my Volt, even at -20 degrees. But as Trevor says, once below 50 degrees, I’m seeing the dots on my Model 3. If the battery can’t take the regen current, how about some braking resistors to just dissipate the heat or use the heat for the cabin? I’d rather use the energy for that vs. using my brake pads.