Charging an electric vehicle in freezing cold temperatures requires some extra care from the owner compared to charging during summer.
The most important is obviously battery preconditioning, which essentially means warming up the battery to an operating temperature that's optimal for charging.
There are other things EV owners can do to help the battery charge faster, such as parking the vehicle in a garage whenever possible, keeping it plugged in when parked, and never letting the battery's state of charge get too low, among other things.
But what happens when you can't do any of those things? Kyle Conner from Out of Spec Reviews tried to find out by leaving his Tesla Model 3 in the freezing cold overnight at a Supercharger station in Loveland, Colorado – for two consecutive days, mind you.
After than, Kyle went back to the car and plugged it in to a Supercharger, without any preparation whatsoever, even though it was -14° Fahrenheit (-26° Celsius) outside.
After about 45 minutes of the Tesla Model 3 being connected to the Supercharger, no energy whatsoever had made its way into the battery pack. That's because the system used all the electricity supplied by the charger to heat the battery first.
It's worth noting that the battery had a state of charge of 35 percent when Kyle first plugged it in, and he set the charge limit to 90 percent SoC. It took about an hour and a half for the battery to reach 90 percent, which is a lot of time to wait for your EV to charge, especially in freezing cold conditions.
However, it is not too bad if you subtract the initial 45 minutes that were exclusively dedicated to warming up the battery and factor in the outside temperature during the charging session. For those of you who are into numbers, Kyle has also thrown in a spreadsheet of charging data.
As Kyle notes at the beginning of the video, this was merely an experiment meant to show how a deep frozen battery pack behaves in extreme cold conditions. It's only relevant to Tesla owners who don't have a charger at home or a garage, and rely on the Supercharger network for charging instead; as you all know, Supercharger stations are exposed to the elements.
All other Tesla owners have ways to avoid reaching a point where their battery is deep frozen, from charging their EVs overnight in the garage to using the Navigate to Supercharger feature during a long trip, which automatically warms up the battery pack on the way to the charging station.