Tesla Model 3 Cold Weather Driving Tips & Tricks


Now that cold weather is surging forth, how about some Tesla Model 3 winter driving advice?

YouTuber and Tesla Model 3 owner Mother Frunker has taken advantage of the trend concerning dealing with Tesla vehicles (and all EVs really) in frigid weather. He has released this new video to help EV owners deal with braving winter in an electric vehicle.

All cars suffer from cold temperatures in one way of another. The story goes that EVs suffer even more, mostly due to a loss of range, which is a huge deal when it comes to getting people to buy in to electric vehicles. Owners have also voiced concerns over limited regenerative braking and low tire pressure. While this is all true, and we can’t hide it, there are plenty of steps you can take to curtail the issues, at least to some extent.

The most important takeaway is that the battery must be warm for the EV to function properly. It will not have solid range or great regen when it’s cold. Fortunately, most electric cars offer preheating. Also, you can go on the vehicle’s app and crank up the heat to the cabin, which will work to provide extra heat throughout the car. Mother Frunker also suggests adjusting your charging schedule. Rather than setting the car to charge as soon as you return home for the night (which means it may be done charging hours before you depart the next morning), set it for like 2 or 3 AM, so it’s still just wrapping up the charging cycle and the battery is still warm when you hit the road the next day.

What are your thoughts. Please, let us know in the comment section below.

Video Description via Mother Frunker on YouTube:

Tesla Model 3: Cold Weather Driving Tips & Tricks

I have seen many questions about limited regen online. When your battery is cold, you will get an indicator about limited Regen. Additionally, you will get dots. As you drive, the battery warms up and those dots will go away.

The other question is how much range is lost during cold weather/winter. Your car is trying to heat the cabin, warm the battery. That energy is coming from the battery. Which means you will have a range deduction of 10-30%. Also keep in mind, the range decrease is not always displayed on the screen. So keep that in mind. Give yourself buffer.

You will lose pressure in your tires. If your don’t switch your tires to Winter tires, then add more air to the tire.

With your car plugged in, before you leave, go on your phone and turn the heat up on full blast. This will Heat the battery, warm the cabin and defrost your windows.

Change your charging schedule. I charge from 7pm to 7am. You could change it later, like 3am. This way your battery will be warm come the morning. I am working on a Tasker video that automates this process based on your charge level. Keep in mind that a cold battery doesn’t charge as fast.

Did you enjoy this information video? Or would you prefer autopilot footage in the background as I talk? Let me know. Hopefully this helps and answer some of the questions.

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13 Comments on "Tesla Model 3 Cold Weather Driving Tips & Tricks"

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If you don’t switch to winter tires then don’t drive at all when the temperature drops.

Well, certainly don’t drive on summer tires when the temps are low, but the all-season tires the non-performance models are delivered with are generally fine. If you want the best, of course switch to winter tires.

Hehe, driving MS85D in 26F in a blizzard, started 270mi and ended up with 70mi on clock afer 100mi trip. While I only use the butt warmers in winter, the problem was blizzard so fierce that windshield would freeze after a while without max heat on it, also stopped twice to peel off 1/2″ ice from headlights obscuring visibility. Almost followed a truck into the ditch, fortunately he stopped in it without turning over. Never again please:(

Yeah, I’ve had those, too, same spec car. I kind of doubt the biggest culprit is the cabin heater in situations like that — it takes energy to plow through the snow and ice. Range even drops during rain, for the same reason. And of course this affects ICE cars too, it’s just that people are less attuned to it.

The one time it was a real problem for me I slowed down and drafted a truck. Got to the next Supercharger with no drama. (But the truck didn’t drive into any ditches. 🙂

Oh, also: it turns out the radar stops working when there’s an inch of ice over it.

Ok so you lost 50% of your range at 26 deg F. Typical winter day here (a bit on the warm side though). This MF video didn’t have any specificity to it, and I wonder if they were going to have some dude driving along the highway with the sun shining at 42 degrees, as is the typical video. Even Bjorn Nyland’s idea of ‘cold’ is 40 deg F.

My 2013 Volt has a feature that allows you to set the car to fully charged by a certain time and can also factor in time of use rates into the equation. I’d like my Tesla Model 3 have this feature.

You should be able to get one sooner as Musk buys a trucking company:

We bought some trucking companies & secured contracts with major haulers to avoid trucking shortage mistake of last quarter

11:40 AM – Nov 15, 2018-EM

Another useful video for Tesla winter drivers:

Just about every EV have program charging time available and the way to max range is definitvely to program end of charge for time of departure with cabin heat set also at that time.

You start with a full charge, somewhat mild battery temp, and a comfortable cabin.
Of course if you are on TOU, it might not be the best electric rate, and if you have and old EV with small charging power, it migh draw more from then the charger can provide, depleting your battery charge.

This has been fix on latest EV, and some, like the BMW i3 have a function to even set the battery at the optimal temp before leaving, provide you had it set on the prior night.

Winter driving need some planning in any vehicle.

I have to say, I used to carefully plan things out as you describe with my S85D. After a few winters with it, I’ve concluded that for my driving patterns, it’s just plain unnecessary to do any special planning — I just get in the car and drive. It’s never been a problem. (I do usually preheat for a few minutes, for my own comfort.)

The Model 3 LR has greater range than my S85D, so I’d expect it to be even less of an issue. I’m sure there’s someone, somewhere who needs to carefully optimize, but I’d venture to guess that more drivers are like me and can safely ignore most of this stuff. That’s a good thing, since most drivers are not interested in geeking out about their car.

Some people have suggested that you should turn off regenerative braking in ice and snow. You don’t want the braking effect to suddenly materialise. They also suggest that you set the Model 3 for creep to enable starting more easily. If you are going to be frequently driving with snow and ice on the roads I would suggest winter tires rather than all seasons, The more aggressive tread on the former makes for considerably better traction. Although this winter I am running into problems getting tires and wheels from Tesal, They took my money but won’t respond to questions regarding WHEN they will deliver them to the SC (and they won’t deliver them to anywhere else). I worry somewhat because on the Tesla site they now say that orders from Canada will not receive their winter tires until some unknown time in January!