Tesla Model 3 Range Down 42% In Cold Weather?


How much is the Tesla Model 3’s range impacted by cold temperatures?

According to YouTuber Moshe (The Electric Israeli), his Tesla Model 3 range was down some 42 percent during a recent holiday trip to New York City. Temperatures in the area plummeted to about 17 Farenheit (-8 Celsius), and the wind chill made it feel much colder. We’re not surprised that the car provided less range, as it’s well-known that vehicles aren’t as efficient in the cold. This is especially true for electric cars, but there are many factors, and it also depends on what steps you take to “help” the issue. With that being said, some of those steps may or may not be possible based on your situation.

In the simplest of terms, a warm battery will offer more range. So, preconditioning is a must if possible. You can heat up the cabin and the battery while the car is plugged in, so that once you hit the road, you already have the potential for negating some the range-depleting impact of cold weather. Tire pressure is also key, so it’s important to check that your tires are properly inflated, since they’ve likely lost pressure due to cold temps.

Moshe drives the Model 3 around New York City. He only shows footage of slower city driving, however, he mentions having to head back home after the trip. We have no way of knowing for sure, but we imagine he had to take the car on the freeway. We also have no way of knowing how he drove the car, if he preconditioned it, or if made sure the tires were full. Nonetheless, based on the Model 3’s display, the car used 171 miles of range, though the trip itself was only ~108 miles. The trip required 37 kWh of energy, and he was using an average of 346 Wh/mile.

Share your cold weather EV driving experiences with us in the comment section below.

Video Description via The Electric Israeli on YouTube:

42% Range Loss on Tesla Model 3 In Cold Weather


Tesla Model 3 Performance - Dual Motor Badge
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247 Comments on "Tesla Model 3 Range Down 42% In Cold Weather?"

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Wouldn’t 297 miles of range minus 126 miles range after the trip = 171 miles used to cover 108 miles? I’m assuming the 117 number in the article is a typo?

He says 117 miles clearly, but perhaps he is mistaken. Looking at DoggyDogWorld’s analysis above helps as well.

I think he’s saying 170, but it’s hard to tell.

I also this his 42% is 126/298. So it’s 42% of original range left after the trip.

Yep, I agree.

I also thought 117 miles was weird in the article, but I didn’t realize it should have been 171 miles. Thanks for pointing it out.

Correct, 171 rated miles used to cover 108 miles. That would put the 100% range (310 rated) at approximately 195 miles.

What is a mile? How many hogshead to the toodle whistles..

I just multiply by 1.6 to get to km. It’s not exact, but it’s generally close enough.

I’d guess that on an EV forum, everyone could just use metric and it’d be fine… those of us not using it in our daily lives are probably in the subgroup of Americans who are ready and fine with making the switch to Metric…

I live in the Uk and as an old fart I still use imperial measurements, I had to LOL the other day when I rang the local timber yard to inquire if the had any 8’x4’x3/8″th plywood sheets in stock, the guy said just a minute I’ll ring the 1960’s to see if they have any left lol.

Too bad us euroheads soon cannot come to visit good old Britain to wrestle the imperial measurements and imperial stout without a visa :/

I HATE the fact that reagan rolled us back into imperial. America, as a nation, was ready. That idiot was just about as bad as trump is.

Wrong forum, but leftists can’t help themselves.

Yes, but deep down they know that “Global Warming” will eliminate the cold weather range issue.

More ignorant Trumpians in here than you would think. 😀

I’ve been patiently waiting since the Carter Administration for America to adopt the metric system. Surely dear Great Leader Trump will make this right…

What is a meter? What is a millemeter?

there are 1000 millemeters in a meter. Its right there in the word mille…meter. It’s called a decimal system for a reason.

Originally the meter was was 1/10,000,000 if the distance from the north pole to the equator on a great circle preferably passing through Paris.

“How many hogshead to the toodle whistles…”

Stop complaining, or we’ll make you express all speeds in terms of furlongs per fortnight. 😉

Another Euro point of view

For one thing cabin heating in very cold temperature should not be provided by the battery as this is a waste of precious resources and could even be dangerous in case running out of power in a snow storm etc. A cabin heater as those used in trucks seems to me the obvious solution for very cold climate. It can always be made environmental friendly by using bio ethanol or whatever fuel with none or very little impact. We are talking of small quantities anyway. The day EVs will be equipped as an available option with that type of equipment in cold countries will be the day EVs will have earned its place as a mainstream vehicle and not belonging to a niche market for people which motivation is often to make a statement.

The moment EVs stop being a troll magnet is the moment they have truly become mainstream.

All car types have haterr.

LOL! Thanks Euro, I needed a good laugh today.

Facepalm here… how short sighted can comments be.

Cold weather range depletion is a real issue, and a few liters of fossil fuel is MUCH greener than mining, shipping, manufacturing and hauling around a 20-40kWh bigger battery.

And you guys call him a troll and laugh at him… sigh….

I believe Volvo was using a Liquid Fuel Heating System on something… The little C30 EV test vehicle, I think it was, with Ethanol. In some areas, propane might be mre readily available.

And drilling, refining, and shipping that fossil fuel. Your point has been proven wrong many times over.

We are talking about making heat, the physics favors burning a little liquid fuel rather than making and storing electricity and then throwing it away in a resistor. The problem of gasoline cars is the efficiency of a engine that turns heat into work (real world 20-30%) compared to an electric motor which turns electricity into work at 90ish% efficiency.

A few liters of fossil fuel is more efficient…How? 35% of the fossil fuel goes into to moving the car, the rest is lost. 90+% charger efficiency and 90+% efficiency of energy use to move the car. 33.7kWh = 1 gallon of gasoline. EVs can do well over 100 miles on that much energy.
Try again.

An electric car still obeys the laws of thermodynamics. Cold weather decreases to range because the battery operated at a lower temperature. Regenerative braking also does not work or is reduced at lower temperatures. As you drive the car, the battery warms up and some of the regenerative braking becomes operational.
I bought my second Model S and I have no interest in ever driving another car with an internal combustion engine. The best of them are like beautiful thoroughbreds. They are beautiful but pollution goes out the back end.

What if you’re stuck in a storm and your Infernal Pollution Engine won’t start either? or your tank empty? The thing is Another Euro Point of view IS a proven genuine pe-troll, and would have never brought up this issue for a gas car. What about a frozen engine at -30° vs an electric motor? The electric will ALWAYS start the first time, guaranteed 100% every time.

Finding issues (real or made up) about EVs and spreading them all the time is the pay check of those suck cockers.

*cough cough * Volt.

Yes… a “few” liters is. I charge my EV with solar power – can you fill up your tank with sunlight? By my math (admittedly back of envelope), after I’ve driven 3,200 miles (assuming 6kWh per gallon of gas, which is conservative) I will have offset the carbon impact of the battery entirely. 3,200 miles is more than a “few” gallons of gas, but an insignificant fraction of the total carbon impact of a gas (or EV) car over its lifetime.

Replied above your comments :/

Did I mention an engine? I was referring to the former post mentioning a cabin heater running on fossils – or other form of energy. it is WAY greener to use 10-100 liters yearly of some fossils fuel to heat the cabin than using a large enough battery to provide the extra power.

Sometimes it seems like commenters forget that an AV requires electricity, and that is partly made on fossils. US power is quite dirty, and so is much of EU power.

Read the message again, and think it over again. A small heating unit requiring limited space, limited ressources and only the fuel needed to head the cabin in very cold situations. During “normal” cold the battery will do the job.

Fossil fuel is very efficient at generating heat….
And the fuel could very well be synthetic…..

Another Euro point of view

The fact that some commenters thought you were suggesting to use bio fuel (ethanol etc,) to move the car instead of heating it is quite telling :-(.

The 20-40 kWh battery is manufactured and then used for 10-20 years and pays back it’s environmental costs within 6 months. Fossil fuels go right into the atmosphere from the moment you start drilling and then must continue doing so until there is no more in the ground.

Yes. I am 100% with you on this one. Many people are totally clueless about what it will actually take to replace ICE cars. We need to scrap all of them ASAP. That will require some level-headed engineering compromises, including biofuel heaters in very cold climes. Pretending there is something righteous about hauling around an extra 20 kWh of battery for those really cold days is ridiculous.

20kWh extra isn’t just for extra cold days. It also lets you venture further during summer trips. It reduces cycling of the other batteries, extending their life.

There are more than enough existing heating requirements in society that can use limited biofuel production. If you put some in EV heaters, fossil fuel production increases, so it really isn’t clean. We want to power as much as possible on the grid, which keeps getting cleaner.

There are plenty of advantages to carrying a battery pack with higher capacity than you need on an everyday basis, even more than the advantage to a gasmobile having a gas tank bigger than what you need for one day’s driving.

Higher capacity battery packs last longer, lose capacity slower over time, can potentially fast-charge faster, and generally give a PEV (Plug-in EV) better resale value. They also give the PEV more flexibility, in that it can be taken back out for a second trip the same day, before being recharged.

Anyone who talks about BEVs having a battery pack that is “too big” is ignoring reality pretty firmly.

Conceptionally you are correct. But as we all know, the problem today is the cost of the battery. Which makes EVs siimply unaffordable for the average family. So tossing in 10-20 kW bigger battery is problematic.
Adding a small fossil fuel heater, as an option for cold climates should be perfectly OK. Some iMiEV owners managed to install some sort of trailer heater to keep the cold out. Some very old VW Beatles came wit an aux gas heater. These are all temporary solutions until a better solution, like cheaper battery becomes available.

No need to poo poo ideas!

As compared to having a gas engine that is 3 times less efficient than an electric motor just to be able to warm your vehicle with waste heat during cold days? At least in the EV case you can choose how to use the “extra” energy for things like AC, heating, additional range, or powering electrical accessories. 20kw of batteries probably comes out to around 400 pounds or so. 100+ mpge is probably impossible for an ICE to beat and that 20kw extra weight isn’t going to make much of a dent in that (EPA ratings usually involve some amount of climate control already). When calculating energy efficiency of a car, weight of the car has a lot less effect on efficiency than wind drag for example. Also, batteries are only going to get lighter and more energy dense, so this is only going to improve. In the face of all that, saying that EVs can’t replace ICE vehicles currently because they require an extra 20kw for climate control is what is ridiculous.

Another Euro point of view

Nobody, but really nobody here is suggesting to have a gas engine to warm up the cabin.

The Volt does it nicely. It sips fuel and basically idles while it provides heat from the engine to warm the cabin and supplement the electric heaters in the battery and HVAC. The bulk of the battery charge is used for propulsion and in this mode battery range does not suffer and fuel used during the trip is miniscule. To the order of 170+ mpg. I might have to fill up once a month or two. Oh no.

The issue is, it’s not just an extra 20kWh of battery, If you’re losing 40-50% of your battery on what is a fairly warm winters day in many parts of the world, that’s an issue. It’s not 20kWh, it’s another 70kWh (a Model 3 LR for example).

I’m not a fan of the idea of some kind of fossil fuel heater either, but currently that’s what a fair number of EV owners in cold locations actually do.

This is why some may hold hope for PHEV/EREV, but it has been a tough week.

Don’t you bring along a lot of unnecessary fuel for many days each time you fill up?

Bigger packs are good for the range anxiety, and reduce the number of recharging points necessary. Bigger batteries are needed to make this planet a better place.

You make a good point. I have a model 3 and I love it. However, there is no battery pre-heater, like the Model S or X have. If I recall, Tesla decided against it and are instead using the waste heat from the electronics to heat the battery. Even worse is the fact that my car won’t regen when the battery is cold. I’ve seen days when it was only -15C and it wouldn’t regen even after driving for 20 minutes. They need to rethink the battery and cabin heat thing for cold climates. This this was clearly designed for warm weather, which is obvious when you use frameless windows that are prone to freezing. Also, when I open the trunk, all the snow falls into the trunk. This also happens when it rains. I guess it doesn’t rain much is California. 1. When the battery is cold, they could use the regen power to heat an element heater is the battery coolant line. Then instead of wasting the regen energy, they could use it to heat the coolant, which in turn would heat the battery. Once the battery is heated, then they could allow full regen. 2. As Euro… Read more »

If want a cold weather EV I would wait for Volvo to make one. Just looking at a model 3 tells me that the engineers never dealt with a car covered in ice with freezing rain. The fact that Tesla has to work all these last minute software updates for winter tells me they cut corners on environmental testing at extreme cold temperatures and are letting their customers do that testing for them. But realistically I see people who can afford a Tesla will have one for the daily commute and a ICE car for extreme weather (hot or cold) and for long road trips so your whole adventure is beholden to routing to the next super charging station then waiting… And maybe that is the best of both worlds since you will cover most of your yearly miles as EV but will have a out for the short comings of a EV.

Good idea on Volvo! They’re likely to build something very pretty as well. And they already have a history with auxiliary heaters: the C30 electric had a small biofuel heater, IIRC. As far as the TM3 is concerned, a heat pump would be a good option as well, especially for moderately cold weather.

Model 3 can preheat the battery. Rather than having a dedicated battery-heater, it (re-)uses the electric motors in an inefficient mode to generate heat that is used to warm the battery.

I’m seeing no energy to the battery even in 0C conditions, so regen remains reduced forever…

As M3 gets more miles per KWh, it takes more miles of range to heat the same cabin (vs, say, Model S).

As Volt thermostats open to warm it’s cabin, before spending .1gal, I am with Euro, and others.

We can write how “all” cars are less efficient in cold, but EVs can be a smack in the face. That becomes a disservice for the newbies, and I think ultimately EV sales.

I will add another pleasant feature of I Pace, like B Class, but few others, is a front windshield defrost element. More energy savings.

No pollution spewing fossil fuels in my EV! Period.

But you do take an airplane when going on vacation, and do have all kinds of practical household stuff that uses large amounts of energy right? The savings from running an EV is marginal when looking at the big picture, so why not use an easy fix to improve vinter range in modern EV’s?
Most non EV owners probably think twice before buing one if they live in very cold climates.

Electric airplanes are taking off this year with small 20 passenger planes that travel 600 miles, extremely effective TCO returns and able to operate without noise restrictions.

In five years larger planes will start getting into electric tech as well, you’re going to be running out of excuses regarding where we are stuck having to use outdated fossil age tech from last century.

Progress is being made.

Whenever I have a choice I choose the non FF solution. Do we have any sensible choice to travel long distances and do business on tight schedules? This argument is a RIDICULOUS distraction!

“The savings from running an EV is marginal when looking at the big picture…”

It’s a very long way from marginal. Burning just one gallon of gasoline produces 20 pounds of CO2! (Seems impossible, but it’s true.)

According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, switching from a gasmobile to a BEV reduces the emissions, on average, by half over the lifetime of the car (see link below). That’s a heck of a lot of pounds of CO2!

As the greenies say… or used to, anyway: “Think globally, act locally.”


I think that removable generator in the frunk may be better solution for cold weather, since it could not only give the heat, but also some electricity.

Saving electricity is the same as provoding more electricity!

@Another Euro point of view Said:“… A cabin heater as those used in trucks seems to me the obvious solution for very cold climate…”

One of the few things AEPOV has said that I agree with.

When taking a home electric off-grid by installing solar PV it’s common to convert the home’s standard electric stove and electric oven to natural gas or propane sometimes in combination with counter-top electric induction oven elements (which are more efficient than regular electric heating elements).

No, the day will come when a BEV’s battery pack carries sufficient stored energy that the loss from running the cabin heater won’t be significant enough to worry about.

EVs are perhaps still in the early adopter phase of the EV revolution, or at best only now emerging from that. As with all cases of early adopter tech, it’s not yet fully competitive with alternative technologies.

As battery energy density continues to improve and prices continue to fall in future years, BEVs will be built with more and more capacity in their packs. The percentage of stored energy used to run the cabin heater will fall to the point that a BEV’s range loss will be no more significant, and no more noticed by the driver, than the MPG loss in a gasmobile when run on a very cold day.

What EVs in the future should really be equipped with is heat pumps and sophisticated heat scavenging equipment! A powertrain pumping out 20 kW at 95% efficiency is still producing 1 kW of waste heat. A heat pump scavenging that energy should almost be able to heat the cabin with that alone. Most cars these days pull in fresh air, heat it, blow it into the cabin and then dump it out through vents at the back of the car. Again, a heat pump or heat exchanger should be able to scavenge that energy and recycle it back to the incoming fresh air, thereby almost eliminating that energy loss. All that’s left is insulating the structure and windows, and that’s not exactly rocket science. And hell, even if it were, Elon’s proven that he can do that too! It’s not hard to build a car that doesn’t suffer in cold temperatures, it just might cost a tiny bit more and require some thought during the design process. But as much as I admire Tesla, I’m not expecting the ultimate cold weather cruiser from a Californian company (although I’d be thrilled to be proven wrong).

Another Euro point of view

Yes, good point.

Thanks for recommending the heat pump, Davek. All EVs have air conditioners, so the additional cost to instead use a heat pump / A/C system would be negligible (basically just a valve and some software), and it would make a big difference in cold weather range and comfort.
Elon’s a smart guy – I wouldn’t be too surprised if there’s a Model S and X refresh that includes a heat pump, or if they offer it as a premium add-on for a couple thousand dollars – the profit margin on it would be substantial.

The model S has had a heat pump since the beginning. My 2013 model S uses a heat pump for heating. It depends on the outside temperature because at some point heat pumps don’t work very well. The model 3 uses the motors to heat the coolant which then heats the battery pack by using the motor coils as heaters. This is less efficient than a heat pump, however, but a lot simpler. Heat pumps don’t work too well when the temperature gets below around 20F though and they can add a fair bit of cost.

Model S never had a heat pump.

May we see a citation for the Model S having a heat pump as standard equipment? Everything else I’ve read on the subject says that no Tesla cars have heat pumps installed.

My Prius Prime has a heat pump to heat the cabin when in EV operation. It also has seat heaters and steering wheel heaters, which are just resistive heating, but lower power than heating the whole cabin.

My 2013 model S already does this. It uses a heat pump for heating and it also can pre-heat the battery while the car is still plugged in.

No, it doesn’t.

it has a resistive heater and heat recycling, not heat pump.

To this point I’ve been watching the temperatures on my Volt in cold weather. While the inverter and battery stays relatively cool the transaxle (with the motors) constantly runs above 100 degrees.

While ERDTT runs in the 20’s and 30’s high 30’s to 50’s temps result in slashing battery range using the heaters. If the transmission oil were routed through an exchanger or had its own core in the HVAC box it would easily have enough latent heat to warm the cabin and supplement the main heater.

Your last sentence is pure fiction…

Take a good look at this and tell me if thousand of cars with installed data collecting modules study is fictional.

@Pushmi-Pullyu said: “No, the day will come when a BEV’s battery pack carries sufficient stored energy that the loss from running the cabin heater won’t be significant enough to worry about…”

Problem with “the day will come” rationality is that it’s an unknown temporal variable that invites a “wait for it” action plan (which is a non-action plan) rather than seeking a today usable bridge solution.


A Jay Cole INSIDEEVs article of 5 years ago… which is applicable today:

Utilizing A Combustion Heater In A Fully Electric Car – A User’s Story:


Take a look too. The difference of cold losses in real life situations between BEVs and ICEs is 10% only. Yet 65% of the losses in an EV is from heating the cabin and the components. THIS IS A CONSTANT, meaning that as battery range improves, this % will shrink and become irrelevant soon enough. On the contrary, the loss of efficiency/range in the cold from an ICE car will NEVER improve. So in time, BEVs will lose LESS efficiency than ICEs in the cold.

I would like to see a study of how much it would impact the cost of a car to insulate the cabin well enough that heat loss would be minimal. I have my doubts that all that glass could easily have its R rating substantially improved; wouldn’t that require double-pane windows and windshields, or possibly even triple-pane?

But some provision would have to be made to allow heat to escape in the summer when the car is parked and sitting in direct sunlight. Cars are already bad enough at being solar ovens!

In the meantime… yeah, using a separate heater which burns fuel certainly would have its advantages. Yes, they are practical, and yes, they do get used in very cold climates. I think it’s the principle of the thing that bothers us EV advocates. The whole point of EVs is to reduce or eliminate burning fossil fuels, and yet here we find recommendations for using that to heat the car!

The alternative is to put on the seat heaters, which make people much hotter than they need to be and likely will need to be turned down. But it’s probably a moot point because even with full heat, 180 miles is as much as people typically drive in five days.

With heat, it’s the number of hours it’s used, not the number of miles it’s used that counts. So on long trips at highway speeds, these numbers are irrelevant. For slower city driving, the numbers are irrelevant because they are so much higher than anybody will use driving around NYC.

At 60 mph, the heat will be used less than 1/3 as much as traveling the same distance in city traffic at under 30 mph with lots of traffic lights. So the 40% drop would be closer to 10% in real life on long trips where the car is warmed up for most of the trip.

Those numbers certainly are not irrelevant. In fact, we see many reports of dedicated EV drivers shutting off the cabin heat to extend the range of their EVs. They wouldn’t do that if they didn’t think it was necessary.

This problem should become less frequent as people move from relatively low-range BEVs such as older Leafs to 200+ mile range BEVs, but it’s still a concern on hours-long trips. If you travel for hours on a very cold day, with the cabin heater running, then it’s going to impact your range, regardless of whether you’re driving on the highway or in town.

The ultimate solution, of course, is to get BEVs which can be charged fast enough that it won’t be much of an inconvenience to stop and charge more frequently on very cold days. We can be pretty confident that eventually we’ll get those, since competition is driving shorter and shorter charging times. But as CDAVIS noted above, that solution isn’t going to help today, nor tomorrow.

Apparently some of the same things happen with EV drivers as ICE drivers in cold weather. You see ICE drivers start up there car and stay in the house for 10 minutes some EV drivers probably do the same thing. Rather than starting up the car and wait for it to warm up. Start the car up and drive it will warm up quicker and and save energy.

Do Not Read Between The Lines
I’m going to downvote you overall, because … – a long-range BEV with resistive heating should be able to manage 100 miles even in very cold weather, which is more than enough for typical uses. We drive 105 mile round trip once every 2 weeks, and rarely further than that, and I’d be prepared to make exceptional stops. – most people don’t deal with very cold weather. (A couple of exceptional overnights during one winter my childhood were -18C and -22C, but now I live somewhere that I expect the odd _day_ in winter to be that cold) – a decent heat pump would significantly improve efficiency in the typical scenario with which drivers deal. I think suggesting that not having the heater would make the vehicles niche is wrong. Having said that, I do agree that it would be great to have ethanol heating option: – As long as the heater is well-designed, ethanol is clean-burning. (Poor combustion can lead to generation of aldehydes) – Although flammable, ethanol is relatively safe to handle so containers could quite easily be handled by consumers; a standardized exchangeable container system might work well – Most countries would not need additional ethanol production:… Read more »

Up to 65% loss in heating an EV. The more isolated they are the better. But as batteries grow bigger, this % shrinks.

Three cheers for great comment!

“bio ethanol”???? What other kind of ethanol is there?!

When the statement is “let’s leave a better world to our children rather than trash it”, I don’t think enough people are making it

Try a propane heater in the car to pre-heat it, This is much more efficient than electricity.

Just use a can of Sterno in the passenger foot well. Unlike most here I think this is a good idea (not the sterno). It’s rarely a good Idea to turn electricity directly into heat (by resistance) if avoidable. A heat pump is fine for medium cold temps. Could be wrong but I think the old VW transporter (bus) offered a cabin heater fired with gasoline (in addition to the engine like thing in the back).

I’ve read of the old VW Beetle sometimes being equipped with a gasoline-fired cabin heater. Some VW dealers in sub-arctic regions would even install one for you. But tightened safety regulations have forced companies to stop making those. I hadn’t read of them being used in the VW Microbus, but of course there’s no reason why it wouldn’t work there too…. altho obviously it would have a much larger space to heat up.

For modern gasmobiles, there is an aftermarket product which diverts gasoline from the fuel tank to burn in a heater, so you don’t have a separate reservoir to fill. Presumably those are safer than the older gasoline cabin heaters, where carbon monoxide emissions were a very real danger. For more info, Google [gasoline parking heater].

I don’t completely disagree with this assessment, but that would make the EV not a zero-emission vehicle according to the laws, and therefore all the tax credits / subsidies / etc go away.

Fossil fuels are REALLY GOOD at only one thing – burning them to make heat. Anything else they do is extremely inefficient.

Obviously the answer is “clean coal”. 😀

Bad math.

346 Wh/mile is 33% higher than EPA rating, so only a 25% loss in range. Another way to look at it is he used roughly half his battery (37 kWh) and still had 126 miles left. That implies 252 miles total range, down less than 25% from 310 rated.

My guess is the 297 estimate was based on nominal conditions (~260 Wh/mile) and the 126 was based on actual recent driving (346 Wh/mile). If so it’s apples-to-oranges. Why the car estimates 297 when it’s well below freezing outside is a different issue, and can easily confuse people like this guy.

In most cases, range reported by the Model 3 is rated range, not based on recent driving or local weather conditions. This is the case for the 298 miles reported at the beginning.

The exception is the energy panel which he pulls up at approximately 1:10 into the video, which does report predicted range.

Thanks, I didn’t realize that.

But why would EPA-rated range drop 171 miles after using 37 kWh? Seems 20 miles too high.

Interesting that his last 50 miles was 393 Wh/mile and last 5 (?) miles was 555. Lot of short trips with a cold battery, perhaps?

Youtubers are more often populists, not experts. I’d trust KMan Auto or Bj0rn Nyland on this subject, they are more experienced owners.

Do Not Read Between The Lines

The energy use for EPA is wall-to-wheel.
The energy use in the car is battery-to-wheel.

About a 15% difference is what I’ve seen reported in real-world use.

I used to average around 125 Wh/km in warm weather (temperature around 20 degree Celsius). The temperature now is around 5 degrees Celsius and I average around 150 Wh/km. So, I lost around 20% range due to cold weather.

I keep the driver side temperature in the car at 18.5 degree Celsius and the passenger side as LO. I also use the seat warmer on the driver side. I never do any kind of pre-heating of the car or the battery.

56mpg, you are shooting yourself in the foot by setting passenger side to LO. The car will actively try to cool down that side and you will use far more energy than just syncing both sides to the same temp.

My Kia Niro PHEV has a nifty feature just for that. There’s a button that switches to ‘driver only’ which completely shuts off the passenger side HVAC.

vvk, nice suggestion. I will try the sync and see if it improves the mileage.

Do Not Read Between The Lines

HI means do not cool, heat as much as possible if outside temperature is below numbered minimum
LO means do not heat, cool as much as possible if outside temperature is above numbered minimum
In my Prius the numbered high is 85 and numbered low is 65.
So, if they’re using LO it shouldn’t apply direct heat there in cold weather.

Took me awhile to realize you were giving your efficiency in terms of Wh/km instead of Wh/mile. I was going to say they were crazy and had to be a typo. But those are actually 200 Wh/mile in ideal and 240 Wh/mile at 5 degrees C.

I would say your ideal number sounds a bit high to me. I was getting about 180 Wh/mile ~= 115 Wh/km and now that it’s winter I’m seeing about 280 Wh/mile ~= 175 Wh/km.

I drive with the cabin heater set to 65 F (18 C) and I only have it on ~50% of the time, relying on seat heater alone the rest of the time.

I was like… “Dang Hypermilers”…… 🙂

18 is way too cold for me. Actually, I turn off the seat warmer after a while and just use the cabin heat. It is more comfortable that way.

This tells me that you aren’t dressing properly for the temperature.

On a recent trip, I had the temperature set to 63F (17C). My wife and I took turns reaching to turn it down because it got too darn hot in the car. It was well below freezing outside and we were dressed for the cold. Turns out, 63F is HOT when you are wearing a winter jacket over a sweater.

Yeah, I don’t know what the actual cabin temperature ends up being for me, given I have the heater turned off half the time. Maybe it would make more sense for me to just have it on 100% of the time and have it set to 50 F (~10C) or whatever.

How do you drive with a jacket and sweater? Must feel very cramped.

I have to assume this comment is a joke. Or you simply have never lived in cold weather.

This is what you call cold? Pfft… Wait until the temperature plunges to minus 5.

I would say 40-50% range loss is what I experience with my MS in really cold weather if I drive my usual 80-90 mph and keep interior temp set at 71-73. Cold air is much more dense and the car’s dual 5 kW heaters are very powerful (and nice!) Accordingly, my monthly electricity bill goes from $60 in the summer to $100 in winter.

I always love the people who try to outdo each other with “you think THAT’s cold…”. I used to be one myself.

Yes, 17F is remarkably cold for November in NY. This Thanksgiving day parade was the second-coldest parade in its history.

When the words coming out of your mouth freeze in the air and go CLUNK on the ice, frozen so they can’t be heard until they thaw… then that is cold. Otherwise, quit whining. 😉 #PaulBunyan


The original Chuck Norris?

That is what you call cold? Try -25 C degrees in Jan and February in Montreal.
Now whose next for -35? Yukon, NWT at -40+

I meant -5 Fahrenheit, which is -20 C.

I’ve seen -35 in upstate NY (Potsdam). I have to imagine that Yukon or NWT would get well below that.

Pah, -25? I go skiing at -35! 😉

Wind chill from moving is ******* brutal at that temperature.

My comment got moderated away it seems. Oh well.

Yes, 17F is very cold for NY in November. They were saying that it was the second-coldest year in the history of the Thanksgiving Day parade.

Do Not Read Between The Lines

It was 14F for us, and there was a strong, cold wind. I’ve only been here for 10 years, but my wife (a native of the area) said it was the coldest Thanksgiving she could remember.

When it is cold, people use the heater more. Electric cars do not get free heat from the engine, hence that is some of the mileage loss. If the car is kept in a warm garage, you would start with it being warm and not take as much initial power to heat it.

Or pre-heat the cabin to a toasty temperature while the car is still plugged in, avoiding any drain on the battery pack. Whether or not you can preheat the Model 3’s battery pack — I see arguments both ways — you can certainly preheat the cabin.

This conveniently assumes that you have access to shore power. This is not always the case when away from home.

Not being able to leave the car plugged in overnight when it’s bitterly cold certainly does have a very significant impact on range. Someday, almost every place people park overnight will have a L2 EV charger within range, or at least a 220v outlet where you can plug in a portable EVSE. But not today or tomorrow. 🙁

I doubt that we will ever see a day when every place one might park a car in Manhattan has access to even a 240V outlet, let alone an L2 EVSE.

“Or pre-heat the cabin to a toasty temperature while the car is still plugged in, avoiding any drain on the battery pack.”

This assumes you have sufficient shore power to fully run the heater, which can suck a lot of juice, and keep it from also drawing from the battery. Depending on how cold it is and how substantial the shore power is, one can actually drain the battery doing cabin pre-heat while the car is plugged in. I wish there were a setting to auto limit the heater wattage to just what the present shore power can supply.

I’m new with my FFE. I’m driving it in cold weather in Quebec, Canada. At -10C and the heather on at 21C, so far my average consumption is about 254 kW/km or 407 kW/km. Still experiencing…

Can you do an article on the new 2019 Prius AWD cold weather package? I understand the batteries are not the standard units used in non-awd units. They have a cold weather package with ni-cad cells vs lithium to help with range loss in the colder months.

We only cover cars with a plug.

Wait, there are cars without plugs? How quaint.

What about (future) cars with wireless charging? 😉

I anticipate the outcry and the endless discussion on future EV forums when EV makers start making cars that have only wireless chargers, so the die-hards will no longer be able to plug in… 😉

Many EV enthusiasts decry the loss of efficiency from wireless charging, but I think it’s inevitable that will become the future standard. There are too many advantages to wireless charging for it to be ignored. But DCFC may continue to use a plug, given the difficulty of pumping that much power thru a wireless charger. (Not impossible, just quite expensive.)

I live in MN…precondition my car almost every time and still see a 35% loss in efficiency past few weeks where its been averaging 20 degrees and the worst is yet to come… we have many sub zero days in Dec/Jan/Feb which will only flash M3’s efficiency.

I think EVs will be main stream once they figure out problems/issues like these. A friend of mine (also from Minnesota) who bought Model 3 is baffled at the lost of efficiency… he has said number of times if he knew he would be losing approximately 40% efficiency on 65K vehicle, he would have never bought it. As much as he likes driving he regrets the purchase.

My point without getting into arguments is, Tesla (& others) need to figure out a way to maintain efficiency in cold/hot conditions. Comparisons are inevitable.

My understanding is it’s physics. So the only way to solve the cold weather (we’re not talking about hot here) range drop is to add more battery capacity.

Gasoline vehicles BSFC comes up as the vehicle is loaded (i.e. cold air drag) — which means the mpg (or range per full tank) doesn’t fall off a cliff , it just goes down.
Gasoline vehicles have excess ‘waste’ heat than can be utilized for cabin heating.

Electric vehicles “BSEC” (don’t think that’s a term ,but…) is at it’s best from the start, and falls off a little as they are loaded (cold air drag) . thus — range falls off a cliff, somewhat.
EVs have very little waste heat than can be utilized.

Air density and cabin heating are issues, but I think cold batteries are a bigger culprit. Pre-heating them helps, but once outside they shed a lot of heat through the bottom.

Here’s the dilemma: In bitterly cold conditions, you’d want the battery pack to be fairly well insulated so that once heated up, it stays heated. But at any other time, you want the battery pack to be able to radiate heat away as fast as possible, so you wouldn’t want any insulation at all.

I’m not sure there is any practical way to solve that dilemma. I suppose you could put in sliding panels of insulation around the pack, panels which would only be deployed as needed, but adding moving parts obviously creates more failure points.

Physics is a limitation, sure, but there’s hope in the form of heat pumps and sophisticated heat scavenging equipment! A powertrain pumping out 20 kW at 95% efficiency is still producing 1 kW of waste heat. A heat pump scavenging that energy should almost be able to heat the cabin with that alone. Most cars these days pull in fresh air, heat it, blow it into the cabin and then dump it out through vents at the back of the car. Again, a heat pump or heat exchanger should be able to scavenge that energy and recycle it back to the incoming fresh air, thereby almost eliminating that energy loss. All that’s left is insulating the structure and windows, and that’s not exactly rocket science. It’s not hard to build a car that doesn’t suffer in cold temperatures, it just might cost a tiny bit more and require some thought during the design process. I’m not convinced that the higher density of cold air is that significant a factor, but I haven’t done any math to back that up.

Heat pumps work well when it’s only moderately cold. They don’t work worth spit in bitterly cold conditions, when needed most.

False. Even assuming a very cold outside temperature, the worst coefficient of performance (COP) you can ever get with a heat pump is 1. That means that the heat pump is at worst pointless, but it is never worse than a resistive heater, which at best (actually always) has a COP of 1.

The Model III is a far more energy-efficient vehicle than the Model S. With that comes some understanding that increased air density, use of heaters, and so forth play their part to reduce range. Please, from a fellow Minnesota Tesla owner (and one of the club founders), read one of my Winter road trip blogs:

Tesla really has some software quality issues right now; my advice is wait a little, they will likely patch some of this over the air. Torque idling, for instance, was a noticeable boon to range.

Most of that loss is going to heat the cabin, which is why biofuel heaters make good engineering sense. EV evangelists tell people to drive with only the seat heater, or use an electric blanket. This is fine for folks like me who figure anything is worth doing to limit climate change. But that isn’t going to cut it for a third of the population that don’t believe, or don’t care. Most can’t afford the extra 20 kWh just for heating. Not to mention we need to make best use of battery production, if we are serious about replacing ICEV. Cabin heat is a much better use of biofuels than putting it in the tank of more ICE vehicles.

Indeed, an ICE burning fuel has about 30% efficiency, which is why we shouldn’t use them for getting around any more. A heater burning the same fuel can probably extract 80 or 90% of the energy in the fuel.

Is that 30% accounting for the heat load or just mechanical output? Because the heat is free, so no further energy is being spent in that direction.

Do Not Read Between The Lines

You didn’t say how far you’re driving.

These anecdotal reports of severe range loss in a BEV in very cold weather are, in my opinion, nothing more than EV bashing.

It’s normal for a BEV to lose 20-30% of its range in very cold weather, both because batteries are far less efficient at releasing stored power when they are below freezing, as well as the increased power drain from greater use of the cabin heater.

Yes, you can find anecdotal reports of a BEV losing 40% or even 50% of its range. But those are outlier events, certainly not the norm.

They are almost invariably cases of a inexperienced BEV driver, one who doesn’t know he should pre-condition the car by leaving it plugged in and set on a timer to warm up using power from the plug — not power stored in the battery — to warm up both the battery pack and the cabin before the driver gets into the car.

I don’t think these cases are outliers at all in the northeast. I’ve been driving an EV in upstate NY since 2012, and have always lost about 50% of my range in the winter. Talking with my friends who drive other models, it’s pretty much universal.

No, what we are seeing is a new wave of EV drivers thanks to the appeal of the Model 3. They aren’t enthusiasts. They want a car that’s cool and fun to drive. Expect a whole lot of people to be shocked at their (very real!) range loss in the coming months.

I drive M3, electrical engineer by profession and do every damn thing possible (preconditioning, timing the charge just before leaving, optimal speed, tire pressure and so on).
Unfortunately, your arguments don’t hold a candle in MA, MN, ND, SD and list of states goes on (read – cold to very cold places)
Does heat pump ring a bell?

So how much range do you typically lose on a bitterly cold day?

And if you’re an engineer, then you ought to know that a heat pump isn’t going to help much on days when it’s so cold you’re losing 30% or more of the car’s normal range. The colder it is, the less a heat pump helps.

I’m certainly willing to be told that the TM3 loses more range in bitterly cold conditions because of the unique way it’s engineered. But I’d like to see more discussion of that subject.

I can only speak for myself, but my E-Up uses about 50% of the battery for aux consumption in cold weather. I normally pre heat before going to work, but not when going back home. I’ve spoken to other EV-ers with similar experiences.

In my experience, after 17K miles in a Bolt, in mild Virginia winter weather with temps in the 30s-40’s F, even with preheating, on cloudy days, or after dark, 20-30% of energy use going to cabin heat is totally normal. Having grown up in the frigid north, I know it gets a lot colder there. You don’t need a degree in physics to figure out it takes more energy to stay warm up there.

Do Not Read Between The Lines

That’s unfair.

I’d be able to and happy to commute in a used iMiEV if I didn’t have to deal with the winter extremes. But, I have to deal with reality.

They shouldn’t be _used_ as EV bashing. But they point to a real-world issue, and as EVs fall in price and increase in volume, I hope that they will increase in very cold locations and that volume there will be sufficient to introduce and support an alcohol heater option. There’s a Renault BEV van that already has a diesel heater option, but I would like to see an option that is both clean and potentially sustainable.

Now on my second winter with my Bolt and it has significant range loss during cold weather. It’s simply a fact of an ev at this point in time with existing battery technology.

Summer I can average 4 to 4.2 m/kwh or 238-250 w/m. My range using hilltop reserve is 210 miles. Now that we are at the start of winter my range is 140 miles. I average about 3m/kWh or 333w/m. It will go down more when it gets really cold i.e. below 0f. With the low winter range the Bolt is limited to being a around town or daily commute only. There is no chance of even doing short road trips. This will have to be fixed if ev’s are to become a only car. Even the LR tm3 won’t be able to road trip 800 mile days in January in the snow without spending a lot of time charging. My next ev will have a lot bigger battery than I have now.

Nope. I routinely lost 40% in my LEAF in cold weather and drove to work with no heat and froze my butt off.

At least I’m warm and cozy in my M3.

Tesla should add a heat pump instead of resistance heater if they don’t provide battery warming capability like on MS and MX.

Pre-warming only works when it is destination to destination with charging available.

When one drives around and stop often to run errands, the car will cool down enough to have the worst averages.

The worst EV averages is when people drive it for about 5-10 miles and then park for about 1 hour and then repeat without access to charging for the entire day in the extreme cold. That will often drop efficiency by 50%.

Certainly the driving pattern will affect range loss on a very cold day.

As you say, if you leave the car sitting out in the cold long enough to cool off, then start driving again, that will certainly reduce range further.

That’s why the Chevy Volt remains so popular in Canada. You can do your commute in EV mode only even in the winter, but will not be left stranded in snow. And, if equipped with snow tires, the Volt drives surprisingly well on snow. If you live in a cold climate, get a Volt before they are gone !

Volt is officially cancelled. Need to find an alternative.

Still available until March, 2019 and more inventory may be available in dealer lots even past that date.

I can attest to this. Fwd GM products have always had a reputation for stupifying grip in the snow. My mom had a Citation and my girlfriend had a Pontiac Sunbird that never got stuck. They would be able to bust through the plowed in snow and get moving even with not so good tires. One time the sunbird was literally toboganning the back end through deep snow, the wheels weren’t even turning.

“since they’ve likely lost air due to cold temps.” Tires don’t lose air in cold temperatures, they lose pressure because the air they have contracts, reducing the pressure differential against outside air. Ideal gas laws, pressure and temperature are directly correlated.

Correct. I was simplifying, which is the expectation for internet writing. I could have gone on about the physics of it, but it was unnecessary as the point is made. They don’t lose air officially, but that’s how most people would understand it. If they checked the “air” in their tires they’d say the tires lost “air,” even though they’re officially checking the pressure.

The trouble with oversimplifying (to the point that the statement is factually incorrect) is that people read it and internalize it. Then they go around telling everyone that tires “lose air” in cold weather. If they lost air, the pressure wouldn’t return when the tires warmed up.

Another similar example of oversimplification is “heat rises”. No, heat goes from hotter areas to colder areas. HOT AIR rises because it is less dense than cold air, and gets displaced. I still occasionally hear about how “stupid” it is that the Bolt battery’s cooling plate is underneath the battery because “everybody knows that heat rises” so it should be on top.

I changed it to pressure

I wonder how much a heat pump would increase the range. Many EVs have it (at least as an option), not sure why Tesla is not offering it.

A heat pump would provide little to no benefit at 17F. They are only good in the moderately cold weather, typically about 30-50F. The kind of temperature at which most cold weather residents would simply use the heated seats instead.

Heat pumps are improving. COPs around 2 at 17F are pretty common. This paper shows a tandem compressor setup with COP of 3 at 17F (PDF, see last page).

Also of note is the vapor-injection heat pump of the Toyota Prius Prime, which delivers big improvements in cold-weather heating.

Regardless of how efficient the heat pump is, the real issue is that the colder it is, the less heat they put out. So when you need it the most is when it provides the least heat.

Heat pumps are a nice option, but they can’t replace a resistive heater for providing heat on bitterly cold days.

The little knowledge I have about Tesla batteries I learned from Inside Ev and the comments. I understand that the batteries have a cooling system to keep the batteries from getting to hot. I wonder if Tesla can adjust this to take in account colder temperatures. To.be fair I would expect the geniuses at Tesla have already done what they could on this issue.

Tesla needs to offer a heat pump as an option for people in colder climates.

I typically use enough that it takes around an hour to replenish my battery with a 40 amp draw each day. In the wintertime, I set up a charging time 90 minutes before I leave in the morning. This warms the batteries up really well so I get full regenerative breaking from the get-go.

It was 17F this morning and my efficiency was 75% compared to ideal rated range. Garaged overnight and left plugged in. Quite a drop in range for a thermally managed pack. Wish I could program the car to keep the battery at say 60F overnight when plugged in.

Glad I got the Long Range.

I went on a road trip to denver and I figured Tesla isn’t the car for Long Drives Period. So much trouble with slow chargers, weather problem affecting miles drastically. Its the best City Car anyone can have but 100% not a Long Drive worthy car. Needs massive improvements.

Obviously this is subjective to your climate and geography, but went from ~250wh/mi to about 315wh/mi. Shorter trips are less efficient and this is heating to 68F in 45F weather in auto, but yeah about 25% more energy.

Some observations based on having a Model 3 and zero motorcycle. Having ridden a zero motorcycle down to freezing temperatures several Winters, the amount of work or energy to move a weight a distance is negligable. Really the losses are more related to the battery chemistry and the additional systems operations. The battery chemistry in the lithium ion is barely affected down to freezing. Below freezing it is known to be impacted more. What I find is the biggest difference is that the Zero still uses a similar amount of energy. Our model 3 uses more because we run the heaters and seat warmers, which have a lot of drain on the power. Keeping it at 72 inside opposed to 68 makes a huge difference, just like it makes a huge difference in your power bill at home.

It’s 21 degrees here right now and I’m burning at 326 watt/hrs a model 3 performance and driving near 80 in highway so something is amiss withhis figures…i

You used less than half a horsepower to maintain speed at 80mph AND keep a heater on? Bull s…

You forget one important thing. The energy required to heat the car and the time he spent with the heaters on can absolutely account for that discrepancy. If he’s spending hours in the car with the heat on, then it can easily up the power consumption by that amount. (Also listening to loud radio)

A toaster uses 1000w-1500w. I’d imagine an EV has at least 1000w heaters. Lots of people aren’t aware of the energy expenditure of heat in terms of raw energy. To give you an idea, in the winter heating my house with natural gas uses 10x more energy than all the appliances, lights and electronics in the house combined.

Also range estimates are usually based on conservative drivers. Ones that accelerate super slow, maximize regenerative breaking, and keep things off.

A resistive heater in a car will typically have a rating of 1000-2000 watts, but that’s the maximum. It shouldn’t be pulling that much power except when it’s initially warming up the cabin. Average energy use per minute/hour will be highly variable, depending on how cold it is outside and how high you set the heater. (And to a lesser extent, how well insulated the cabin is. But with all that window glass, you’d need double-pane windows to insulate it well. I see some high-end cars do have double-pane windows… do they also have double-pane windshields?)

This summer in Ottawa I would charge my battery to 400km – in the fall when it started getting to 8-12 degress celsius out, the 400 km became about 392km. This past week or so we had many days at below -10 C and the 392km went to 370km. Its warmed a but back up to freezing so it is now 380km. I was suprprised I did not lose more. My 2017 Volt was much much worse. In the summer in the Volt I could get it to read 122 km range – and in the cold, I was only able to get it to 65-70km. So far I have been impressed with Model 3 range in the cold.

If you can afford a Tesla, you can afford a heated, insulated garage.

Except European homes typically don’t have a garage. But that doesn’t mean they can’t have an EV charger mounted where the car is parked at night. Preconditioning to heat the car doesn’t require a garage, it just requires the car be left plugged into an EV charge point overnight.

The car was pre-heated at home, while being plugged in. Most of the drive was on highway speeds, 70MPH average. The car was parked on NYC street for 5 hours. It was bitter cold and I’m not surprised. That is why I have the long range battery. No issues for long drive. In Christmas time, I will take a 2000+ miles drive to Florida. I will make another vid on that trip.




346 wh/mi (21.5kWh/100km) is typical of the weather condition listed. I recently travelled North in Ontario in a snow storm in similar temperature and it came to about 16kWh/100km or 258Wh/mi. Average speed was 80kph going up hill with 2 people in the car, heater on the whole way.

I’m driving an Ioniq though.

In any case, average ICE with 7L/100km is using equivalent of 60+kWh or 960Wh/mi, or about 3 times as the figure of the M3 in question.

And ICE do not get 7L/100km in winter.

A range reducing factor rarely mentioned in winter driving is wind. The wind on average blows stronger in winter than in summer. You might think that when doing a roundtrip, the wind cancels out over the two legs of the trip. My experience is that this is not the case. Crosswinds spoil a smooth airflow around the vehicle and headwinds always increase energy use more than the decrease you get from a tailwind (because air resistance is the square of the net wind speed).

Good points, thanks!

I live in Putnum county NY and commute to westchester. We just recently went through a number of cold days. My Wh/Mi was about the same 340~350.
I have had the car for 2 weeks and my lifetime average is 327 over 1415mi. But lately as we have a few warmer days my average is in the 290’s.

Never heard of Putnum, but I went to HS in Putnam (Carmel).

Never have this problem in my i3 rex, best EV for real world conditions.

On very cold days in Maine (single or negative digits) I budget one mile of charge for every minute of driving. That’s for a preconditioned MS driving at 70mph for 55 miles.

We drove back from Chicago to Colorado on I-80 and noted some (not 42%) range decrease, but realized we had the heat on, seat heaters and the radio, all of which use electricity. We appreciated the warning sign which came up telling us to slow down and made it to our next Supercharger without a problem.

People should be able to drive their EVs like a normal car and not have to worry about optimization techniques. If it’s a 42% dip off this normal range, then it’s a 42% dip regardless of optimizations because it’s relative to the way he drives the car.

My Volt is down about the same. The thing is, since my Volt has a gas motor (range extender) the motor kicks on to heat the battery. In the summer I didn’t need any gas because I was able to get about 65 – 70 miles of range on a charge. Now that it’s cold here in Minneapolis a full charge gets me about 38 miles to a charge. The gas motor turns on a few times while I am driving to keep the battery at ideal operating temps. Thus I have to fill gas every 400 or so miles even with a charge always on the bettery. Granted, the tank is small. Last fillup was 7.8 gallons of gas so 400 miles on that isn’t bad.

But I like summer much better. I went to a gas station 3 times all summer long…..🙂

I’ve been telling this for a long time – announced range and consumption of EVs must be more cleared stated. Using in “big letters” the range in ideal conditions is a bit deceiving. Information about battery aging, temperature influence, speed and others must be clear.

I have been driving a Tesla for 3 years and I live in Quebec Canada where it gets a lot colder then the temperature in the video. I have never experienced a 40+% decrease in range, if you look at wh/m it is evident he has a heavy foot. I would be curious to know his average speed during this little experiment

It’s hard to isolate any single factor affecting range, but from the comment posted above by “The Electric Israeli”, I suspect that parking the car for 5 hours outside in bitter cold and then driving it again the same day, is the cause of quite a bit of that range loss.

For extended periods of parking, using an underground parking garage would be preferable on bitterly cold days, but obviously that solution isn’t going to be available everywhere.

wow. Could that be the cell chemistry? If so, wow. Pretty bad.

As an ice owner and somewhat familiar with Tesla specs, the phrase ‘heat pump’ may not be well understood in relation to how Teslas create heat. If I’m not mistaken, Tesla cycles coolant thru its batteries as they warm up from use. This heat is circulated to whatever needs heat and not radiated thru any heat exchanger (conventional radiator) as waste energy. I’m almost certain Teslas used intelligent engineering to use waste heat given off batteries and motor(s). For heating, this may be the only heat exchanger needed, the heater core(?). Having a free source of heat no different from ice waste heat circulating free heat into the heater core. Since ice is inefficient compared to evs, the heat is radiated thru the main radiator and as exhaust. With evs, any heat generated from batteries and motor(s) is cycled to where its needed. Since little heat is generated, a supplemental source of heat is needed, via electric seat heating and from the hvac system. Since ac isn’t efficient below a certain temperature, unless a very different refrigerant is used to operate in subzero temps, electric heating elements are last. My old school guess is this driver used all the heating… Read more »

You are mistaken. All varieties of Tesla’s battery cooling systems dump out waste heat via a radiator. How could it be otherwise? It’s not like you can store up heat infinitely or indefinitely.

With the Model 3, heat scavenged from the motor is used to heat the battery pack. The motor cooling system may or may not be directly connected to a radiator — I don’t recall — but the battery cooling system certainly is.

The title says “Tesla Model 3 Range Down 42%”, however, from the information given, it took 171 rated miles to go 108 miles, which means range was down (171-108) / 171 = 37%, not 42%.

40% at -8 doesn’t seem unreasonable, a little high but in line with several datapoint and comment’s I’ve seen about Teslas. This range loss is one of the biggest issues with EV’s at the moment, and needs to be sorted somehow before BEV’s become mainstream in colder climates. Will a mainstream buyer really be happy with installing their own diesel heater in the cabin like a fair few Canadian EV drivers do at the moment? There must be a better solution. As another datapoint a poster on Teslamotorclub posted their stats in a thread about a 33% range loss in a Model 3: https://teslamotorsclub.com/tmc/threads/33-range-loss-in-cold-winter-conditions.106072/page-3 When plotted up it looks like this: https://i.postimg.cc/HsS2b7hS/Screen_Shot_2018-09-20_at_19.55.53.png The last three datapoint were extrapolated from the curve the best fit the actual data – how reliable that part of the curve is is up for debate, but the rest is related to hard data and shows that once you drop below around 5 degrees C range starts to plummet, with something in the region of half your range at around -20 degrees C. Sure, not an issue in California but certainly a problem in places like the Midwest USA, Canada, Scandinavia and parts of Russia, China… Read more »

You can’t fit a 150 kWh battery into the Model 3, or at least not into the same space, with today’s battery tech. But battery energy density keeps improving over time. There is still potentially an order of magnitude improvement possible in energy density, or perhaps even a bit more. So imagine 8000 kWh being able to fit in the space where the LR Tesla Model 3 fits 80 kWh (full capacity, not usable capacity) today.

Not that I’m suggesting any ordinary passenger car would ever need 8000 kWh. The point is that if your car loses 40% or even 50% range in very cold weather, then the problem can be solved simply by increasing the battery capacity by 40-50%. That’s not the optimal solution; I think the optimal solution is getting EV batteries which can be ultrafast-charged in <10 minutes. But simply increasing the capacity of the battery pack to account for the largest range loss which can reasonably be expected, due to weather and other daily conditions, is certainly possible. Several years from now, when batteries are smaller and less expensive, that will be a practical solution.

I assume you mean 800kWh? 8000 is two orders of magnitude…? 😉

But I agree, battery capacity could indeed increase. Having longer range vehicles with in the region of 500 miles of range (or at least over 400, which is the sort of range of most ICE vehicles) would definitely help in situations like this, and may well be a sweet spot between capacity and range.

I recently drove from St Louis to Chicago over the weekend. My driving speed was similar both directions but a 25 degree drop in temperature yielded a 30 percent decrease in range.

I’ve had my S model be basically dead because I left it overnigjt outside. The temperature went down to 20 degrees. Not that bad. I called Tesla and they said the battery was “frozen”. And that I had to wait until the weather warmed up. It did fortunately but I won’t be driving my car if conditions under 25 degrees F are predicted.

InsideEVs should be doing a much better job of journalism in guiding people through this discussion. Any anecdotal description of EV range in cold weather is completely subjective because it depends totally on how much cabin heat was consumed, unless an independent source of cabin heat was supplied to isolate the efficiency of the battery and drivetrain under cold conditions.

This ought to be obvious by now, at least to a competent EV web site staff.

Most people will want cabin heat on in cold weather. Sure, there is the potential that the guy in the video likes a sauna in his car, but that’s probably not the case. I totally agree with having a standardised test – I’m all for an EPA cold weather rating, but until then we have to rely on real world information. There seems to be a consistency throughout reports of most EV’s suffering around a 30-40% range loss when temperatures get below around -10C.

I think most EV enthusiasts are going to be interested in reports of real-world use of cars on the market, not merely tests performed under controlled conditions where there is only one variable being studied.

I rather poo-poohed the reports of 40%+ range loss in my comment above, but given all the comments contradicting that, I think we need to pay more attention to severe range loss when driving in bitterly cold weather.

I remember a report about a guy in Norway driving a Model S, who said he averaged only 20% range loss. He was careful to precondition his car in cold weather.



But as we read thru the comments here, we’re reminded that YMMV: Your Mileage May Vary. It can vary a lot depending on how you use the car. Leave it outside for 5 hours in bitterly cold weather and then drive it again the same day, as The Electric Israeli said he did in a comment above, and I can certainly believe that would result in significantly more than 30% range loss.

Probably that guy in Norway wasn’t leaving his car parked outside for hours and hours without plugging it in. In some subarctic regions of Canada and I think Norway, offstreet parking lots often have L1 electrical outlets where people can plug in their car’s block heater. You could plug in your BEV to get a L1 charge at the same place, and that should be enough to keep the car warm.

Yes, there are block heater plug in spots in a lot of the transit car parks in my city and they could certainly help – although whether they would provide enough power to keep an EV battery warm may be up for debate.

The biggest issue though IMO, is that those are in town and in locations where you’re unlikely to park in them and subsequently do a long distance drive. The range issue is really only a factor when you’re doing long distance in a day, which generally means you’re probably not going to be taking public transport at any point, or just going to shops.

Learn to drive without a heater in winter—Back in the day when I drove smallish British cars exclusively, having no heat in the cabin was a design feature. The shivering kept you awake.

That’s not the way to advance the EV revolution. That’s the way to make sure EVs never expand to more than a niche technology appealing only to very dedicated “greenies”.

Hello, Hello. What have we been telling you?

Loved Fusion plugin for commute, but lost 9 of 21 mile range in winter (Boise).

My model 3 has the same dramatic efficiency issues in the cold, but it is mostly related to the heater. Using the seat heaters is far more efficient than heating the whole cabin (if you can help it).

I’m tired of being cold while driving an expensive “luxury” car but I am willing to get creative… Anyone try a Mr. Heater MH4GC Golf Cart Heater? I’ve got a 1 hour ferry ride in the greater pacific northwest that the golf cart heater looks perfect for. Roughly 6 hours of 4k BTU heat for a dollar of propane… sounds like a better deal than running the REX.

My Fusion Energi PHEV goes from about 24mi EV range to about 16mi EV range when it gets cold, and that is with sparing use of the cabin heater (mostly just to defog the windows), or a loss of around 33%. Frustrating, but very repeatable. As others have stated, pre-heating the car while plugged in helps. I also run winter tires, which hurts range I am sure (more rolling resistance).

Also wind and elevation. We lost a full charge in 45 min through the El cajon pass on I5. Not fun.

I drink a CT and fuel economy drops significantly when temp drops below 50 degrees Fahrenheit.