Tesla Model 3 Road Trip In Bitter Cold & 2 Feet Of Snow: Video


33% range loss due to cold.

Stop to charge as often as needed when it bitterly cold, even if you have an electric car with lots of range like the Tesla Model 3.

We’re talking negative 30 degrees with wind chill here and that’s crazy cold. And the range loss is very noticeable.

Later on, the temps warm up to -25 with the wind chill, which we mention here because it’s a headwind, which kills range too. Then eventually, temps creep up towards zero, which begins to lift range up a bit.

This endeavor showcases the importance of many chargers along the way. Most importantly, the Tesla Supercharger network seems up to the task here, despite the bitter cold.

Even more amazingly, he sleeps in the car, despite the frigid temps. Would you attempt such a feat? Brr….

Watch the video clip above to see the bitterly cold journey across much of the U.S.

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29 Comments on "Tesla Model 3 Road Trip In Bitter Cold & 2 Feet Of Snow: Video"

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Superchargers have been a saving grace for Tesla in this extreme weather. Soon every EV would be capable of fast charging.

Yes, but the development on the car side hasn’t been encouraging so far. Emphasis has been mainly on increasing energy density, to get more range at a lower cost. That’s been the right emphasis IMHO, but charging speed has unfortunately suffered for it. For instance, my 2012 Leaf charges at 35-40 kW in similar conditions to this video, which is a rate of about 2C. If the same cells were used to make a pack with ~75 kWh capacity, like this long range Model 3 has, it would be able to accept about 150 kW. The new Leaf has about twice the capacity of mine, but in the cold it can accept less power (and when too hot, come to think of it). Hyundai Kona is another example. It maxes at 75 kW on a warm day and gets just a bit over 40 kWh on a cold day. Ioniq has just 28 kWh versus the Konas 64 kWh, yet it can take 70 kW on a warm day, and might well be able to take more power than Kona in cold conditions. In the video we see that he got only 58 kW, about 0.8 C. That’s not very… Read more »

What cracks me up about all the anti-EV cold weather news coverage is that it completely ignores the fact that ICE cars suffer in the cold as well. My recent experience was with the battery in an ICE car. It started and ran the car just fine until the first cold day and then it lacked the amperage to turn over the starter. Call to the towing service for a jump. Diesel in -30? Better have enough cold weather treatment in the tank and flushed through to the injectors. That stuff turns to jello and there is zero chance of getting the car working without towing it to a warmer location and thawing it out.

I remember driving my sisters Mitsubishi Pajero up to the interior of B.C. once. Trying to get it started at a mild -10C or so was a 10 min ordeal and belched out enough black smoke to kill 3 polar bears in the process

Electrics have an advantage in snow as their electric motors are easier to control, and typically have better traction too.
Also, Electric heat, full heat in 1 minute.
It’s a Real Luxury to Drive an EV in Winter.

Preconditioning. New-be’s don’t know about it.

Agree. I may be special, but I don’t want to go on trips much in the winter, and in everyday use, and in practical terms, electric cars are much less affected by the cold than are fossil cars.

That said, it’s not just electric cars that can be pre-conditioned. Motor warmers and coupé heaters have been a staple of the aftermarket industry at least since I was a child way back in the previous millennium. And these days it may come as standard. My parent’s Mercedes has a Weber heater that’s factory installed by Mercedes and which takes its fuel from the one and only has tank the vehicle has. It can be programmed to heat the car at a particular time, too. My parents, being retired, don’t really use that feature, but they do use the heater to get a warm car fast, and to keep it warm without running the engine if sitting in a ferry queue for an hour on a cold day.

Heating an Airplane in a Winnipeg or Grand Forks area, over Christmas time, with Shroud Blankets, takes an Electric/Propane Heater a good 30-45 minutes, in -20 type weather, before you crank it!

Volvo used a fueled Heater on their little C30 EV Research Car in the North Climates, using, I think it was, Ethanol!

Alaska EV Conversions build in a Propane Heater, for winter, too. I have seen Webasto Straight Fuel Burning Water heaters, mostly for ICE Block heating, that run a pump to circulate the engine coolant through the heater, with a Cabin Heating Option.

It would be a funny situation to see an EV burning fuel to keep warm, but some may consider it the smarter thing to do, and design for it.

There is definitely a sizable range hit in an ICE on a short trip – often as bad as 1/2 the range for <10km.
On a long trip though, an ICE might see 10% or less reduction in range once warmed up, regardless of the temp outside. Most of The hit would come from snow tires and thick cold grease in wheel bearings. These would be common issues with an EV.
Many new ICE vehicles (mine included) have active shutters behind the grill to keep the engine bay hot, so for all intents and purpose, it's summer in there.

“What cracks me up about all the anti-EV cold weather news coverage is that it completely ignores the fact that ICE cars suffer in the cold as well.”

This was a trip report by an enthusiastic Tesla owner. Nothing about ICE cars.

Useful info on how much cold reduces Model 3 range. That is all.

He keeps mentioning wind chill vs. the actual temp. Wind chill is imprecise number and would it affect batteries?

It would be more useful if he just stuck to outside temp.

Didn’t get the sleeping in the car bit. Hotels frozen shut? What not get a hotel with charger and plug in?

Windchill only effects people and animals. It has no effect on cars as there is no cooling from evaporation. If you are in the car, no windchill.

Wind chill has an effect on any object that regulates its own heat including heated batteries.

wind chill will only lower the temp to the actual temp quicker…the temp of an inanimate object will never be lower than actual temp.

Wind definitely cools off objects faster, even in absence of perspiration/evaporation. As an object cools it will heat up the air around it, cooling slightly slower, but wind will strip that warmer air away and replace with cold air. In this 3 F 25 mph wind right now it makes one side of the house obviously colder. I notice in my car too, a strong headwind makes the car notably more difficult to heat.

You’ve obviously never been inside a house or car during a windy January day in Minnesota. Wind chill absolutely sucks more heat out of a vehicle. Especially the cabin, increasing the load on the HVAC system.

I think I know what you mean, with perspiration and evaporation in the presence of wind the human body can actually drop temperature more than ambient temperature. Wind will never cause metal or other non sweaty object to drop below ambient without evaporation. The wind still causes the metal to cool more rapidly, even though it is not subject to windchill. Air cooling on engines works with this principle.

Water cooled engines work on the principle too, since thats how the radiator gets rid of heat. Hence why they have fans behind them.

Wind SPEED increases heat loss on an object trying to stay warm.
But, not to the same extent as a human or animal.

But, driving on a highway?
Didn’t you guys see the Bjorn Leaf video?
The leaf battery was running at 125 F after multiple sessions of Drive 80 miles, charge 80% Drive 80 miles, etc.
Leaf charge rate slowed from 44 amps to 32 because of High Battery Temperature.

What’s affecting this guy’s drive is snow on the road: Drag.
And wind SPEED: More Drag.
Also greater heat loss from the glass roof.

Negative 30 _what_? Don’t be so metric challenged. Your readerbase is global. 🙂

-30F with the wind chill? Try -65F with the wind chill. Obviously, this American has never been to Minnesota and experience real cold. Glad to see the next generation of Tesla owners doing what I did six years ago.

For the Imperial-challenged, -65F is -54C and -30F is -34C.

Negative 30 degrees, you’re missing something: F or C?

They’re pretty much the same (-40F = -40C, -30F = -34C)

Do any EVs have heated windshields?

On a recent trip, I was blasting serious heat at the windshield to melt off the ice from freezing rain – this was reqiured throughout the trip as windchill was freeing it on contact and even the “ice-guard” anti-freeze did essentially nothing. Can’t imaging blowing hot air at max seting in an EV would be nice on the range.

Yes EVs have heat for the windshield.

> We’re talking negative 30 degrees with wind chill What’s the actual temperature? Talking about wind chill in this context is nonsense, even though this dude does it over and over and over again. As you may know, a car moves faster than people walk. Tailwind will *reduce* wind chill while headwind will *increase* it, because just like in an airplane, it is all about airspeed — how fast the car is moving relative to the air, not relative to the ground. (Teaspooning: When people walk, they also get more wind chill in headwind and less in tailwind, but because the air moves much faster than they are walking, wind chill is real even in a tailwind — if you walk at 3 mph and have 10 mph tailwind, the resulting airspeed of 7 mph is much more than the 3 mph you’d experience if the air was still. But if you drove at 30 mph, the airspeed would drop to 20 mph with that tailwind.) Interesting video though. Especially the charging speed. Disappointing with just 58 kW at ~30% SoC, although it is still better than most cars. If anyone at InsideEVs has any clue why the Audi e-Tron… Read more »

Wind chill doesn’t actually lower the temperature.

If it is -10 deg and -30 with wind chill, then it is NOT lower than -10 doesn’t matter what wind factor is!

So, stop talking about wind chill when it comes down to temperature. Yes, wind helps cooling, but it doesn’t affect temperature

A battery that can withstand -10 deg doesn’t get worse because it is -30 with wind chill.

Lol had to stop 3 times in one day to charge? Maybe in California, but I’ll stick to tried and true gasoline. It’s life and death playing around with that car going dead in below zero temps.

Yo Elon automatic preconditioning might be a good idea once the temp hits a certain point and maybe add some sort of plumbing that takes heat from the engines while driving to keep the battery at operating temp on those cold days??
I’m sure its relatively easy? No idea on cost though.
Maybe an aftermarket addition for these people?