Tesla’s Latest Software Update Helps Thaw Charge Port

DEC 29 2018 BY MARK KANE 25

Tesla Model 3 notes issues in cold weather

This winter – as there have been well over 100,000 Tesla Model 3 delivered – more reports on issues in cold weather appear.

Some concerns are door handles, frameless windows and the charge port.

In the case of charge port, it turns out that the latch could freeze shut, so if there was a plug connected, you can’t pull it off to drive away.

Hopefully, the driver can provide some heat, maybe using the flame thrower or at least hair dryer, but this is not the thing you would like to experience.

Tesla just released a new software update (2018.50) to unfreeze the charge port using the climate system (just set preconditioning to HI), although it’s not clear how technically the cabin heating can be directed towards charge port.

“When you set mobile preconditioning to HI, the climate system will better thaw your charge port in freezing conditions”

Electrek explains that it’s the second attempt Tesla is making, as the previous temporary solution simply was to keep it unlatched:

“In the previous “cold weather improvements” update, Tesla changed the behavior of the charge port in order for the latch to remain unlatched to allow a charge cable to be inserted, even in the event that the latch is frozen.

It wasn’t clear at what temperature that was triggered and of course, it also comes with a caveat since it also means that someone could easily remove the charge cable.”

Low temperatures affect various things on all types of cars. Here is the frozen charge port in Tesla Model X:

Source: Electrek

Categories: Tesla

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25 Comments on "Tesla’s Latest Software Update Helps Thaw Charge Port"

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Have all these Tesla drivers never driven a car in winter before? In the picture above, ANY car would have something frozen shut. When I had ICE vehicles, the problem for me was the gas cap cover. I was raised on “winter driving rules” – in winter, never get below half a tank. Now that I’m driving my Model 3, I’m careful when I wash it to dry the charge port, windows, and door handles well, and I watch the weather here for freezing after a hard rain, which it does often. When I lived up north, the ice often would just sublimate after a while. A good snow brush and scraper goes a long way. The guy in this video doesn’t seem to understand that he’s lucky enough to have a garage, and if he would just wait awhile, the ice would be gone. He’s making a mountain out of a molehill. Honestly, it seems from some of the things I read on all the forums and blogs that some Tesla owners expect their cars to solve all the problems of mankind. Teslas are AWESOME cars, but the operative word here is CAR, and they are subject to problems… Read more »

This how people are today, everything have to be solved by someone.

C’mon, it’s a legitimate problem… The guy comes home late and wants to plug in so he’s ready to go in the morning. Pretty reasonable expectation.

The frameless windows are the major issue. Unless the window can roll down 1/2” before opening/closing, it makes contact with the chrome door trim, denting it on closing. One of the winter updates helps a little by keeping the windows slightly down while parked in cold weather. But, it’s still an issue.

Frameless windows just aren’t practical for winter usage.

Subarus are pretty popular in northern climates, and every Subaru model for about two decades had frameless windows — no issues.

What are you talking about? Do you even know what user CCIE means by frameless windows?

The Crosstrek, the Forester, the Outback … not one of theses cars has frameless windows.

I had a 2008 Subaru Legacy with frameless windows.
We had a few winters back to back with a LOT of freezing rain and drizzle.
Never had a problem.
I’ve had my model 3 for 2 months and the windows have issues clearing the trim.
It’s a problem.

I would do “light” Tapping around the outside edges of the charge port with “gloved hand” to breakup and release the “ice seal” surrounding the charge port, prior to resorting to a hair dryer . I would further coat the charge port “Rubber Seal” with a “High Quality” silicone spray that repels water to prevent this from re – occurring.

Couldn’t the software update wiggle moving parts every ~5 min or so to ensure nothing gets frozen? For example barely close the charge port door and bring it back every so often.

Frameless windows have been around for ages, freezing has always been a problem but the best decades old solution its to wipe rubber with some WD40 or a silicone lubricant once a week, it’s good for the gasket and solves frozen sticking problem, should be regular part of caring for your car.
Sticky power door problem is simple to, just wipe a bit of Vaseline on the inside of the cover around the outer edge of the cover which provides a barrier against freezing, not rocket science people.
What I’d be more concerned about is that you can’t see the tail light under the snow which probably reduces brake light by a lot.

Nope. Left my fully charged Model LR AWD parked for 22 days while I worked off shore. It used about a kWh per day.

Losthiker is a lost BMW fan-boy embittered over Tesla’s success at the expense of his non-innovative BMW!

Freezing weather sucks.
I am lucky that it does not freeze often where I live..

I see an easy hardware solution with heating coils in the needed areas.
Tesla should offer it as cold weather package.
I don’t see easy software solution.

7 days? What’re you smoking?

Another solution for a problem that shouldn’t exist…

All charging doors should be simple as those gas filler doors. Just mechanically operated is more than good enough. Of course, so many EVs have to be “fancy” about it so it just creates its own problem.

Have to agree, many charging ports show a bit of EV hubris in making them more complicated than need be.

That said, the Tesla port would have been OK with a local heater, but that problem was likely not foremost in the mind of a sunny California based design team.

I expect an integrated port heater will eventually show up on M3 as a continuous improvement item.

GM learned this on the Volt. Gen1 up to model year 2013 had a solenoid on the charge port, and yes there were issues. MY 2014, it became a manually operator door. Some of my fears of buying a Model 3 were winter issues (Michigan). So far our winter has been mild, but I did have freezing of the charge port with issues opening & closing. I also had my side mirrors freeze in the inward position. Luckily no issues w/the windows, though it does still freak people out when they move.

Don’t the refueling doors get stuck on ICE vehicles? Is Tesla the only car that this happens to? I’d find that pretty incredible given how the ICE filler doors are very similar.

I’ve noticed on my ICE vehicles that the door is kept at a certain gap, and it only looks mostly seamless due to the contours of the body around and behind the door. It is not sealed from the elements. It takes a significant amount of ice to freeze up an ICE door. I’ve never had the problem without the human doors and handles also frozen shut at the same time.

What’s the point of frameless windows?? I never heard of such a thing until recently when a family member bought a used early-teens Camaro. It has frameless doors, which means that the window has to move down slightly to open, and then to move up slightly when it closes. I think that is utterly idiotic – a very clear, obvious, and likely point of failure. I don’t know if she has any problems with her Camaro, but it seems like something that should never have leaped off the brainstorm list.

Our Subaru Impreza has frameless windows. The window doesn’t move up or down when closing or opening and everything works just fine. FWIW it’s now 14 years old, and still no issues.

All bmw coupé’s does this. It’s design over function. I will choose design on this matter since it rarely happens. I have had 5 cars with frameless windows they have all been the same including the tesla. Never had to replace anything that has to do with the window mechanism.

Frameless windows go back to the 70s, and they are often found on stylish cars because they look cool, especially when cruising with the windows down (the hardtop look). And back then there was no 1/2” drop when opening the door, that’s a modern concession that supposedly helps them obtain a better seal with a narrower gasket (eg cost reduction).

Although everyone back then knew frameless windows were more problematic than framed windows in bad weather, especially freezing rain, Detroit knew how to make them work better in bad weather than most imports. My 1972 Gran Torino 2 door was only ever defeated by accumulated feezing rain, and that was without any lubes, Vaseline or anything else (and the door locks usually froze first anyway!).

Tesla likes style, so the frameless windows are not going away. Being California based, winter conditions were not their first design priority, but they’re learning and will likely come up with clever warming solutions going forward.