Tesla’s electric cars and the cold winter don’t mix. In countries where temperatures are extremely low, cars equipped with an electric motor sometimes encounter problems with autonomy. To measure the real impact of cold on the performance of Tesla batteries, a YouTuber conducted an experiment with his Model 3.
All cars, electric or with a combustion engine, experience a degradation of their performance when it is very cold. Generating less excess heat, electric cars are more severely affected than diesel or gasoline vehicles. Between 0 and 45 degrees, lithium-ion batteries in electric cars provide maximum performance. Once mercury drops below 0 degrees, the battery takes much longer to recharge than usual. Similarly, autonomy promises to be less in the middle of winter. In some extreme cases, cars find themselves paralyzed by the cold.
To prevent abnormal degradation of the battery of its cars, Tesla has integrated a cooling and heating system. This system will heat the batteries to prevent the winter cold from reducing (too) performance. This system obviously consumes energy, which helps to lengthen the recharging time.
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9% less battery in 15 hours
In order to quantify the real impact of cold on the autonomy and charging time of the Tesla Model 3, a Canadian YouTuber decided to park the car when it is -17 degrees outside without plugging it into the mains. This is contrary to official Tesla recommendations. To prevent the batteries from cooling, Tesla advises drivers to leave the car constantly plugged in. “We recommend that you always leave your Tesla plugged in when not in use. This is especially useful in cold weather, as it allows your battery to retain the heat it needs to operate efficiently and take advantage of regenerative braking ” Tesla explains on its official website.
Despite everything, the Tesla Model 3 did not lose only 9% battery life within 15 hours in the Canadian cold. Better, this loss of autonomy is partly filled from the ignition when the battery warms up. The Youtubeur estimates that the battery loss does not exceed 5%. However, the lack of a mains connection prevents the car from maintaining its battery level. After several days in the cold, you could therefore find your car completely unloaded.