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Not Getting Enough Heat in The Cabin of a Tesla Model Y

Tesla Model Y owner Bolt-2-Y today posted on the Tesla Owner Online forum complaining about not getting enough heat in his cabin. He wrote that setting the car to 75°F feels like it's 68°F.


He also wrote that the heat pump split unit system at his home also doesn't put out as much heat as a resistive heater.

"Setting the car to 75F feels like it's 68FAn infrared thermometer can confirm that. It's not so bad in summer where setting 70F is much closer to 70F. I find the same is true for my heat pump split unit system at home. It's not putting out heat as much as a resistive heater. I suppose it's a price to pay for efficiency. The battery and electric motors aren't making enough heat and the heat pump isn't pumping out that much heat either. The only thing to do is turn on seat heaters," Bolt-2-Y wrote, giving us the impression that he is a former Chevy Bolt owner, turned into a Tesla Model Y owner.

Another user, Garsh, suggested that Bolt-2-Y try a test: in cold conditions, with the Tesla Model Y parked outside and locked, use the Tesla app to turn on the HVAC and set the desired temperature to something like 75°F. Keep checking the app periodically to see if the cabin temperature continues to climb. If it never reaches the desired temperature, then submit a service request.

Garsh also suggested that Bolt-2-Y try using recirculated air if possible, as this can help to keep the cabin warmer.

Finally, user TheRealTeslaExpert explained that what Bolt-2-Y is likely noticing has to do with the "power curve" of heat pump units. As a heat pump approaches the set temperature, it will reduce the heat output so it creeps up on the limit gradually instead of overshooting it and then stopping abruptly like most electric resistance or gas heating does. This is because heat pumps can vary their output, while resistive heating and gas heating cannot.

TheRealTeslaExpert also explained that radiator heat is notorious for overshooting the set point, as it keeps heat in the radiators long after the boiler shuts off. This is why increasing the set point by a degree or two can make a big difference in terms of perceived warmth.

But before we dive into possible solutions, let's understand why this is happening in the first place. It all comes down to the way electric vehicles generate and distribute heat.

The Heat Challenge in Electric Vehicles

Electric vehicles like the Tesla Model Y operate differently from traditional gas-guzzlers. Instead of burning fuel to generate heat, they rely on electric power. Here's how it works:

  1. Battery and Electric Motors: EVs primarily use electricity to power their motors. This means that the heat generated by an internal combustion engine, which helps warm up traditional cars, is absent in an EV. While this is great for efficiency and the environment, it can leave you feeling a bit chilly on a frosty morning.
  2. Heat Pump: Many modern electric vehicles, including the Tesla Model Y, employ a heat pump system to provide cabin heat. This is more energy-efficient than traditional resistive heating, but it operates differently.

Understanding the Heat Pump Power Curve

One of the key aspects to grasp about heat pumps is their "power curve." As you approach the desired cabin temperature, a heat pump will gradually reduce the heat output. It does this to avoid overshooting the set temperature and to provide a consistent and efficient heating experience.

Traditional resistive heating or gas systems, in contrast, provide full blast heating until they reach the set point, and then they shut off. This can lead to a cycle of overshooting and underheating, which might be what Bolt-2-Y was accustomed to in his previous vehicle.

So, what can you do to get more heat in his Tesla Model Y cabin?

Here are a few tips:

1. Try using recirculated air. This will help to keep the cabin warmer, especially in cold conditions.

2. Increase the set temperature by a degree or two. This will compensate for the fact that heat pumps reduce their output as they approach the set point.

3. If the cabin temperature is still not warm enough, submit a service request. There may be an underlying issue with your heat pump.

It's also worth noting that Tesla has issued a recall for certain Model Y vehicles due to a faulty heat pump. If your Model Y is included in the recall, you will receive a notification from Tesla.

Cabin heating is not just a matter of comfort; it's a critical aspect of safety and usability. Here's why it's essential to get it right:

Comfort: No one wants to endure a cold, uncomfortable ride. Ensuring your Tesla Model Y provides the right level of cabin heat can significantly improve your driving experience, especially during the winter months.

Safety: Maintaining a warm cabin is not just about comfort but also safety. Cold temperatures can affect your focus and reaction times. Plus, driving with shivers is far from ideal.

Efficiency: Understanding how your EV's heating system works is key to optimizing its efficiency. Electric vehicles are all about conserving energy, so knowing how to get the most out of your heat pump can make a difference in your range and overall performance.

Adjusting the Set Point

If you find that your Model Y's cabin is not warming up as you'd like, one simple solution is to increase the temperature setting by a degree or two. Since heat pumps gradually reduce heat output as they approach the set temperature, this adjustment can make a noticeable difference in your comfort.

Heat pumps are a relatively new technology in the automotive world as Tesla explains it, and they can be a bit different from traditional heating systems. In 2021 the heatpumps were one of the few improvements of Tesla in China. One of the key differences is that heat pumps are not as efficient at heating in very cold weather. This is because the air outside contains less heat energy to extract.

Another thing to keep in mind is that heat pumps can take some time to heat up a cold car. This is because they work by gradually transferring heat from the outside air to the inside of the car.

If you are concerned about getting enough heat in your Tesla Model Y cabin, be sure to try the tips above. And if you are still having problems, contact Tesla service.

Have you ever encountered a similar situation? Please, tell us your opinion in the comments section below for community discussion. Or see which Model 3 heats up faster in extreme cold.

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Armen Hareyan is the founder and the Editor in Chief of Torque News. He founded in 2010, which since then has been publishing expert news and analysis about the automotive industry. He can be reached at Torque News TwitterFacebokLinkedin and Youtube. He has more than a decade of expertise in the automotive industry with special interest in Tesla and electric vehicles.