Tesla Driving in Extreme Cold
Tesla vehicles are known for being the safest vehicles on the planet - but they also have another feature that makes them desirable - their ability to withstand ice-cold temperatures and extreme heat. We have an example of each.
The first is a Tesla Model Y driving in Jokkmokk, Sweden where there is snow and ice everywhere and the temperature is -30 degrees Celsius. We see what looks like a Tesla Model Y with a mom and daughter and their dog, and all the windshield looks perfectly clear.
Tesla vehicles are EVs, which means they run with a battery instead of an internal combustion engine. Most EVs suffer greatly when it gets freezing cold. In fact, range from a battery does go down when it gets cold - I've experience this firsthand with my Model 3 RWD. I get anywhere between 10% to 30% less range in the cold, and more loss of range the more I use climate controls. The colder it gets, the more the battery is effected, and the more climate controls I use.
Regenerative braking is a way for EVs to be more efficient and get more range, but it is severely limited in the cold, which is why you want to heat your Tesla up before you drive it. You'll lose a percent or so of battery, but on your drive, you'll make up for it with regenerative braking if you are driving more than a couple miles.
I remember driving about a month ago on the freeway and it was very icy. I was driving a little bit slower than everyone else to be cautious and on the right side of the freeway. While I was driving, my car hit a patch of black ice and began to slide back and forth. It was very scary because I did not want to run into anyone, nor did I want my Tesla to get damaged.
Having the battery at the bottom of the car, evenly distributing the weight, was a lifesaver in that case as my car eventually evened out and didn't swerve too far one way or the other. I don't know if my car used active safety systems to correct itself, but regardless, the weight and battery distribution were very helpful.
If you're worried about cold temperatures with your Tesla, know that at -30 degrees Celsius, you can still drive it just fine. I've heard reports that even at -40 degrees Celsius, a Tesla will run just fine. Gasoline will freeze. The key is to keep the car heated, which will cost range. If temperatures get below that, I'm not sure what to tell you at this time. I'll see if I can find more information from Tesla.
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Tesla Driving in Extreme Heat
Tesla vehicles lose range in the heat, but as the temperature gets warmer, they start to shine - meaning they become very efficient and gain range, if you drive in a way that takes advantage of the regenerative braking on the car. In warm temperatures, the car can maximize this, and there is a bar on the center screen that shows you how much Energy the car can put back in while lifting off the accelerator.
When it's really warm, the bar is all the way to the left and functions just like pressing the brake pedal, fairly hard. Except you're not using the brakes - the car is slowing down by itself and putting Energy back in the battery.
Tesla has done some extreme heat and durability testing in Dubai. This is a great place to do this. Dubai has its highest recorded temperature in July 2002 of 52.1 degrees Celsius, which is 125.78 degrees Fahrenheit. That's really hot! Tesla says not to expose their vehicles beyond 140 degrees Fahrenheit, so most places on earth will be safe for your Tesla.
In the extreme heat, you may want to get a sun shade for your glass roof or tint it. When your car is parked or charging, your vehicle will turn on the air conditioner for cabin overheat protection to avoid your car getting damaged by the extreme heat.
When I bought my Tesla Model 3 RWD and drove it during the warm Utah months of August and September, I was able to get over 300 miles of range regularly. I normally don't use air conditioning unless someone is in the car.
To sum up, Tesla vehicles will handle freezing and heat. Expect to lose range though the colder it gets. That's one of the few downsides to owning an EV is they are impacted more by the cold than a gas car - however - at freezing temperatures, they survive where a gas car wouldn't.
Do you think Tesla vehicles can handle freezing and heat?
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Jeremy Johnson is a Tesla investor and supporter. He first invested in Tesla in 2017 after years of following Elon Musk and admiring his work ethic and intelligence. Since then, he's become a Tesla bull, covering anything about Tesla he can find, while also dabbling in other electric vehicle companies. Jeremy covers Tesla developments at Torque News. You can follow him on Twitter or LinkedIn to stay in touch and follow his Tesla news coverage on Torque News.