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Top Tips for Improving Tesla Battery Performance in Cold Weather
As the weather gets colder and temperatures drop, as with all cars, you’ll also likely see a change in your Tesla's performance. For electric vehicles specifically, colder temperatures can affect the battery performance and range.
With several years of winter driving experience, here are some of our top tips for your Tesla, to ensure you maximize your range and minimize the headaches that can come with cold weather conditions.
1. When possible, stay plugged in when parking or storing your Tesla during cold weather periods
Staying plugged in will give you the ability to better prepare for driving in cold weather. It will facilitate preconditioning, defrosting and overall help maintain desired charge levels which will ease range anxiety and other battery concerns in the winter.
2. Precondition and Defrost before getting into your Tesla
Preconditioning is warming up the battery and the cabin before you drive. Doing this will allow you to maximize your range by reducing the amount of energy required from the battery once you start travelling. Defrosting will also remove snow and ice from critical surfaces such as your windshield or rear window.
When plugged in, use Scheduled Departure feature to precondition:
If you are fortunate to have a place to plug in while you are parked, you can enable preconditioning using the Scheduled Departure feature. This is optimal since preconditioning can use the charging system and not the car’s battery power.
With your car plugged in, you can then set Scheduled Departure using your touchscreen by tapping Charging > Scheduled Departure > Schedule > Depart At.
When not plugged in, use the Tesla app to precondition:
If you are parked away from the charger, you can still Precondition and Defrost your car manually from the Tesla app.
Keep in mind that if you see a blue snowflake icon appear on your touchscreen it means your car battery is too cold to access all of its stored energy and you may experience a decrease performance in battery power and regenerative braking.
3. Drive Conservatively to Conserve Battery
Conserving energy is also key to squeezing out as much range as possible. Driving conservatively will improve range and efficiency any time of the year, but the benefits will be noticed significantly more in colder weather, when battery charge is at a higher premium.
Some ways to conservative battery include:
Maintain moderate speeds while driving
Consider less frequent and aggressive acceleration
4. Use heated seats for warmth and lower cabin temperature
You can lower the cabin temperature setting and using heated seats to keep warm.
All Tesla cars in our region currently come with heated seats for all passengers. If your model does not have heated seats, check your account to see if an upgrade is available. For example, some owners of the Model 3 Standard Range or Standard Range Plus, can now activate rear heated seats with an over-the-air upgrade for $300.
5. Limit monitoring car through Tesla app
It might not be obvious to all, but not checking the Tesla app as often can also conserve battery energy. Your car uses energy to wake up from sleep mode every time you check in.
6. Maintain a generous battery charge
Batteries like to be maintained in certain ranges in any weather. Tesla recommends on their website to keep the battery above 20% and below 90%, whenever possible.
In colder weather maintaining a healthy charge is even more critical. We recommend keeping it closer to fuller charge, so that there is always sufficient energy to warm the battery and car to optimal levels before driving.