How to Warm up Tesla Battery Before Driving

Driving in the wintertime does not have to be a nightmare in an electric car like a Tesla.  You need to ensure that the battery is warm enough so that it will be able to distribute adequate power to the electric motor.  If it is too cold, the driving range of your Tesla is going to be greatly affected.  There are different ways to do so, which I will explain.  Not to worry too much about the electricity used, the tactics to warm the battery are not going to increase greatly your hydro bill.

How to warm up the tesla battery before driving? To warm up the battery in the Tesla, you will need to start the climate and the defrost functions within the Tesla app to warm the interior. This takes about 15-20 minutes before driving.  The model x and s have battery warmers that get activated when you turn on the heat to the cabin.  An icon for the battery shows up as a tiny red battery.  There is no need for a Tesla to have a super warm battery before driving it.  Nevertheless, a little heat is going to allow the battery to work better as soon as start to drive.

The manual for Tesla states that you should heat the battery before driving in order for it to work effectively.  In other words, to get the full range out of a full charge, the battery has to start off at a certain temperature.  A cold battery will still work, but it will use some of the electricity for warming the battery to the correct temperature.

Here are the steps for warming up your Tesla’s battery before driving :

  1. You need to precondition the battery before you start to drive.  This is simply done by turning on the climate controls.  You need to use the Tesla app to start this function.  You will need to click on ‘climate’ and then click on  ‘turn on’
  2. The next item will warm up the interior of the car which will help to heat up the battery at the same time.  Within the app, just go to ‘climate’ once again, and then click on the icon for defrost.
  3. If you would like to schedule your departure time so that the climate control will activate on its own,  you need to make sure that your Tesla is plugged in, and then on the touchscreen click on ‘scheduled departure time’.  Then select ‘schedule’ and add in the time.
  4. What is good about this function is that the Tesla will determine the best time to charge in order for you to have a full charge and it will have the charging finish around your departure time.  Doing so will also ensure that the battery has warmed up.  Also, the interior will be have been heated up for you also.
  5. One way of determining if the battery is warm enough is to check to see if the snowflake icon is lit.  If it is lit, the car battery might not be warm enough and it is best to let the car charge further.  Once the temperature is at the optimum, the snowflake icon will turn off.

Here is a video explaining how to warm up your Tesla in very cold weather:

How do you Precondition a Tesla Battery for Supercharging?

It makes a difference if you are going to just precondition your car to be charged at the next charging station that has a supercharger.  Superchargers are fast and planning for them is a good idea so that you will get a more complete charge.  If you do not precondition before traveling to the next supercharger, the rate of the charge will be lower than it would have been.

Click to check the pricing on Amazon for the Juicebox for Tesla, a cool level 2 charging station for home.

What some people assume is that it is the station that is faulty if the charge level is low.  They do not realize that their car was not fully preconditioned before starting to charge at a supercharger.  Their car seems to charge faster once they have switched to another station.  They believe that this means that the first station was faulty, when in fact the second one charges at a faster rate because their car has had a chance to warm up to the perfect temperature.

To activate the preconditioning of the Tesla before traveling to a supercharger, you just need to set the route as if you were to travel to the next supercharger.  What happens is that the Tesla will start to warm up the battery well enough so that you will be able to reach the supercharger.  What is interesting is that it is best not to fully charge your battery before you leave.  There are certain percentages of charge that are better to use while at a supercharger.

Make sure that the charge is around 60 percent once you have arrived at a supercharger station

I know that it is hard to really determine how much of a charge to start with in order to arrive at a supercharger at around a charge of sixty percent, but you ensure that you do not fully charge your Tesla before leaving and heading towards the next supercharger.

The supercharger will slow down the charge if there is close to a charge of 80 percent.  Tesla has determined that is it better to slow down the charge rate for the higher percentages.  It seems to have a negative effect on the longevity of the cells if a Tesla is constantly being fully charged.

I used to charge fully my Sonata hybrid not realizing that I could have been damaged the power of the cells by doing so.  I just thought that it something that was obvious to do.

Preconditioning is Important Especially if you Charged at a Supercharger Quite Often

Tesla has expressed that if you have charged at superchargers often, there is a chance that your car will instruct the supercharger that your charging rate has to always be reduced.  They made this announcement because an owner was complaining that he was constantly charged below the rate possible at a supercharger.  His car had been flagged at supercharging as a car that needs to be charged at a slower rate since it is was in danger of developing damaged cells.

This is frustrating for many owners. They did not realize that supercharging often was detrimental in the long run.  They lived relatively close to a supercharger and they had enjoyed the speed of the charge until their cars had been flagged as risky cars to charge at the full rate of charge.

Tesla also states that it is rare that someone would charge that often at a supercharger.  They felt that most of the owners were charging at home at a personal level 2 charging station.

How Long does it take for Tesla Battery to Heat Up?

It takes some time for the battery to heat up to the point where regenerative braking kicks in at 100 percent, about 30 minutes while it is plugged in.  If you are wondering, if you can still travel nevertheless, yes you can.  You do not actually have to heat the battery before leaving.  If you want to take advance of full regenerative braking, then you need to warm up the battery beforehand.

One trick that I had read about is to trick the Tesla into believing that you are about to travel to the nearest supercharger at a predetermined time using the scheduling function.  Now your Tesla will warm up the battery before you leave for the day even though you are not really planning on charging at a supercharger. This way you do have to worry about traveling 30 miles or so before you have access to full regenerative braking.  You can let the Tesla charge somewhat just while you are traveling using regenerative braking.

If you wish to charge your cell wirelessly while traveling, get the Taptes Tesla Model 3 Wireless Phone Charging Pad available on Amazon,

Do Teslas Really Need to Warm Up?

You do not need to warm up your Tesla during cold weather.  It will still run as it did before.  Nevertheless, you will notice that stopping is my in your power because the regenerative braking will not kick in at its highest level.  When regenerative braking is working, sometimes you can sense it, as if an invisible force is holding back your Tesla.

Even though regenerative braking will not be at its optimum, you will still be able to drive normally.  It is not as even you will be degrading the battery, although you will require more electricity during your trip in order to heat up the battery in the beginning.  In other words, you will not obtain the maximum range if you do not warm your battery.  Energy will be diverted to heat up the battery cells and the interior of the Tesla.

If you are like me, you would warm your battery to get more regenerative braking if setting up to have this happen is painless.  There is a feature that will precondition your Tesla without your intervention.  This is the scheduling feature, it is simply a function that you activate that monitors your daily use of your Tesla.  It will heat up the battery based on your normal times.  For instance, if you leave for work around the same time each day, the Tesla will actually heat up the interior for you as well as the battery cells before your normal departure time.

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