Maximizing Tesla Battery in Cold: Preheated vs. Unprepared

Swedish Model Y Owner Highlights Benefits of Battery Preconditioning in Cold Weather DC Fast Charging
Supercharging A Tesla in Winter: Warm vs Cold Battery Test

Battery preheating, which is often referred to as preconditioning, is a must for DC fast charging particularly during this cold period that we are experiencing in the northern hemisphere.

Raising the battery cells to the ideal temperature for charging will not only prolong their lifespan but also maximize range, which experiences a large decline in wintertime, and reduce charge times.

Prescreening the battery also makes sure each charging meeting is secure for your battery. Essentially, this action warms up the battery pack, rising it to above freezing point, which then allows a full amperage charge to be taken.

Preconditioning an electric vehicle’s battery comes with several advantages, the most immediately beneficial being a pleasant and warm atmosphere in the cabin while the battery is being heated. Generally, preconditioning has no drawbacks, aside from the cost of power consumed that does not actually get absorbed by the battery.

Don’t just take our word for it: one Tesla owner recently conducted a test to emphasize the impact of battery preconditioning – and particularly its deficiency – on his Tesla Model Y’s battery during cold weather.

The It’s Only Electric YouTube clip opens with a charge up session at a V3 Supercharger that has a pre-conditioned battery already at only 10 percent in frigid 30° F (-1° C) temperatures.

The battery rapidly took on current at a rate as high as 238 kW, and it took 33 minutes to reach an SoC level of 80% from 10%. The Swedish operator of this Model Y declared that the same charging process is usually done in 27 minutes, though due to chilly temperatures, it was necessary to wait around 6 minutes more, which isn’t too dramatic.

Exploring the consequences of not pre-conditioning a battery, routine user revisited the same charging station after the vehicle had been left outside in chilly conditions for two days. The outcome illustrated the significance of preparing ahead and performing battery preconditioning.

This time, the outside temperature was 21° F (-6° C), which was a bit cooler than the previously recorded temperature; however, the owner declared that the variance wasn’t profound enough to create an impact.

Upon plugging in the charger, it became immediately apparent that the rate of charging was progressing much slower than with a battery that had been brought to a preheated status. The Tesla took 42 minutes to bring the power level from 10% to 80%, meaning that it required approximately 10 more minutes than what was observed when charging a conditioned battery.

Importantly, the battery was able to take in energy at a peak of 135 kW, notably lower than the 238 kW pace from the examination that preceeded it.

It deserves mention that the driver did not have the vehicle operating at cold temperatures on arrival to the Supercharger station during the second run; instead, he heated the interior prior so as to make the experiment comparable to a more customary situation.

Comparing the charging charts is fascinating as it highlights a nearly even line for the battery that begins cold and a descending curve for the battery that had been prepared beforehand. Interestingly, the two graphs show incredibly analogous tendencies from around 50% to 80%, demonstrating great disparity in the beginning of the session when the battery that was prepped received charge significantly more speedily than the unheated one.

The conclusion is very obvious: pre-conditioning your battery before charging in cold weather will ensure the fastest charging possible, as well as protecting your battery from potential damage. If you’re purchasing an electric vehicle, make certain that it has a battery pre-conditioning system built in, since not all versions include this usefulness.

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