Best Tips For Winter Driving in a Tesla | What Owners Say

Owning a Tesla is already a huge plus because you get to experience the best EV in the world today. However, some still doubt how well a Tesla functions during the winter season. We asked a group of Tesla owners about their best tips for winter driving in a Tesla. 

The most popular winter driving tips for all models of Tesla cars are:

  • Using reliable winter tires especially because Tesla cars are so responsive
  • Good battery care
  • Preheat the car
  • Be more careful to keep the car charged to precondition the battery before you drive
  • Warm the car while charging, so you don’t draw as much down when you are driving

The Most Popular Tips for Winter Driving

There were multiple tips provided but the most essential ones were about protecting the Tesla’s battery and utilizing the type of winter tires needed.  

Install Reliable Winter Tires

Let’s begin with the obvious one: winter tires. For those who live in an area where it snows regularly in the winter, getting winter tires is not just recommended but is usually part of the law.

There are places where you can get a ticket if you fail to install winter tires around mid-December. This means that you need to act earlier and should have ready winter tires by the month of November.

Tesla vehicles have extremely responsive electric motors and offer great potential for the required winter driving performance. However, this won’t matter if you do not install reliable winter tires. The ultimate goal is to seek great balance between rolling resistance and grip. Honestly, there is just no avoiding it. It is typical to experience poorer efficiency during the winter season. It holds true with cars that are powered by gasoline. Arguably, it can be worse for electric vehicles with shorter range. 

Protect the Battery

When the temperature drops, a decrease in range is imminent because of the demand of extra energy on the battery. The cold batteries will tend to use more energy for maintaining optimal operating temperature. In addition, cold weather limits regenerative braking. It is understandable that some range effects are not entirely avoidable in winter but there are still some ways to mitigate them.

It is essential to keep your EV plugged in whenever it is possible. By doing this, you can make the battery retain heat. Don’t worry because the onboard computer will prevent overcharging. 

You should precondition the battery before you even turn your Tesla on. If possible, plug it in and charge while preconditioning. It would be best to limit high utilization of heat and air conditioning. Just use seat heaters to keep the cabin climate at the most optimal temperature.

Other Notable Tips

Some Tesla owners also stated the following tips.

‘Don’t auto fold the mirror, it can freeze and get stuck folded.’

– Arun K.

‘Preheat (a lot) if the car is icy. Pay special attention to the bottom of the side windows, make sure it’s ice free so the window can move freely before you touch the door handle.’

– Martin W.

‘Apply silicone on all rubber seals.’

– Ole H.

‘Turn traction and stability off have fun! Use proper winter tires. Preheat car. Always charge. Range: use seat heaters and not so hot air, uses less energy.’

– Remy E.

‘It’s always a good idea to keep an old carpet mat or something like that to put under your tires if they get stuck on ice while trying to get out of your driveway.’

– Susan B.

‘Charge your car to 70% overnight when you get home. When you wake up, change to 80%. By the time you are ready to leave, the battery will be preconditioned since it was just charging.

This helps preserve energy so you don’t waste it while your car warms up driving on a cold day and regen is therefore limited. The cold already impacts battery performance. Might as well start the day off ready to roll from home.’

– Chirag P.

‘Also your door handles will no doubt freeze. You can hit the side of the car where the door handle is gently after defrosting & heating of course. This should pop it open.’

– Susan L.

‘To maximize range and minimize battery losses on long trip legs, use seat heat and steering wheel heat as much as possible and dress in warm clothes. The cabin heater can use a lot of battery capacity in cold conditions and the seat heat is much more efficient. You can also preserve battery energy by preheating the cabin (using the cabin heater) while charging so you’re using shore power to heat vs battery power.’

– Eric W.

Essential Takeaways

Winter can offer the most challenge not just for electric vehicles but also for gas-powered ones. The effect of cold temperatures on the efficiency of Teslas is worth noting. This should never be overlooked. Prepare and plan ahead, especially if you live in an area that has constant snowfall during the winter season. Take to heart all of the best tips mentioned above as the best advice that you can get is from the actual Tesla owners who have the real life experiences to back their claims. 

Always remember to prioritize winter tires and practice the best battery-saving tips. These are the most crucial factors to obtain the most optimal performance from your Tesla during winter. 

FAQs

Are Teslas good for winter driving?

Both an electric vehicle and a gas-powered car will have lower efficiency due to cold weather. With a Tesla, a drop in range is imminent. You will need to use a lot of energy for warming the battery up.

Do Teslas work in the snow?

You will need good clearance to properly travel over the snow. Among the Tesla models, the Model X works best with 8 inches of clearance. If you will be driving in icy conditions but with minimal snow, you can rely on all the Tesla models.

Do electric cars work in extreme cold?

Extreme cold equates to higher safety risks. Efficiency is affected by cold weather. With very low temperatures, 40 degrees or below, an EV’s driving range is decreased by 40%. 

Michael Schuck

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