Cold Weather Performance - 2013 Tesla Model S Long-Term Road Test

2013 Tesla Model S: Cold Weather Performance

January 8, 2014

2013 Tesla Model S

While in Corvallis, OR, during my road trip, I had the opportunity to drive our long-term 2013 Tesla Model S in cold-ish weather. That is, sub- freezing but not single digits. So, brisk rather than brutally cold. Jacket and hat weather.

I stayed at a hotel 1.4 miles away from my sister's house and made several trips to and fro over the course of my multi-day stay. In this weather, the trip regularly consumed 3 to 4 miles of rated range each way when starting off cold. But I had no concerns about range on this part of the trip because I'd done a more-or-less complete charge in Eugene (45 miles away) that I planned on riding out for the duration of my Corvallis stay. So this unexpected extra consumption was inconsequential other than the additional minutes it took to replenish them (and on a related note, driving a Tesla fast on the freeway can be slower in the long run for this reason).

Another cold-weather observation. When warming up, the Tesla shows hash marks on the power and regen meters (these also appear when the battery is low on charge, as I found when I first pulled into the Eugene Supercharger). Basically, it's still warming up, and the juice is restricted. I'm not one to hammer a cold car, so the limited power was fine. But the limited regen was a big surprise the first time I lifted to slow down. Normally in this car you get a big hit of regen and slow down dramatically, especially since I use the more aggressive of the two regen settings. When you lift while the car is cold, it barely slows at all.

Interestingly, on the return trip to Eugene from Corvallis (my sole "long" trip in cold weather that started out with a stone-cold Tesla), regen remained limited even after driving 20 miles.

Jason Kavanagh, Engineering Editor

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