Preconditioning Your Tesla Battery: The Complete Guide
Preconditioning your Tesla electric vehicle will warm up its battery and optimize its range, driving costs, regenerative braking, battery life, comfort and more. You can precondition in one of four ways to get the most out of your Tesla electric vehicle.
Table of Contents
What is Preconditioning?
Preconditioning simply means warming your Tesla’s battery to an appropriate temperature so it can most efficiently accept a charge.
Why Precondition the Battery?
Preconditioning your Tesla battery will:
- make your vehicle more efficient at accepting a charge and supercharge
- extend your battery life
- preserve your Tesla range
- make your drive more comfortable
- prevent damage to your battery, especially in cold weather
- optimize regenerative braking
Preconditioning Battery for Fast Charging
Warming the Tesla battery allows your vehicle to accept a charge at a much faster speed. This will reduce the time spent supercharging and in some cases reduce the cost to charge.
One of Tesla’s features is regenerative braking.
When your vehicle is moving and you take your foot off the accelerator, regenerative braking slows down your vehicle and feeds any surplus energy back into your battery.
You need to precondition your battery in order for the regenerative braking to work most efficiently. If the battery is not preconditioned sufficiently, regenerative braking may reduced. This results in needing to use the brake pedal more often until your batteries heat up.
How Do I Know If My Regenerative Braking is Reduced?
There are two ways to know is your regenerative braking is reduced:
During cold weather conditions, a blue snowflake may appear on the screen when some of the energy stored in the battery is not available. In this case, regenerative braking and charging speeds may be limited. Once the battery is warmed, the snowflake will disappear.
Regenerative Braking Line
You can also tell that your regenerative braking is reduced by looking at the line at the top-left of your screen. The left side of this line refers to your regenerative braking. When regenerative braking is reduced you will see multiple dots. The more dots you see on the left side of the line, the less regenerative braking you have.
Read more about Limited Deceleration when Accelerator is Released warning here.
Drag Strip Mode
If you have aTesla Model S, and are preparing to race it, you’ll need to precondition the batteries in order for Drag strip mode to work. It will take 15 minutes to precondition the battery in order to achieve acceleration of 0 to 60 mph in under 2 seconds.
How Long Should You Precondition a Tesla Battery Before Charging?
There is no minimum amount of time to precondition but the warmer the battery is, the faster the battery will charge.
Precondition Before Charging at a Supercharger
Tesla recommends preconditioning the car for 30-45 minutes prior to supercharging. You can precondition automatically by simply using the navigation in your car. Prepare your car for Supercharging by navigating to your destination – even if you know your route. When you enter a destination into your navigation, your car will automatically begin to preheat your battery before arriving at a Supercharger to reduce charging time.
Depending on the ambient temperature and whether your vehicle was preconditioned prior to departure, Tesla recommends pre-heating the battery for up to 45 minutes. This can be accomplished by simply driving your Tesla or by turning on the climate using your app, before leaving.
How Do I Precondition My Tesla?
There are 4 ways to precondition your Tesla:
1. Precondition with the Tesla App
Use the climate controls on your Tesla app. You can pre-heat your car by activating “preconditioning” or “defrost” in the Tesla app. This will save significant energy on the road. We suggest that your car is plugged in while preconditioning.
- Precondition: Open the Tesla app and tap ‘Climate‘ > ‘Turn On.’
- Defrost: Open the Tesla app and select ‘Climate‘ > scroll down and select the defrost icon.
You can also use the Scheduled Departure Feature in the Tesla app to precondition your battery.
- Click on ‘Schedule’
- Set a departure time.
- Turn on the slider for ‘Precondition‘
The car will preheat the battery and set the climate to your last temperature setting.
2. Use the Navigation Feature to Precondition
Use the Navigation feature before supercharging.
Simply navigate to a Supercharging station on your screen. The vehicle will automatically start preconditioning the battery.
3. Scheduled Departure Feature to Precondition
Use the Scheduled Departure feature to precondition your car around your schedule. Simply set your next departure time using the ‘Scheduled Departure’ feature on your touchscreen. Tap the Climate Controls settings screen > turn on Preconditioning in settings > select ‘Schedule’ to set a daily time when you want to be ready to drive. The Tesla will determine how long your car should preheat in order to be ready to leave at your set time.
4. Preconditioning for Drag Strip Mode
Tesla’s Model S features Drag Strip Mode. Using Drag Strip Mode to precondition your Model S is useful before a short distance race. Drag Strip Mode preconditions the battery and drive unit to ideal operating temperatures for timed acceleration. Model S stays in Drag Strip Mode for three hours, even if you leave the vehicle. After three hours, the feature times out to prevent unnecessary energy consumption (for example, you leave the vehicle and forget to cancel Drag Strip Mode).
How Much Does Pre-conditioning Cost?
According to autotrader.ca, which ran a simple test, a preconditioned drive can cost 21% less than a non-conditioned (cold) Electric Vehicle and 39% less than the drive using a gas engine. Plus you get the added bonus of driving a warm car!
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