Preconditioning Your Tesla Battery: The Complete Guide


Preconditioning Your Tesla Battery

Preconditioning Your Tesla Battery: The Complete Guide

Preconditioning your Tesla battery 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. 

What is Preconditioning?

Preconditioning simply means warming your Tesla’s battery to an appropriate temperature so it can most efficiently accept a charge. 

How to Precondition Tesla Battery

There are 4 ways to precondition your Tesla:

1. Precondition with the Tesla App

Tesla preconditioning 3 wavy orange lines as seen in 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
preconditioning your Tesla from the Tesla App

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).

Why Precondition the Tesla 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.

Regenerative Braking

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?

Regenerative braking temporarily reduced warning

Read more about “Regenerative braking temporarily reduced” warning here.

There are three ways to know is your regenerative braking is reduced:

Blue Snowflake

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.  

tesla regenerative braking line
The dotted line means that regenerative braking is reduced
Indicator Light
Tesla Regenerative Braking Feature Temporary Limited symbol

Tesla has added a new indicator light that appears next to the the other indicator lights (headlight, high beams). This new symbol indicates that regenerative braking is limited and the Tesla brakes will be applied to ensure a constant braking experience.

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?

Plan to precondition for 30-45 minutes before charging, depending on outside temperatures. Cold weather requires longer precondition times; the warmer the battery is, the faster the battery will charge.

How Long Should You Precondition a Tesla Battery before Traveling? 

Tesla recommends that you you plan to precondition your vehicle 30-45 minutes before traveling. Our EVehiclePro team also recommends that you plug in your vehicle while preconditioning, as preconditioning consumes electricity. It’s not required, but will keep your charge as full as possible prior to your departure.

How Long Should You Precondition Before Charging at a Supercharger

Tesla recommends preconditioning the car for 30-45 minutes prior to supercharging. The colder the outdoor temperature, the longer you should plan to precondition. In winter weather, plan to precondition for at least 45 minutes.

Precondition before supercharging in any of three ways:

  • Select the Climate setting on the Tesla app. Your app will notify you when your vehicle has reached preconditioning temperatures. 
  • Use the Navigation feature on your vehicle’s touchscreen to precondition automatically. Simply use navigation to select 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. 
  • Use the Tesla app to enter the time you wish to leave. Select Schedule, set your departure time, then select Precondition.  Your Tesla will automatically determine the best time to start preconditioning your battery. 

How Long Should You Precondition Before Charging at a Non-Supercharger?

Teslas can be charged at non-Tesla chargers and Destination Chargers. Charging times may be slower than at Superchargers, but you still need to precondition for optimal charging speeds and performance. Tesla recommends preconditioning your battery for 30-45 minutes no matter what type of charger you use.

Precondition by:

  • Selecting the Climate setting on the Tesla app. Your app will notify you when your vehicle has reached preconditioning temperatures 
  • Use the Navigation feature on your vehicle’s touchscreen to select a Supercharger close to your non-Tesla charger. This tricks your vehicle into preconditioning automatically. Unfortunately, at this time, Tesla isn’t able to automatically precondition en route to a non-Supercharger.

FAQ

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!

What Do These 3 Orange Lines Mean in the Tesla App? 

Tesla preconditioning 3 wavy orange lines

The three orange lines at the top of the Tesla App, means that your Tesla battery is preconditioning. Some people online call these Bacon strips or Bacon lines. Whatever you choose to call them they represent that the Tesla battery is warming up.

Do I need to precondition before charging my battery at home?

It’s probably not necessary to precondition your vehicle before plugging in at home, unless you’re coming home for a quick charge before heading out again.
 
Preconditioning before charging allows your battery to accept a charge more quickly. When you charge at home, your vehicle will use the initial energy to precondition, then begin charging at the optimal speed.  

If you have the luxury of charging all night before your next trip, preconditioning isn’t necessary. However, if you’re planning to plug in at home for a quick charge before heading out again, our EVehiclePro experts recommend that you precondition first.

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