Cold weather tips for your Tesla Model 3

Many Tesla Model 3 owners recently took delivery of their cars during the warmer summer months. They haven't experienced ownership of their EVs in colder weather — that is, until now. To learn more about what to expect, here's a recap of some helpful cold weather tips assuming overnight temperatures starting at roughly 10 degrees C (50F).

Above: Tesla Model 3 faces a cold, snowy day (Screenshot: Tesla Owners Online / YouTube)

Cold Weather Tips

Tesla has a few helpful tips on their website for cold weather driving. However, these guidelines (see below) could also prove useful as the winter months get colder and colder...

  • Your car will have LIMITED REGEN until the battery warms up. If you charge past 90% you will also have LIMITED REGEN. Keep this in mind while driving as you will need to use the brakes to make up for the regen limitation.
  • Your range will decrease significantly (10-30%) due to the use of the heater, heated seats, and decreased battery capacity due to temperature. This decrease in range might not be reflected in the computer if you are going on road trips.
  • If you see a blue snowflake icon beside the battery icon it's because it's been cold-soaked. It will go away once your battery reaches a minimum temperature.
  • Supercharging speeds are limited during extremely cold battery temps.
  • Preheating your car while plugged in will use shore power and not affect STATE OF CHARGE of the battery.
  • Charging the battery warms it up so you can do a little math and calculate a time to start charging overnight and calculate the amperage necessary to finish charging within 30 minutes of the time you expect to leave. Doing this will make sure the battery is warm when you start driving and regen will not be limited.
  • When going on a road trip, try to stay at a hotel with a destination charger so the car can slowly charge overnight. If you are staying at a hotel without charging and it will be extremely cold, make sure to supercharge BEFORE you go to the hotel as the car will not supercharge first thing in the morning with a very cold battery.
  • Disable mirror auto-fold in the winter. Ice build-up will cause the mirrors to jam up and likely damage them (all cars with folding mirror should do this)
  • Use silicone spray to lube the door and window seals to help the glass from sticking to the seals
  • Tap the 'Defroster (defogger)' icon on the center touchscreen to also defrost the side-view mirrors (see screenshot below)

Above: Pressing the 'Defroster' icon on the Model 3 center touchscreen also defrosts the side-view mirrors (Screenshot: Tesla Owners Online / YouTube)

Video Recap

If you'd like some more insight into cold weather driving — you can also watch the following video on how you can take care of your Tesla Model 3 (or any other electric vehicle for that matter) in some frigid/freezing cold weather.

Above: Trevor Page sharing his Tesla Model 3 tips and tricks for the cold weather (YouTube: Tesla Owners Online).

It's important to note, Tesla actually has an impressive winter testing facility in Alaska in order to ensure their cars perform to the absolute best of their ability. And, in addition to the vehicle's performance characteristics, there's also a lot of beauty and fun when it comes to owning (and driving) a Tesla Model 3 in a winter wonderland.


Written by: Trevor Page. An earlier version of this article was originally published on X Auto.