How to recalibrate your Tesla battery to regain range

When you own an electric vehicle, charging protocol is important. Sometimes, due to improper charging habits, a Tesla’s battery can have calibration issues. In turn, these calibration issues can result in battery degradation that might show up — even for a relatively new Tesla. 

Above: Tesla Model 3 at 5% SoC (Source: Ian Pavelko / Twitter)

In a prior extensive test, a Tesla Model 3 battery degraded only 2% after 50,000 miles (80,468 km) of use. But that's not always the case. Some owners have experienced sudden range degradation only after driving the car for a few thousand miles.

One such instance happened to YouTuber ‘It’s Kim Java’ back in 2018 when her Tesla Model 3 started showing 260 miles of range on a 100% state of charge (SoC) instead of the 310 miles it displayed earlier when it was new. Interestingly, she had only driven the car, at that point, for around 11,000 miles.

To avoid the situation Kim experienced with her Model 3, the Tesla Battery Management System (BMS) should go through a reset. Tesla guru Ian Pavelko has compiled the following steps for a BMS reset.

  1. If you’ve been staying at home, doing mostly short-range trips, and keeping SoC in the middle zone to preserve your battery, it’s a good idea to do a BMS (Battery Management System) reset once in a while to ensure it’s accurate when you are on a long trip.
  2. Just drive until you’re down into the single-digit percentage range, let it sit for an hour while pinging periodically with the app or the door handle to keep it awake, charge it up to 100% and do the same thing, then be sure to drive it immediately.
  3. If your car has collected much dust as mine has recently and it’s been a long time (or never) since you’ve done this, when using up that last bit of battery on the discharge part, stay close to a charging outlet and pay close attention to how the power output decreases as you approach single-digit SOC. If it starts to get super lethargic, as it doesn’t want to climb past 50 mph (80 km/h), head to home or a nearby charger immediately at a very sedate pace, then continue the regime.
  4. Some Tesla owners have found that they need to do it twice in a row, but mine has always gone back to being spot-on after just one cycle.

Twiiter: Ian Pavelko

In addition, Tesla 'tuber Sean Mitchell also suggested three key tips to keep in mind in order to maintain optimum health for your Tesla battery.

  1. Don’t regularly charge the car to 100%
  2. Don’t let the state of charge drop to lower than 10% on a regular basis
  3. Protect the battery pack from high temperatures. This includes regularly using the Supercharger stations. Fast charging warms the batteries faster too.

As noted here, keeping the daily state-of-charge of your Tesla to around 90% really helps avoiding an imbalance of battery calibration. Just remember to set the max charging limit to 90%. To that end, be sure to check out the 'how-to' video below for a quick tutorial.


Video: How to set the charging limit of your Tesla vehicle (YouTube: Tesletter)


Written by: Iqtidar Ali. An earlier version of this article was originally published on Tesla Oracle