Tesla Excels in Winter Range Test, Defying Cold Weather Myths
Contrary to recent reports suggesting that Tesla vehicles struggle in cold weather, a winter range test conducted in Europe presents a different reality. The Finnish newspaper Tekniikan Maailma (TM) has found that Tesla’s electric vehicles are among the top performers in extreme cold conditions.
This test comes as a significant insight, especially considering that electric vehicles (EVs) in Europe are typically tested under the Worldwide Harmonized Light Vehicles Test Procedure (WLTP) at around +23°C in laboratories. The general assumption is that EVs, similar to combustion-engine vehicles, would lose range in cold weather. TM's test, therefore, was designed to assess the real-world performance of popular electric cars in freezing conditions.
The test, reported by Simon Alvarez on January 22, 2024, was conducted in notably harsh conditions, with temperatures around -20°C (-4°F). It included a lineup of ten electric vehicles, including the upgraded Tesla Model 3 Long Range Dual Motor, Volkswagen ID.7 Pro Elegance, BMW i5 eDrive 40 M Sport, BYD Dolphin Comfort, Hyundai Kona Electric 65 kWh Premium, and MG4 Luxury, among others.
The approach was straightforward: drive each vehicle until it was no longer operable. During the test, some vehicles like the Hyundai Kona Electric stopped with 7% battery still remaining, while others like the MG4 and Volkswagen ID.7 implemented power-saving measures, cutting off interior heating at critical battery levels.
However, the upgraded Tesla Model 3 Long Range Dual Motor AWD stood out by remaining drivable even when its battery indicator showed 0%. The vehicle managed to cover over 300 km in the freezing weather, a considerable achievement though it was a decrease from its estimated WLTP range of 629 km. This performance placed the Tesla Model 3 at the top of TM’s winter driving test, highlighting its robustness in cold conditions.
Lauri Ahtiainen, the producer of TM's electric car operating distance tests, commented on the results, noting that while severe cold does impact performance, some vehicles, notably Tesla's, assessed battery sufficiency effectively under these challenging conditions, whereas others stopped unexpectedly. The results of this winter range test not only challenge common misconceptions about electric vehicles in cold weather but also showcase the technological advancements and reliability of Tesla's electric vehicles in adverse conditions.