Watch Tesla Perform Cold-Weather Tests of the Model X/Y
Tesla released a new video on its YouTube channel and on X (formerly Twitter) last Friday, showing off some extreme cold weather testing in a Model X and Model Y. The video takes place at a Tesla facility just a few kilometers below the Arctic Circle in Northern Norway, with a couple of the automaker's engineers showing some of the tests they perform.
Above: A Tesla Model Y (Image: Casey Murphy / EVANNEX).
In the video, Norwegian field quality engineers Andreas and Johannes briefly explain how they perform extreme cold weather testing on Tesla's vehicles. The Model X and Model Y are featured because these electric SUVs are generally better suited for rugged terrains and off-roading.
The temperature at Tesla’s Arctic Circle cold weather testing site varies between -10 degrees Celsius (14 degrees Fahrenheit) and -15 degrees Celsius (5 degrees Fahrenheit). According to Johannes and Andreas, the temperatures can sometimes drop down to -27 degrees Celsius (-16.6 degrees Fahrenheit) on a windy day at the site.
Tesla’s cold weather testing is done in the field, and it relies on real-world data. This allows Tesla to measure customer experiences in advance, before adjusting its hardware and software accordingly.
“Testing is important because we can predict what the customer will experience when they are actually driving here,” Andreas explains in the video.
Notably, Tesla field quality engineers don’t even ignore the small stuff. For example, Tesla owners who live near the shores in Norway and then drive towards the mountains on the weekends often experience frozen water accumulated around the wheels and the wipers. Tesla's vehicles are tested for such a scenario, and are later adjusted accordingly as a part of the automaker’s continuous improvement philosophy.
Tesla engineers also tested the Model Y and Model X vehicles on an icy and slippery road. Earlier this year, we also saw a Tesla Model Y leveraging the Off-Road Assist Mode feature to gain traction on a wet, icy, and slippery surface.
So, Tesla already has features for such cold-weather situations, though they still require constant tweaking. Fortunately, Tesla's vehicles have the capability to receive over-the-air (OTA) software updates, further improving the cars over time.
“We’re trying to replicate customer scenarios and finding all the challenges with driving a car in the northern Scandinavian parts,” Andreas added.
Tesla even tests how the lights of their vehicles perform under extreme cold weather conditions. As we can see in the video, a sensor is installed on the taillight of a Model Y to measure humidity, temperature and pressure that the interior of the light experiences during testing. The acquired data will help Tesla improve vehicle components in the future.
Tesla’s first cold-weather testing facility is located somewhere in Alaska, in the United States. Now that it’s summer, Tesla has also set up a cold-weather testing site in Auckland, New Zealand where it’s currently evaluating the Cybertruck. The company has also performed hot-weather testing in extreme heat conditions.
The automaker never disclosed its cold-weather testing facility in the Arctic Circle in Northern Norway. A few people may have known about it, but it isn't talked about very often. Since Tesla produces its Model Y at a Gigafactory outside of Berlin, Germany, it may also be good to have a testing infrastructure in Europe, for better localization of its vehicles.
Above: Tesla testing Model Y and Model X electric SUVs for extreme cold weather performance in the Arctic Circle (Video: Tesla via YouTube).