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How Much Range Do Teslas Lose in the Winter?

By: Otaiba Ahsan

Tesla Model X in a Winter Environment
Tesla Model X in a Winter Environment

Owning a Tesla in an environment that sees below-freezing temperatures can be challenging when it comes to how far it can go on a single charge. The reason is that the car’s overall range takes a hit in cold weather due to several factors. So, how much range do Teslas lose in the Winter? Continue reading to find out.

Why Would a Tesla Lose Range in Cold Weather?

There are two primary reasons why Teslas lose range in below-freezing temperatures. The first is that there is reduced capacity for the battery, and it takes longer to heat it up. Moreover, due to it being uncomfortably cold in the cabin, the climate control settings are typically used to warm the car which also takes energy.

We now know that the heating features in your Tesla take up a lot more energy than the air conditioning (AC) does, which is part of the reason why range reduction isn’t felt or present in warmer climates.

What do the Studies Show?

We’ve examined two different studies which closely looked at range reduction for Teslas and other electric vehicles (EVs) during the Winter Months. Based on these studies, as well as my personal experience, Teslas can lose anywhere from 10% to 30% in range on average during the Wintertime. Let’s look at their findings in more detail:

  1. Recurrent Auto examined Winter range reduction for the most popular EVs in the United States. Their study found that across all Tesla Models currently available, they lost an average of 16.5% of range during the Winter. A key takeaway was that both the Tesla Model Y and X saw the lowest decrease in range among all vehicles. On the flip side, the Chevy Bolt saw the greatest range reduction at 32%.
  2. Another study examined a single Tesla Model Y and monitored it throughout one Winter season. They observed a staggering 27.3% decrease in predicted range for the vehicle. All the driving was done in the Chicago area. Lastly, they found that the intensity of the cold affects the rate of range lost. In other words, the colder it is, the worse the range loss is.

How to Maximize Range in the Winter

Here are two tips that are vital for improving your Tesla’s range in colder climates:

1) Precondition: Always precondition your Tesla before taking it for a drive, no matter what time of year. Open the Tesla app and select “Climate’” and then tap “On” which will initiate the preconditioning of your car. You can also hit “Schedule” from the home screen in the app and then choose a time that you would like your car to precondition every day. See our guide on how to set up scheduled departure for your Tesla. This is useful if you’re consistently driving your Tesla at the same time each day.

NOTE: Preconditioning helps save a ton of energy that would otherwise be used by your Tesla to warm up the cabin and battery. Remember, those are the two primary reasons why your car loses range during cold climates in the first place.

2) If you’re really looking to reduce the impact of warming up the interior of your Tesla, then try this tip. When in your vehicle, set the seat warmers to the highest setting and turn the heating off (or down). This will conserve energy for your car. The obvious downside is that your cabin temperature won’t be what you’re typically comfortable with.

The Bottom Line

How much range do Teslas lose in the Winter? Based on various studies, as well as my personal experience, Teslas can lose anywhere from 10% to 30% in range on average during the Wintertime. Of course, this figure will vary from person to person, so use it as general guidance when planning your Winter driving. It’s vital to always precondition your car and keep it charged, as you’ll want to have the most energy available as possible.

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