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Tesla Model S covered in snow in Poland. Photo by Zach Shahan, CleanTechnica.


Tesla Cold Weather Experiment In -22°F & -31°F Temperatures

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I recently shared the story of “Dirty Tesla,” who debunked an opinion piece by the Washington Post about how the Virginia winter traffic disaster would have been worse if all the vehicles were EVs. We now have more to share. First of all, we do not have direct confirmation of this person’s first-hand account, but a post from someone below states that they were stuck in the traffic jam in their Tesla for 16 hours and not only did they’re battery only drop from 74% to 61%, but they also used Camp Mode to stay comfy and nap.

Another Tesla owner shared an experiment he did with me. He was inspired by all the misinformation in his community to set up an experiment of his own. However, he lives in what he calls the Texas of Canada, which is oil country. Unlike the winter event in Virginia, the testing conditions were much, much colder. The temperatures got down to -35°C, which translates to -31°F.

Darryl Kolewaski owns Canada Electric Car Management, which supplies and installs parts and enhancements for Tesla’s line of vehicles. Darryl also told me that he has a fleet of Teslas and provides a taxi service in his town, which is just outside of Alberta. The fleet of taxis in Kelowna is leased under Current Taxi, but the vehicles are owned by CECM.

“We’ve been doing Tesla taxis for about five years now.”

He explained that the company has mostly Model 3 and Model S vehicles. The test Darryl conducted was on a 2014 Model S.

His community is in what is known as the oil and gas community of Canada, where there are many critics of EVs and a preference for fossil fuels over clean energy. I can relate to that living in Louisiana. The mentality toward EVs and clean energy is hard to change, but Darryl is working diligently in his community to show his family, friends, and neighbors that EVs are not as bad as the FUD (fear, uncertainty, and doubt) about them.

The Experiment

Image by Darryl Kolewaski, used with permission.

He explained that there was this meme about the Virginia winter weather traffic disaster going around and this inspired him to see just how long a Tesla would last in an emergency situation. If you were stuck in your car during extreme winter weather, how long would it be able to keep you warm?

The testing conditions for Darryl’s experiment made me want to turn my heaters back on — although it was in the upper 60s (F) at the time we were chatting.

“I have a 2014 Tesla Model S 85 with around 65,000 miles on it and I was like, ‘let’s do a test with this car and see.'”

He casually mentioned that the average temperature was -21° Celsius but said it got down to around -30° to -35° Celsius, which translates to a range of -22°F to -31°F.

“You’ll probably never experience that in Louisiana.”

I hope not!

“It’s quite cold. I fully charged the car to 100% and then parked it outside and put it in Camp Mode to 21°C or 70°F. I locked the car and didn’t stay in it but parked it outside of my house and left it to see how long it would last.”

Darryl used up 80% of the battery and explained that once the battery reached 20%, it would automatically shut off if no one was actually in the car. He also explained that had there been a person inside the car, they would have probably done their best to conserve energy — rather than keep the temperature at 21°C.

The battery lasted a day and 17 hours left on Camp Mode during average temperatures of -21°C (-5.8°F). The above screenshot was taken after one day and 13 hours, with four hours left in the test.

“If you were in an emergency situation, you’re not just going to leave it on 21 in Camp Mode. You’re going to use the heated seats which would take less power to cycle it on and off to try to conserve. This was just a blanket test to see what it would do just straight up by the numbers.”


I think that Darryl’s experiment and Dirty Tesla’s experiment both show how a Tesla can hold up during extreme winter-related emergencies. In each case, both owners were not in the vehicle during the testing but both equally pointed out that if someone was in an emergency situation, they would do everything they could to conserve as much energy as possible. In his extended test, Dirty Tesla lowered the temperature to 60°F.

I would love to see these types of cold weather tests conducted with other EVs, such as the Ford Mustang Mach-E or the Volkswagen ID.4.

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Johnna owns less than one share of $TSLA currently and supports Tesla's mission. She also gardens, collects interesting minerals and can be found on TikTok


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