If you own a Tesla, you may have come across the term ‘preconditioning.’ This is an important feature that should be used during the coldest months of the year, to ensure your battery is at the right temperature to run efficiently. But you may still be wondering how to precondition a Tesla battery.
The 3 ways to precondition your Tesla battery are:
- Set your navigation to a supercharger
- Use the scheduled departure feature
- Precondition your Tesla manually
Preconditioning your battery offers benefits such as allowing your Tesla to utilize all its performance features, as well as cutting the time it takes to charge the car. In this article, we’ll discuss the steps in more detail, as well as highlight when you should precondition your battery.
When To Precondition Your Tesla’s Battery
It is recommended that you start preconditioning your Tesla’s battery an hour before charging it. Unfortunately, this means you will have to plan ahead, but thankfully Tesla has a smartphone app that will allow you to begin preconditioning from wherever you may be. Preconditioning an hour in advance will allow both the battery and the cabin to warm to the optimum temperatures.
Preconditioning is designed for use in winter temperatures, where the battery has cooled significantly. It is unlikely that you will have to precondition the battery in warmer temperatures because the chemical reactions within the battery work most efficiently when kept warm. If you fail to precondition the battery in freezing temperatures, you can risk the battery’s well-being.
You will also run the risk of features such as regenerative braking not working properly, and your car may fail to reach its full power output. Preconditioning will also help your battery to charge up to full capacity at a quicker rate than it would when cold.
Pros & Cons Of Tesla Preconditioning
|Helps your battery to charge quicker||Will consume energy|
|Extends your battery’s life||Involves pre-planning|
|Optimizes Tesla’s high-end features|
|Warms the cabin|
The Pros Of Preconditioning
Helps Your Battery To Charge Quicker
Tesla batteries are lithium-ion, which involves a series of chemical reactions in order to work. In colder temperatures, these reactions are slowed down, meaning the battery won’t be as efficient, and won’t charge up as quickly. Preconditioning the battery will help it to maintain its optimum temperature, making it quicker to charge up.
A preconditioned battery should be fully charged within 15 minutes if you go to a Tesla Supercharger. If the battery is not preconditioned and is still cold, it can take anywhere from 20 to 30 minutes to become fully charged. Preconditioning is very important if you are in a rush or just don’t fancy hanging around a Supercharger waiting for your car to be ready.
Extends Your Battery’s life
Keeping your battery at a warm temperature will help to extend its lifespan. The battery will be at its most efficient when warm as all of the electrochemical reactions will be occurring at their maximum potential. This will ensure that you get the longest possible battery life per full charge.
Optimizes Tesla’s High-End Features
Tesla cars are stacked with useful features, such as their regenerative braking feature, which helps send energy back to the battery when you brake. If you try to charge your Tesla in cold temperatures without preconditioning the battery, your Tesla will limit a lot of these features, and it will even intentionally reduce charging speeds.
This is because charging the battery in the cold can have a negative effect on the electrochemical compounds in the battery, potentially causing permanent damage or even causing it to shut down completely, depending on just how cold it is.
Warms The Cabin
As well as preparing your battery for charging and improving its efficiency, preconditioning the battery will also warm the cabin up, so you can experience the comfort of a warm car on a freezing cold day. There will be no more waiting for the warm air to kick in, or seeing your own breath on your commute to work, as preconditioning will provide you with instant comfort.
The Cons Of Preconditioning
Will Consume Energy
As preconditioning a Tesla involves turning on parts of the car, it will consume some energy. However, if you are preconditioning the battery before you charge the car up, this shouldn’t be an issue. If you are utilizing these features just to take the chill off the car before a journey, you may find your range is slightly reduced.
It is advised that you begin the preconditioning an hour before you plan on charging your Tesla’s battery. This will involve setting the preconditioning up in advance, which can easily be forgotten about. Thankfully, the Tesla app makes the process very easy, as you can activate the preconditioning settings from anywhere.
KEY POINTS• You can precondition your Tesla via the app or from inside the car
• This helps the battery performance and allows it to charge faster
• Preconditioning your Tesla is most important in cold weather
Do You Need To Precondition Your Tesla’s Battery?
You should precondition your Tesla’s battery before charging, especially when it’s cold outside. The batteries used in Teslas work through the chemical reactions that take place inside them. In cold weather, these chemical reactions happen at a slower rate, reducing the battery’s overall power.
Cold weather can also cause condensation to form around the battery when it starts to charge, once again upsetting the overall temperature of the battery and its efficiency. Preconditioning the battery eliminates these issues as it will warm the battery up to an ideal level before you start to charge it. This can dramatically cut the time it takes for the battery to fully charge.
Teslas will usually take between 20 and 30 minutes to fully charge up at Tesla Superchargers. However, with a fully preconditioned battery, the time it takes to charge up will be cut to around 15 minutes, allowing you to be on your way in no time. Your Tesla may also limit some of its features if the battery is not preconditioned, to avoid potential damage to the battery.
You won’t always need to precondition your battery, especially if the temperature outside isn’t that low. Preconditioning is ideal for winter, but it is not fully necessary throughout the warmer seasons. To cut a long story short, it is important that you precondition your Tesla battery in the winter, but you probably won’t need to do it in the summer.
3 Steps To Precondition Your Tesla Battery
1. Set Your Navigation To A Supercharger
The first option for preconditioning your Tesla’s battery is to set the navigation to a Supercharger. Tesla Superchargers are charging stations that will power up your Tesla very quickly. Your Tesla’s navigation system will be able to detect the nearest Tesla Supercharger to you and will direct you to the spot. This will automatically start preconditioning your battery.
Even if you know the way to your nearest Supercharger, using the car’s navigation system will turn on preconditioning for you automatically. It will start preconditioning when you are around 30 minutes away from your destination but may start even earlier if the outside temperature is lower. This is shorter than the usual recommended time as the battery will already be warmer from the driving.
2. Use The Scheduled Departure Feature
Scheduled Departure is another of Tesla’s hugely useful settings, which allows you to set the time that you want to start your journey. This can be set up either in the car or through the Tesla app. Once you have set the time that you want to leave, select that you want the car to precondition the battery, and it will do so in time for when you leave.
3. Precondition Your Tesla Manually
Of course, you can always opt to precondition your battery without using either of the previous two methods. The Climate Controls section of your Tesla will also precondition your battery for you and can be accessed both in the car or remotely using the Tesla app. Turning the A/C system on will start preconditioning the battery, as will turning on Defrost Car mode.
These two methods will both precondition the battery as well as leave your car nice and warm for when you’re ready to drive. You will be able to tell that your car is preconditioning by the three wavy orange lines showing up on the app or in-car screen. Once the preconditioning has finished, these lines will disappear.
Tesla Smart-Preconditioning Explained
If your driving habits during the winter months are predictable, then you can make use of Tesla’s smart-preconditioning feature. Smart-preconditioning will effectively precondition your car at the same time each day, so it will be ready and prepared for you and your routine. This scheduling will mean that you won’t have to make sure you remember to precondition the battery yourself each time.
While the idea is great, the execution hasn’t always been spot-on. Tesla have admitted themselves that smart-preconditioning can be a little erratic at times, although not everyone has experienced this. In some cases, Tesla’s smart-preconditioning hasn’t always activated at the scheduled time and has also been known to activate at random times, draining the car’s battery.
As Tesla’s smart-preconditioning technology is still relatively new, it was almost inevitable that there would be some teething problems along the way, which will likely be ironed out before too long. Activation of smart-preconditioning is simple, and can be achieved via the Tesla app.
How Long Should You Precondition Your Tesla Battery For?
It is recommended that you precondition your Tesla battery for around 45 minutes to 1 hour before you charge it or before you drive the car. This will allow the battery to fully warm up, meaning you’ll get it working to maximum efficiency with access to all features, like regenerative braking.
KEY POINTS• You only really need to precondition your Tesla battery in the colder months
• You can do so in various ways, with the easiest way being through the Tesla app
• You should precondition your Tesla battery about 45-60 minutes before charging/driving
3 Tips For Preconditioning Your Tesla Battery
1. Start 45 Minutes Before Your Journey
One of the main tips for preconditioning your Tesla battery would be to start at least 45 minutes before your journey. This will allow the battery enough time to reach its optimal temperature so that you can get the best out of it. It is also best to precondition the battery in the mornings or evenings, as these are the coldest times of day, requiring the most power to fully warm up.
2. Do It From Time To Time
It is a good idea to precondition the battery even if you aren’t going to use the car for a while. This will keep the battery in good condition and help to extend its lifespan. It may use more energy in the short-term, but it is sure to help in the long run. It is also perfectly fine to start preconditioning the battery if the car is already plugged in.
3. Use Other Methods To Warm Up The Car
Battery preconditioning isn’t only achievable through the car’s electronic systems, and you can take steps to keep your battery’s temperature at a good level. Parking out in the sun rather than in the shade will help to keep your battery warm. If there is no sun, then parking under cover or anywhere out of the elements can also help your battery to retain some of its heat.
Preconditioning your Tesla battery is very important, especially during the height of winter. It has both technical benefits, such as helping to extend the range of your drive, as well as practical benefits, like cutting the amount of time that it takes to fully charge the car. Thanks to Tesla’s intuitiveness, it is also incredibly easy to do, and can be done in the car or through the Tesla app.