Tesla update is designed to make charging in the cold work better


Tesla’s latest update preheats the car’s charging port on the way to a charging station in cold weather.Getty/Eva Kongshavn
  • Tesla’s latest software feature should help prevent chargers from getting stuck in cold temperatures.
  • Routing to a charging station now automatically warms the car’s charging port in advance.
  • Tesla and other electric vehicles face issues in the cold that traditional cars don’t.

Nobody likes to drive in severe weather conditions — but for Tesla owners, cold weather can be enough to leave them stranded.

Some new features in Tesla’s latest software update could help.

Tesla owners have long complained about issues they can run into during cold weather. Low temperatures can drain Tesla batteries faster, freeze the doors shut, and prevent the EVs from charging at all.

As part of a series of vehicle software updates, Tesla is introducing a new feature that should help decrease the chances of getting your charger stuck in your car at a charging station if it’s freezing out.

With the latest 2024.2.6 update, Tesla made it possible for drivers using the car’s navigation system to select a charging station and automatically begin warming up the charging port in addition to preconditioning the battery itself.

Preconditioning the battery on your way to the charger reduces the amount of time it takes to start the charging process. When temperatures hit below zero, electric vehicle batteries need to be heated up in order to accept a charge. EV batteries can take up to three times as long to charge in cold temperatures.

Tesla now added a timer, which will tell drivers how long it will take for the battery to finish warming up to the point where DC fast charging can begin.

That, and some software changes to the DC chargers themselves that Tesla says will make the whole process more efficient, will hopefully offer drivers some meaningful improvements in colder weather.

Tesla also included a few other tips for charging in cold weather in the software update’s release notes, like checking for debris before plugging in, making sure things are fully connected, and using the manual release if you can’t unplug. It also suggested reading the manual for best practices in cold weather.

Tesla’s software update also included some other improvements not related to cold-weather driving, such as an ultra-wideband phone key, adaptive high-beam headlights, factoring in the car’s battery age into range estimates, and security improvements.

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