Tesla owner goes viral after his car would not charge in the cold

A Tesla owner’s video went viral after he couldn’t get his Model S to charge at a Supercharger station in the cold.

Domenick Nati, a radio host in Virginia, was trying to charge his Tesla Model S last Friday ahead of his holiday travel, but he was having some issues.

It was reportedly 19°F – or -7°C – at the time.

Nati claims to have first tried to charge at home without success, and then he tried at a local Supercharger station where he posted this video on TikTok that went viral:

When plugged into the Supercharger, the car showed a message saying that it was warming up the battery pack in preparation for charging, but it never actually started to charge – even an hour later.

Nati claims to have reached out to Tesla about the issue, but he couldn’t get a response by Saturday.

Electrek’s Take

The video and media reports on it are creating some confusion. Some are associating this with the normal problems charging in the cold.

First off, it’s true that electric vehicle charging is affected by colder temperatures, but this is not normal.

Top comment by t_newt

Liked by 57 people

There's a Youtube video that just came out that addresses exactly this. The channel is 'Out of Spec Reviews' and the title is "I Deep Froze My Tesla And Immediately Plugged It Into A Supercharger To See What Happens"

He left his Tesla out overnight at -14°F and then charged it. I don't remember the details, but I think it took an hour of warming up the battery before it would start charging. He mentioned that normally you wouldn't do this--you have the car preheat the battery before you start charging (either before you get to the car or while driving to a charging station).

Maybe this guy's car is broken or he didn't wait long enough (was he monitoring his battery?) In any case, any car that doesn't warm up the battery first when it has gotten to such low temperatures is risking damaging the battery.

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It takes time for the battery pack to warm up enough to accept higher charge rates. That’s why Tesla built in a feature that enables the battery pack to condition itself for charging ahead of time if you enter a charge point in the navigation system.

So yes, there are issues with charging in colder temperatures, but this is not it – this is a malfunction with this gentleman’s specific vehicle.

I have charged Tesla vehicles and other EVs at way colder temperatures than -7°C without issue. It’s unfortunate, but it looks to be a problem with the owner’s specific car than hopefully is going to be covered by the warranty.

The biggest highlight, if anything, is that he couldn’t get in touch with anyone at Tesla for a remote diagnostic. That’s a big issue with Tesla’s service. It’s hard to get someone on the phone.

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