Electric vehicle (EV) owners are advised to prioritize battery preconditioning, particularly during the cold season in the northern hemisphere, to optimize charging efficiency, extend battery life, and enhance overall range. This practice involves heating the battery cells before a DC fast charging session, ensuring they reach an ideal temperature for charging. Besides improving range and minimizing charging times, preconditioning also contributes to a safe charging process.
A recent test conducted by a Tesla owner in Sweden, documented on the It's Only Electric YouTube channel, highlighted the impact of battery preconditioning on a Tesla Model Y during cold weather conditions. The owner compared charging sessions at a V3 Supercharger with a preconditioned battery and an unconditioned battery, both starting at a 10 percent state of charge in temperatures ranging from 30°F to 21°F (-1°C to -6°C).
The preconditioned battery, warmed to above freezing, exhibited a faster charge acceptance rate, reaching up to 238 kW. The charging session from 10% to 80% state of charge took 33 minutes. In contrast, the unconditioned battery, exposed to freezing temperatures, had a slower charge rate, maxing out at 135 kW. The charging session for the same state of charge range took 42 minutes—almost 10 minutes longer than the preconditioned battery.
It's worth noting that the owner ensured a real-life scenario by not bringing the car to the Supercharger with an ice-cold battery, having warmed the cabin beforehand. The comparison of charging curves revealed a notable difference in the initial charging phase, with the preconditioned battery accepting charge at a significantly higher rate.
The test underscores the importance of battery preconditioning for a more efficient and rapid charging experience, emphasizing its relevance for EV owners, particularly in winter conditions. The article also advises potential EV buyers to consider models equipped with battery preconditioning functionality, as not all vehicles offer this feature.