How Do Tesla Batteries Stay Cool? (Explained)

Tesla batteries get hot while driving, and replacing them can be a big expense.

Keeping your batteries from getting too hot is one way of extending their life and there are several ways to keep them cool.

Let’s dive in.

How Do Tesla Batteries Stay Cool?

The Battery Management System, (BMS) on a Tesla is designed to keep the batteries and the motor cool when in operation. The BMS utilizes a liquid cooling system that flows through the battery pack, and around the motor.

As the Tesla moves faster, generating more heat, the BMS moves faster as well to keep all the components cool enough to operate.

The BMS runs cooling fluid around the battery pack and motor in a similar fashion to the oil and radiator fluid in a conventional internal combustion engine.

The heat of the moving Tesla is dissipated by the BMS keeping the batteries cooler.

This system works well in most temperatures, but extremely hot weather, will still adversely affect the range of the vehicle.

The motion of the Tesla at faster speeds draws power and heats the batteries, the BMS compensates, but also draws power as it operates at higher levels.

The air conditioning adds a third draw on the batteries and the result is a reduction in range, even though overall performance remains similar to driving in more moderate temperatures.

Batteries work in harmony with electric motors but the demands for each component vary when it comes to heat.

The cooler the motor, the better it will perform.

Batteries can’t be too cold, or they’ll lose energy, but they can’t get too hot either, or they’ll overheat.

A battery needs to be kept at an optimal temperature for top performance, and by default, maximum range on a charge.

Moderation by the operator and close monitoring of the system are the most important steps that can be taken in preventing overheated batteries.

Being a responsible driver in not running at high speed on hot days helps the internal system of the Tesla to keep the batteries cool.

Do Tesla batteries get hot while driving?

Add in the extra battery draw for the cooling system to work harder with the batteries and motor, the air conditioning system drawing additional energy from the batteries to keep the passengers cool and you have a cascading effect that can substantially decrease the range of a Tesla with the increased demand on the batteries.

So, yes. Tesla batteries do get hot when the car is driven.

Roaring (not really roaring with a quiet Tesla) down the highway at speeds over 100 miles per hour on a day when the temperature is also in triple digits is a recipe for failure no matter how elaborate the cooling system is.

You can read more here about how long a Tesla can sit in traffic in hot weather.

Do Tesla batteries perform well in very hot weather?

Very hot weather, in excess of 95 degrees Fahrenheit, can reduce the range of a Tesla by 17 to 20 percent. If the weather is that hot, odds are that you’ll be running the air conditioning as well, and that too will draw more power from the batteries, decreasing range.

The short answer is that Tesla batteries do perform well in very hot weather, they just don’t perform well for as long as they do in more temperate weather.

Will a Tesla alert you if the batteries get too hot?

If a yellow turtle indicator light pops up on your Tesla control console, it’s time to pull over and let the batteries cool down.

The indicator light is part of the vehicle power indicator system.

This system will flash a warning when your batteries reach dangerously low levels and your travel distance becomes very limited.

The turtle appears when the batteries are too hot.

Tesla has a Cabin Overheat Heating setting that you should click on if you’re traveling in warmer temperatures. The system automatically turns on the air conditioning if the temperature in the cabin gets too hot.

Read more here about Tesla’s Cabin overheating setting.

This is one of the most popular systems that Tesla has innovated, automatically keeping the cabin comfortable for passengers.

This system is made to keep the cabin heated in the Tesla.

Every vehicle has the potential to overheat from many different factors. While Teslas have a much-reduced risk of overheating in comparison with traditional fossil-fueled vehicles, and in comparison with other electric vehicles, they can still overheat.

Paying attention to the indicator lights is one way to reduce the risk of damaging your battery pack and also limiting the cost of possibly replacing or repairing batteries damaged by excess heat.

Do Tesla batteries lose range sooner in southern states?

The reality is that for most of the year, the weather in southern states is temperate, it is only in the heat of a southern summer when the temperatures can exceed 95 degrees Fahrenheit that the problem with lower range appears.

Humans feel the summer heat as a combination of humidity and temperature.

That’s why a 90-degree afternoon in Georgia feels so much hotter than a 110-degree afternoon in Arizona.

They’re both hot, but as the cliché reads, “It’s a dry heat.”

A Tesla doesn’t care about wet or dry heat as long as the batteries remain dry.

Range reduction comes with heat alone, the hotter the temperature, the more the batteries are drained by speed, air conditioning in the cabin, and the cooling system working to keep the battery and the motor cool in excess temperatures.

Since southern states are often much hotter than northern states in the summer, the range can be lost at a faster rate.

If you’re worried about getting into a situation where your Tesla battery runs out, check out our article explaining your options.

Have overheating batteries been a problem with Teslas?

Every electric vehicle can experience problems with overheated batteries, and Tesla is no exception, but the technology has evolved with Tesla batteries to dramatically reduce the risk.

The internal controls, cooling systems, and warning lights available on a Tesla are the best on the electric vehicle market.

With close monitoring by the operator and a functioning CPU to keep the automatic control systems operating, the risk of overheating has been greatly reduced.

The operator remains the largest component in preventing overheating.

No matter how good the automatic controls are, no matter how efficient and CPU is in monitoring and maintaining battery temperature, it does matter if the operator decides to run the Tesla at high speeds on a hot afternoon.

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