Tesla Battery Preheating - How to Precondition the Battery

Tesla Battery Preheating - How to Precondition the Battery

Especially in winter, every Tesla driver should preheat or precondition the battery, as it is technically called, when planning to charge at a Supercharger. A cold battery not only has less range but also charges significantly slower, as the charging currents are regulated by the software to protect the battery.

How you can precondition your Tesla Model 3 or Model Y battery and why you should definitely do it, we explain in this article.

We are Tesla Outfitters. As experts in high-quality Tesla accessories, we deal with Tesla Model 3 and Model Y on a daily basis and know every little detail. We want to share this experience with our readers and have therefore written this post.

Is Preheating the Tesla Battery Sensible?

A few days ago, I had to pick up a large delivery of Tesla accessories with a van and bring it to our warehouse. I left my Model 3 in a parking lot near a Tesla Supercharger. In the evening, I wanted to charge there before driving home.

Done as said, I got into my Tesla, started preconditioning the battery, and navigated to the Supercharger. However, it was only about 3 minutes away and the outside temperature was -6°C. Upon arrival, I couldn't believe the charging speed displayed. My Tesla Model 3 Long Range showed at a 250kW Supercharger that it was charging at 11kW, even though it only had 15% battery.

The number increased over the next few minutes, as the battery was heated by the vehicle to reach higher temperatures and thus higher charging currents. After about 10 minutes, the peak was reached - but it was only a meager 94kW.

I had a completely different experience today. Again, temperatures were around 5°C below zero. But this time, I was farther from the Supercharger and was driving on the highway. The battery was warm and I arrived with a similar low battery level. This time I charged at over 220kW.

This example clearly shows how important it is to preheat the Tesla battery before charging at a Supercharger. The battery can simply be charged with a much higher charging power when it already has the right temperature.

Note: If you are at a Supercharger in winter, you may see white steam coming out of your car. This is not dangerous. Here you can find all information about this phenomenon.

How Long Does It Take to Preheat a Tesla Battery?

The duration of preconditioning cannot be precisely determined, as it depends very much on the outside temperature. Moreover, it also depends heavily on the cell chemistry of the respective battery.

For example, the battery of a Tesla Model 3 Long Range is already at temperature in about 15 minutes if the vehicle is driven during this time. An LFP battery of the Standard Range model not only takes significantly longer but its cell chemistry is also more susceptible to cold temperatures. Therefore, it cannot draw as high a charging power at the Supercharger when it's cold.

However, if you are on a long journey and want to drive to a Supercharger, the battery is already preheated by the drive and hardly needs any more conditioning. In this case, it only takes a few minutes to preheat the Tesla battery.

Since so many factors play a role here, we give a clear recommendation. If you go to the fast charger in winter, then always use the preconditioning as early as possible. We are of course happy to explain how this works.

How to Precondition Your Tesla Battery

Tesla Preconditioning on Screen

When you first hear about preconditioning, it sounds like something complicated that requires expertise to implement. However, this is not the case. Starting preconditioning in Tesla is very simple.

Just enter the Supercharger in the Tesla's navigation system where you want to charge. As soon as the navigation starts, you will see a small message in red letters "Tesla is preconditioning for fast charging" on the screen.

And that's it. Now the heat pump in the Tesla starts working and preheats the Tesla battery. You will hear a humming sound when it starts.

Tesla Battery Preconditioning for Third-Party Charging Station

There is no button to manually start preconditioning. Instead, you always have to navigate to a Tesla Supercharger in the Tesla navigation. But what if you don't want to charge at a Supercharger, but at a fast charger of another provider?

Actually, the solution here is quite makeshift. Because to preheat the Tesla battery for a third-party fast charging station, you still have to select a Tesla Supercharger nearby in the navigation and start the navigation. Meanwhile, the navigation also shows most third-party charging stations, so you can select most of them directly. If the preconditioning does not start, then select a Tesla Supercharger, even if you are not driving there.

Tip: For 11kW wall boxes, you don't need to precondition.

Can Every Tesla Precondition the Battery?

Most electric cars do not have the function to precondition the battery. This is because they do not have a heat pump installed, which serves, among other things, to bring the battery to temperature. Even Tesla initially did not have this technology.

So no, not every Tesla can precondition the battery before charging. Only since the refresh Tesla Model 3 in May 2021 has Tesla installed heat pumps with this function. All Model 3 and Model Y after this date have this function. Model S and Model X since the 2023 facelift as well.

The battery is also heated by regenerative breaking and by driving. Therefore, a combination of driving distance and preheating is always the best.

Preheating the Tesla Battery with "Scheduled Departure Time"

Tesla Scheduled Departure Time

If you can plan when you are going to charge, you can also preheat the battery with the Tesla function "Scheduled Departure Time". You can find this in the app under Schedule. If the outside temperature is below 7°C, the battery is automatically preheated to about 20°C using this function.

Note that you must not open the driver's door of your Model 3 or Model Y during preheating, as this will interrupt the preconditioning. You can restart it via the Tesla navigation as described above.

When You Should Preheat the Tesla Battery and When Not

Preconditioning your battery consumes energy. From our experience, you consume 1-3% battery until you reach the Supercharger. Therefore, it is not sensible to preheat the battery in every situation.

If you are in a hurry and want the charging at the Supercharger to be as quick as possible, then you should definitely precondition. Also, if the Supercharger is heavily used, the battery should be brought to temperature to avoid unnecessarily long charging times and blocking the charging station. When temperatures are below zero, it is always advisable.

If you have plenty of time and want to save the electricity consumption of preconditioning, then you can do so. The battery will not be damaged by this. Tesla's software ensures that only as much charging current is given as the battery can handle at the current temperature.


Preconditioning the Tesla battery is a very important function of the electric car and without it, Tesla Model 3 and Model Y would not be as practical as they are. We are sure that in the future all electric cars will have the ability to preheat their batteries, as it significantly shortens charging times at fast chargers because much higher charging currents can be used. We absolutely recommend that you get used to preconditioning, as you will not want to miss it.

If you are looking for the right accessories for your Tesla, then check out tesla-ausstatter.de. There you will find precise, high-quality products that are quickly delivered to your home.

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