Tesla steams while charging - what's happening?

Tesla steams while charging - what's happening?

Every Tesla driver experiences this frightening moment sooner or later. You're charging your Tesla at the Supercharger in cold weather and suddenly your car starts to smoke. White steam rises from the right and left wheel arches.

But don't worry - this is perfectly normal and safe. We've found out why the Tesla sometimes smokes while charging and we're happy to explain it to you, so you don't have to worry anymore.

What is the steam seen while charging a Tesla?

When you connect your Tesla Model Y or Model 3 to a Supercharger on a cool day, you may notice steam rising from the wheel arches. Even if it may seem alarming at first, it's actually a normal and harmless process. It's just harmless water vapor.

Why does steam occur during Tesla's fast charging?

Whether it's Tesla Model Y or Model 3 - modern Teslas are equipped with heat pumps. Among other things, they ensure that the battery is heated to the right temperature in cold weather, so it can be charged at the highest possible current.

When it's cold and humid outside, moisture accumulates, which is then heated by the heat pump until it evaporates. The pressure generated in the process is then released through the wheel arches. Suddenly, a large cloud of white smoke, or rather white steam, emerges from the wheel arches.

Differences from older Tesla models

If you drive an older model from before 2021, it wasn't equipped with a heat pump and therefore didn't exhibit this "steam" phenomenon. Only with the introduction of the 2021 Tesla Model 3 Facelift was the heat pump installed. So if you've just gotten your second Tesla and didn't know about the steaming phenomenon while charging, the situation can easily startle you.

When you should be concerned

As long as the steam is white and not black or dark, everything is fine. It's just water vapor, which poses no danger. You can also tell by the smell whether you need to be concerned or not. Water vapor is odorless. So if the smoke coming from your Tesla while charging is black and smells burnt, that's when you should be concerned.


We've been driving Teslas for several years now and have dealt with many different Tesla vehicles.

Therefore, we can assure you that the steaming or smoking of your Tesla while charging in cool temperatures is a completely normal process. It's proof of the efficient operation of the advanced technology in your vehicle.

Here you can find more Tesla tips.

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