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Transportation Bug

Tesla's Having Issues Charging In the Cold 476

Posted by timothy
from the my-suggestion-is-a-friction-loaded-crank dept.
cartechboy writes "It's winter, and apparently meteorologists have just discovered the term Polar Vortex, as that seems to be the only thing they can talk about these days. But seriously, it's cold, and apparently the darling child of the automotive industry, the new Tesla Model S electric car, is having issues charging in the cold weather. It's being reported that the charging cables that come with the car are unable to provide a charge when the temperature dips below zero. As you can imagine, this is an issue in a country like Norway where the Model S is one of the most popular cars. In fact, it seems this issue has already left one Model S owner stranded with a dead battery nearly 100 miles from the nearest charging station. Other owners are reporting issues charging. Tesla's European sales chief Peter Bardenfleth-Hansen apologized for he inconvenience owners are facing, and said it's 'trying hard to resolve' the issue. Apparently the issues are simply down to the differences in the Norwegian network as Norway uses a slightly different charging adapter than other countries in Europe."
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Tesla's Having Issues Charging In the Cold

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 28, 2014 @02:45PM (#46092769)

    News you don't like is still news.

  • by xlv (125699) on Tuesday January 28, 2014 @02:50PM (#46092835)

    newsflash: batteries generate electricty from stored chemical energy

  • by kaliann (1316559) on Tuesday January 28, 2014 @02:51PM (#46092855)

    Yes, it's related to the cold, but it also appears to be related to the specific issues of Norway's grid.

    Some speculation is that the problem involves too-extreme fluctuations in the electricity provided by that grid and a charger-side software-mediated shutoff of charging. If that's the case, then this might be another charger issue that can be solved with an over-the-air "patch" like some of the previous problems.

    While this is definitely a concern for Tesla and their Norwegian customers, it doesn't seem to be relevant to cars in North America.

  • by Andy Dodd (701) <atd7@co[ ]ll.edu ['rne' in gap]> on Tuesday January 28, 2014 @02:55PM (#46092921) Homepage

    Thing is, a number of people have indicated that they have used third-party cables and those have solved the issue.

  • Re:Meteorologists (Score:4, Interesting)

    by geogob (569250) on Tuesday January 28, 2014 @03:34PM (#46093401)

    Indeed. Working with a meteorology research center that has been studying the polar vortex year after year for many decades, I find that remark in TFS quite out of place.

    News meteorologist are quite fond of playing with hype... Just wait until one "figures out" that there is a link between the polar vortex and the ozone hole *gasp*

  • BS Summary anyway (Score:4, Interesting)

    by DarthVain (724186) on Tuesday January 28, 2014 @03:50PM (#46093563)

    Some example of a guy stuck 100 miles away from a charging station as a result... AWAY.

    If it was a charging issue, then shouldn't he still be at the charging station? If his voltage meter? was indicating the wrong amount, this has nothing to do with the charging station. If it was reading correctly as "low" and he opted to drive 100 miles into the middle of nowhere isn't that the fault of a stupid driver?

    Anyway I think you summarized all the points, but I am still left wondering why (how) that left a man stranded 100 miles from a charging station...

  • by HellCatF6 (1824178) <HellCatF6@gmail.com> on Tuesday January 28, 2014 @04:05PM (#46093761) Homepage

    Here's a must see link for us weather nerds...

    http://earth.nullschool.net/ [nullschool.net]

    make sure to tune into the 10 hPa setting and watch the polar vortex do its thing.

    Thank you supercomputer...

  • by NewWorldDan (899800) <dan@gen-tracker.com> on Tuesday January 28, 2014 @04:30PM (#46094035) Homepage Journal

    Electricity is a funny thing. Had a problem with a piece of electronics that we make. The CPU wouldn't boot up if it was colder than about 20F. It turns out that the CPU has an internal voltage regulator that relies on an external capacitor. My engineer used an electrolytic cap, and at around 20F, the series resistance of the cap exceeded the tolerances of the CPU's voltage regulator and it went into a perpetual brown-out reset. Now, if the chip was up and running, it was happy and kept running, even if it got cold. So it's fixed now, but for some older hardware in the field with the problem, we don't send firmware updates between December and March. That's just one of many bits of stupid we've encountered over the years. In short, every piece of electronics you develop needs to be tested in the most absurd conditions you can find. And even that won't be enough. Never underestimate the creative stupidity of your customers.

  • by PopeRatzo (965947) on Tuesday January 28, 2014 @06:35PM (#46095309) Homepage Journal

    Those of us in the north

    I live in Chicago, Illinois, where the outdoor temperature last night was -15 F. Windchill, -40F.

    I had to promise my car that I'd wax it every weekend this summer if she would just start this morning.

    My wife's car, 10 years newer than mine, did not start at all. Heavy snow followed by deep freeze is hell on internal combustion engines that are not kept in a heated garage overnight. I was sarcastically trying to make the point that suddenly these journalists have discovered that cars don't do well in record cold temperatures, but only the electric ones. I don't feel like reading this press release, but I'll bet the story didn't mention that probably 1/3 of the cars in Chicago couldn't start this morning.

I'd rather just believe that it's done by little elves running around.

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