Tesla owners say EV batteries won’t charge as brutally cold temperatures hit Chicago

In the face of freezing temperatures and bitter cold sweeping through Chicago, Tesla owners find themselves grappling with a unique set of challenges when it comes to charging their electric vehicles. Stranded in the frigid weather, some Tesla users have experienced dead batteries and a scarcity of operational charging stations, prompting urgent solutions to address these issues.

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Tesla acknowledges that their vehicles exhibit heightened energy consumption in cold weather due to the necessity to heat the cabin and battery. As temperatures in Chicago plummet, the demand for energy to counteract the cold intensifies, contributing to a surge in energy consumption.

To alert drivers of potential issues related to cold weather, Tesla has incorporated a blue snowflake icon that may appear on the vehicle’s touchscreen and app. This indicator signals that the battery might be too cold for optimal performance, leading to reduced regenerative braking and acceleration. Once the battery reaches an optimal temperature, the snowflake disappears.

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Tesla advises owners to keep their vehicles plugged in whenever possible, especially during extreme weather conditions. Maintaining the charge level above 20% while the car is not plugged in helps mitigate the impact of cold temperatures on the battery.

Tesla emphasizes the importance of proactive measures to warm the vehicle’s battery. Charging the vehicle, engaging in short drives, and using the preconditioning feature are recommended strategies to ensure optimal performance in cold weather.

Reports from Evergreen Park, a suburb of Chicago, indicate that some Tesla owners were left stranded with dead batteries and insufficient working charging stations. Instances of cars being towed after running out of battery underscore the severity of the situation.


In Oak Brook, another Chicago suburb, drivers faced prolonged waits of up to six hours over two days at charging stations, only to find their Teslas still devoid of charge. Some vehicles even succumbed to battery depletion while waiting, exacerbating the challenges faced by Tesla owners in cold climates.

To circumvent issues arising from cold weather, Tesla owners are advised to make use of the preconditioning feature. This involves warming the vehicle’s battery before starting a journey, ensuring optimal performance and minimizing energy drain during the trip.

Given the increased demand for charging during extreme weather conditions, strategic planning becomes crucial. Tesla users are encouraged to plan their charging sessions in advance, considering factors such as temperature, charging station availability, and charging time to avoid inconveniences.

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