Tesla does more than just give ICE cars a run for their money. The electric cars in California are equipped with a wide range of features, including automatic climate control.
From self-driving to heated seats and everything in between, Tesla is crawling with advanced tech. One such feature is cabin overheat protection that keeps the interior cool and comfortable. The feature automatically activates when the interior reaches 40˚C. Here are the deets.
What You Should Know
- Elon Musk announced in July that Tesla would be rolling out cabin overheat protection. The software update allows drivers to adjust the Cabin Overheat protection instead of waiting for auto-activation.
- This will be useful in the event of heat waves. Tesla vehicles will automatically activate Cabin Overheat Protection when the interior reaches 40˚C.
- The feature works by activating the climate control system when sensors detect that the interior is hot. This may happen if the car is directly parked in sunlight or if the outside temperature is high.
- A software update will allow drivers to adjust cabin overheat protection based on their comfort levels.
- The electric car’s battery will power Cabin Overheat Protection. It is primed to work for 12 hours or until the battery dips under 20%.
- Note that Cabin Overheat Protection is no excuse to leave children or pets in the EV.
Do All Teslas Have Cabin Overheat Protection?
- All Tesla cars, including Model X, S, 3, and Y, have Cabin Overheat Protection. You do not need Tesla’s Premium Connectivity to receive the update.
- The feature is entirely free to use. You can control Cabin Overheat Protection from the Tesla app as well.
- Note that the air conditioner will also cool the car’s battery. The air conditioner will turn on even if you deactivate Cabin Overheat Protection.
- Don’t worry, though; the air conditioner will ensure that the battery is at a healthy temperature range. This is important for the longevity of your car’s battery.
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How Will Cabin Overheat Protection Affect My Range?
- Cabin overheat protection will use power from your battery. This is not unlike ICE cars that power the air conditioner using gas.
- However, it’s not as bad as some people think. Cabin overheat protection will not lower your range by 50% – that’s absurd.
- You can expect to lose about 15% to 17% of the driving range when the feature is being used. You’ll drain more power if the temperature difference between the air and the cabin is high.
- This is for worse-case scenarios only.
- For perspective, gasoline cars will lose 25% of power when using climate control. This makes electric cars in California more effective.
- Tesla claims that Model S cars only lose 1% of range when using the AC at 35°C.
- Note that Cabin Overheat Protection is the least of your concerns when it comes to range. A Tesla is likelier to lose range due to drag and air friction at high speeds.
- If you are traveling at speeds above 60mph, you might want to turn off Cabin Overheat Protection.
The table below provides a rough idea of the power used with Cabin Overheat Protection.
|Ambient Temp (°C)||Desired Cabin Temp (°C)||Temperature Difference (°C)||Power Usage (kW)|
- The lower the difference between ambient temperature and cabin temperature, the lower your energy usage.
- The effect gets worse in extreme heat and cold. In this case, Cabin Overheat Protection could reduce the range by up to 40%.
Here are a few things you can do to increase your car’s driving range:
- Disable Cabin Overheat Protection
- Drive at a lower average speed
- Keep your battery charged (at about 80%)
Pro-tip for fogging: Direct face-level vents in the direction of the windows to defrost them.
How to Disable Climate Overheat Protection
Don’t want to use Climate Overheat Protection? Disabling the feature is relatively easy.
Here’s how Model 3 owners can disable Climate Overheat Protection.
- Tap Controls
- Go into Safety
- Navigate to Cabin Overheat Protection
- Hit Off to disable Cabin Overheat Protection
You can also opt for the No A/C option. Only the fan will operate in this setting when the interior temperatures soar past 40°C.
This option uses less energy but may not be enough to regulate the temperature.
Pro tip: Bothered by the climate control system because it’s too loud? You can always reduce the fan’s speed. This will help out with any noise problems.
Can I Leave Pets or Children Unattended in the Tesla?
Cabin Overheat Protection does not give owners a free pass to leave children or pets unattended. Tesla makes this very clear and provides plenty of disclaimers to this effect.
This is because extreme heat and automatic shut-off can make the interiors dangerously hot. Cabin Overheat Protection may not be enough to cool the interiors.
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How Does Tesla Use HVAC?
- Tesla engineers had to re-engineer climate control to power their HVAC system. This is because Teslas do not use an ICE to power the air conditioner.
- Tesla has to use different technology for cabin overheat protection. This is done by placing an AC compressor at the front of the Tesla.
- The AC then draws power from the Energy Storage System (ESS). The ESS is located in the back of the car.
- The compressor uses 400 volts to route refrigerant to a chilling unit. Cool air is then circulated through vents into the cabin.
- The process is not dissimilar to an ICE vehicle. The heating system is more complicated. Cars with an IC engine draw heat from the coolant.
- This system does not exist in Tesla. EV makers have to use an independent electric heater. These heaters draw too much power.
- Engineers had to get creative with heater design so it didn’t drain too much power. Note that activating the cabin overheat protection will affect the performance.
Cabin Overheat Protection isn’t Possible without a Compressor
- Cabin overheat protection won’t work without a compressor. The compressor plays a significant role in climate control and air conditioning
- It performs two primary tasks that are important for improving the cabin temperature. The first is that it increases the refrigerant’s pressure.
- This will increase the refrigerant’s temperature and allow heat transfer. The compressor also reduces air pressure inside the evaporator.
- This low pressure creates the perfect conditions for the refrigerant to vaporize and boil. This allows for vast amounts of energy transfer within the cabin.
- The compressor mixes refrigerant and compressor oil by circulating them through the air conditioner.
- Cabin Overheat Protection will not cool the cabin unless the compressor works properly. Tesla compressors are connected by an inlet line and an outlet line.
- The inlet line receives gas from the evaporator. The gas has low pressure and temperature. The outlet line dumps the refrigerant into the condenser.
- The refrigerant has high pressure and temperature. Climate control sensors in Tesla HVAC systems can detect the cabin’s temperature
- These sensors can reduce power to the compressor when the desired temperature is achieved. This will prevent the compressor from running needlessly and drain energy from the battery.
The Temperature Sensor in Cabin Overheat Protection
Tesla is outfitted with two temperature sensors. The first sensor detects the cabin’s temperature. The second is for detecting the ambient air temperature.
Tesla cars also use infrared rays to detect the temperature of passengers. Together, these sensors keep the Tesla’s cabin at a comfortable temperature.
The sensors also improve the performance of their air conditioner. Furthermore, Tesla electric cars in California have efficient air conditioners. They will save motorists money in the long run.
Tesla’s Preferred Refrigerant
- Tesla cars are designed to minimize the environmental impact of transport systems. This doesn’t mean that Tesla cars are picture-perfect.
- They use a compound called HFC 134a – a notorious greenhouse gas. Environmentalists have criticized Tesla for using this greenhouse gas.
- HFC 134a gets a bad rep because it can trap 1400 times more heat than CO2. Tesla can use environmentally friendly alternatives, but they are expensive.
- Tesla is already facing supply chain issues and doesn’t want another complication to deal with. In any case, the refrigerant is a significant concern because it slowly leaks into the air.
- A climate-safe option is to use HFO 1234yf. The only problem is that it requires more energy – up to 10% more.
- This is a problem with Tesla cars, where the range has always been a hot-button talking point.
Dog Mode: An Extension of Cabin Overheat Protection
- Dog Mode is very similar to cabin overheat protection. It was added when a Tesla owner requested the feature for their pet.
- Dog Mode lets you step out of the can to run errands while your furry companion sits tight. It uses both heating and cooling to maintain a set temperature.
- Dog Mode was added after Cabin Overheat Protection was introduced in 2018. It uses the same sensors to keep the cabin at the desired temperature.
- When activated, Tesla displays a message on the screen informing bystanders that your pet is safe. The message will be displayed in large letters for maximum visibility.
Here’s what the message reads,
“My driver will be back soon
The heater is on and it’s
- Dog Mode does not give you the excuse to leave your pet alone in the car. Most states allow you to keep your pet unattended in a Tesla.
- However, there is a bevy of local laws and regulations surrounding the issue. There are restrictions on leaving your pet in the Tesla on a hot or cold day.
- Animal protection laws exist to protect pets from extreme temperatures and owner negligence. The only problem is that the rules haven’t caught up with technology.
- Most laws are well-meaning, but they may be too outdated. This means there are certain situations where leaving your pet in a Tesla (with Dog Mode) could get you in trouble.
- Most people will quickly judge you for leaving your pet alone in a Tesla. Not everyone will check the touchscreen to learn that Dog Mode is active.
- In other words, someone may smash your Tesla’s window to save your pet. This well-meaning attempt at rescue could be done by another resident or law enforcement personnel.
- People are touchy about pets, after all!
- Note that your Tesla only lets you activate Dog Mode if the charge level is above 20%. This ensures enough charge to keep your pet comfortable while you complete your errand.
- Once the battery reaches 20%, Tesla will send you an alert that your battery is low. You will be asked to return to the car to keep your pet safe.
- Note that Dog Mode will stay active for as long as the battery has juice. This is to ensure the safety of your pet.
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Activating Dog Mode
To activate Dog Mode, you must be inside the Tesla.
Click on the fan icon in the navigation bar. This will toggle the HVAC screen. At the top right corner, you will see various modes such as On, Dog, and Camp.
Touch Dog to activate Dog Mode when you leave the Tesla. Set your desired temperature and you’re good to go.
Deactivating Dog Mode
Dog Mode will automatically turn off once you return to the Tesla and start driving. Dog Mode will stay on if you return for a few minutes, perhaps to fetch something.
This great feature shows how advanced electric cars in California are. You don’t need to have the engine on to power the air conditioner.
Just make sure to use the feature with caution. Don’t leave your pet in the car unattended for too long. Dog Mode is good – but it’s not that good.
So there you have it – an in-depth look at Cabin Overheat Protection in Teslas. The feature makes your Tesla all the safer and more comfortable.
It’s helpful during heat waves and keeps the driver at a comfortable temperature. However, you may disable the feature if you want to save energy.
Have you used cabin overheat protection in the past? If so, how has the feature affected your Tesla’s range? Don’t forget to share your experience with us!
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My name is Matthew, staying in Seattle, Washington. Electric Vehicles (Electric Cars & Electric bikes) caught my attention for the last few years and my love for electric cars and bikes is everlasting. I spend many of my weekends traveling to various places all over various cities with my electric vehicle (e-bike and electric car). Here I am sharing my expertise, experience, and invaluable information about electric cars and electric bikes. Check out more.