Tesla can idle for three days with the heat on (shown)

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The question is how long an EV can run the heater while idling. Multiple occurrences including long waited traffic jams have aroused such questions in the users' minds.

For Tesla, almost all models are capable of running the heater for about two days in idle mode.

Some of the models can even take that to three days.

To find out how a Tesla would fare in a snowy traffic jam that lasts for a day, we have tested with our own Tesla Model Y.

What’s our find? This article is what it is all about-

Tesla with the heater on

Why we are doing the experiment?

Everyone knows that the battery capacity of electric vehicles drops at low temperatures.

Fossil fuel-powered vehicles do lose some capacity, but the percentage is always higher with battery-powered vehicles.

Therefore, finding out how long an electric vehicle can stay in a climate-controlled environment while idling becomes necessary.

Our experiment

We have fully charged our Model Y which has a battery capacity of 75kWh. When we started the experiment, the temperature recorded on the Tesla app was -3°C.

We turned the heater and camp mode on and decided to check the battery condition after every 6 hours. 

Here is our result-


Battery percentage

After the first 6 hours

100% to 87%

After 12 hours

87% to 69%

After 18 hours

69% to 58%

After 24 hours

58% to 41%

With the remaining amount of charge, we believe the car will be able to survive for one more day.

Therefore, it is worth saying that a Tesla can run the heater for about two days continuously with the camp mode on.

The truth about gas vehicle

Gas vehicles might lose capacity at a slower rate compared to electric vehicles, but they are not altogether out of vulnerability.

Depending on the situation one is driving a fossil-fueled vehicle; the mileage can drop up to 30%.

This would be anywhere near 40% for EV and hybrid vehicles.

Hybrid tends to perform the worst. The presence of fuel and electricity simultaneously makes the situation a little complicated.

It is evident that Hybrids drop mileage more than any other vehicle while driving in winter conditions.

To know more about Tesla's climate control feature, check this extract written on Tesla climate control.

Can EVs survive in a long traffic jam during winter

The higher drop rate of mileage has raised a question regarding whether EVs will be able to survive during long traffic or will they make the situation worse?

Talking about Tesla particularly, almost all of the Tesla models have the capacity to survive 50 hours to 72 hours even in heavy winter conditions.

Other manufacturers like Hyundai and Nissan will also go near 30+ hours. 

The question is whether a driver is going out with enough mileage on the battery or not.

Having less mileage on the battery and getting stuck in traffic can cause a nightmare for an EV user, especially in long traffic that lasts for more than 6 hours.

Tesla vs. other electric vehicles

Staying alive in a climate-controlled environment for a really long time needs to have a better efficient battery pack.

Tesla seems to be providing such powerful battery packs to all of the models.

Therefore, even by getting stuck in the famous Virginia traffic jam, many Tesla users have latterly claimed that their Teslas have been fair enough during that long jam.

But how other EVs would perform in that situation? Well, it is recommended not to go out with EVs unless you have enough mileage and battery capacity during the rough winter.

An average of 30+ hours of survival capacity in a climate-controlled environment may not be enough to get you out if the situation turns worse.

Fuel or battery: which one is better for winter survival?

Some of the specific electric vehicles may overturn the condition when it comes to surviving in a harsh temperature, but fossil-fueled hydraulic vehicles still do the best on a larger scale.

While our Tesla Model Y could survive two days by nearly losing 60% of the battery capacity, a gas-powered vehicle could do that by losing nearly 50% of the efficiency.

Electric vehicles are good for specific route tours during summer or average winter conditions.

Unless you have a Tesla, fossil-fueled vehicles still provide the best winter support.

Heating and keeping the environment warm requires a good percentage of the battery capacity to be consumed.

Tesla is doing great with its powerful electric vehicles in terms of controlling the environment.

With more powerful battery packs, Tesla probably will thrive in near future. 

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