Is a Tesla more efficient in Summer? Yes but it’s a two edged sword.

The climate in the southern half of Western Australia is near perfect for a Tesla, warm and dry most of the time and winters where the temperature only drops below 5C for a few hours on the occasionally early morning, if you enjoy getting good Wh/km efficiency WA is the place to achieve it.

On the downside is the long hot summer of constant intense sunlight and high temperatures, this doesn’t generally harm the Wh/km figures recorded during longer drives but does put a serious dent in efficiency for those driving short (less than 15km) trips after being parked in an exposed area for even a short period during the day. Every time you drive off in a car with a hot interior the aircon is working hard to reduce the temperature, depending on conditions that could take anything from 10 to 30kms.

Teslas have an excellent feature known as cabin overheat protection, even on a 30C day this will consume up to 4% of the battery over 9 hours, personally I’ll happily accept a 4% loss each day over Summer but anyone who is not is free to turn cabin overheat protection off. Of course if car park designers who have a fetish for destroying trees allocated funds for solar panel canopies car parks wouldn’t be so hot.

So are all these hot Summer days killing your range?
Not really, it’s consuming far more energy between each charge but as this is caused by short drives and long parking sessions it’s not relevant unless you’re buying expensive electricity. Range is only a factor on very long drives away from reliable fast charging. When you go on a long drive the heat will have little effect on your Wh/km efficiency (it helps if you pre-cool the interior while plugged into shore power before departure).

Hot tips for a cool interior
Try to park in the shade even if it’s a 200 metre walk to your destination.
Get interior shades up, especially over the black dashboard.
Pre-cool the interior using the phone app about 5 minutes before arriving at your car.
If only parking for 45 minutes or less put the car in “keep” mode, this leaves the air-conditioner on and does not use any more energy than letting the car heat up then cooling it down again.

Supercharger tips

The most recent Tesla Superchargers in Karrinyup, Williams and Margaret River are V3, the 2017 built Eaton Superchargers are V2. Those who’ve charged at Eaton will have noticed each charging stall has two cables, the second cable is a retrofitted CCS2, that’s the one 99.9% of WA Tesla owners will use. V3 chargers are vastly superior as each stall is capable of delivering up to 250kw depending on the vehicle battery type and size, starting percentage and battery temperature. The V2 stalls at Eaton have a maximum output of 145kw for each pair of stalls (1A&B, 2A&B, 3A&B), meaning if you plug into stall 1B not long after a car has plugged into 1A your initial charging speed will be very slow. The trick is to avoid parking next to another car if possible. The slower charging speeds at Eaton are only a nuisance on busy Saturday mornings on a long weekend. To get the best charging speed set navigate to the Supercharger and the car will automatically preheat the battery pack before arrival, on cool days this makes a significant difference to the starting charge rate. A second tip for the fastest charge rate is to arrive with approximately 10% range and depart with 60-80% depending on the distance to the next chargers. Arriving with only 10% is advice I would never give with any other type of charge point in Australia, the fact is Tesla Superchargers are vastly more reliable than any other DC chargers in this country.

Eaton Supercharger cables.

Why not charge to 100%?

Basically 80 to 100% takes longer than charging from 10 to 60%, wasting time defeats the main purpose of a Supercharger. Be aware that when a Supercharger gets busy charging may get limited to 80%, the phone app will provide a notification, if charging past 80% is absolutely necessary it can be overridden. You can read more here: Charging to 100% is a waste of time.

Don’t overstay you visit- Once your car has completed charging you have 5 minutes grace to move the car, failure to do so will result in a backdated per minute surcharge added to your Supercharger account, as the phone app will pre warn you there’s no excuse.