How To Precondition Your Tesla

Preconditioning can be a major range-saver. Here’s what it can save you, and how Tesla owners can set up their cars to reap these benefits.
Written by Alex Reale
Reviewed by Kathleen Flear
Jun 25, 2022
Extreme temperatures
are good for no one, even cars. Whether your vehicle is gas-powered or electric, it’s a good idea to have some best practices in mind when the weather hits three or negative digits. 
For EV owners, preconditioning can be a smart move. We’ll focus here on
Tesla
owners—but first, what is preconditioning, and what are the benefits? 

What is preconditioning?

A lot of electric vehicle technology has a gloss of impenetrability about it. How does the car stay so quiet? How does any of this work without combustion? To those with regular old gas-powered cars, the landscape can look complicated.
Preconditioning, however, is an easy instance of common sense. Preconditioning is exactly what it sounds like: before you get in the car, while your EV is still plugged into its power source, you alter the temperature of the interior so that it’s pleasantly warm. 
This isn’t just for your own enjoyment. It’s to optimize your range. If the car’s interior is too hot or too cold, you’ll be using the climate controls more, notes
GM Today
, which means that you’ll be using up precious battery resources to avoid getting frostbite in your driver’s seat—and that destination down the highway may start looking more remote.

Range improvements

Though this is a hot weather issue too, it’s in cold weather that you’ll really reap the preconditioning benefits, as heating a car is much more energy expensive than cooling one. 
GM Today reports that a fully charged EV battery in a car that has not been preconditioned may go a full 30-50% fewer miles when the weather drops below 20 degrees. When preconditioned, those numbers shift to 10%-30%. Any Buffalo residents can rejoice in this reduction in range loss.
And for those who are battling Miami temperatures, GM Today says you’ll get a lift from preconditioning too: at 95 degrees you might see a loss in range of 25-30% without pressing the precondition button on your EV. Pressing the button means looking at a 15-20% loss. It might be worth keeping the car plugged in just a little longer.

The preconditioning process for Teslas

Tesla owners: here’s how preconditioning works in your vehicle. 
Filed under “cold weather tips” on their site, Tesla suggests using the “scheduled departure” feature, as well as the app. The scheduled departure feature lets you set a time you plan to leave the house, for which the car will then prepare accordingly by preconditioning the interior and battery. Go to your Climate Controls settings, then turn on Preconditioning, then select “Schedule” to tell the car what time you want to leave each day. 
Tesla notes that using this setting helps conserve energy across the board, because a set time means keeping power at a minimum until necessary—no humming in the background just in case someone feels like going for a drive. And you can do the same in the app: just tap “Climate” and then “Turn On.” Nothing like a few simple button pushes to make sure you get all the way over the river and through the woods. Grandmother will be so pleased.
Need to cut car insurance costs? Keep the coverage and find the savings with
Jerry
. The
car ownership super app
saves users an average of over $800 a year.
icon
Compare Car Insurance Quotes For Free
Jerry automatically shops for your insurance before every renewal. Members save $872/year.
rating primary
4.7/5
Rating on App Store
Start saving money!
12,000+ Reviews
Trusted by 3.5M car owners like you
National General
Allstate
AAA
Aig
Chubb
ClearCover
CSE
Dairyland
DirectAuto
Elephant Auto Insurance
Kemper
Libertymutual
Gainsco
Mapfre
Mercury Auto
Metromile
Nationwide
Plymouth Rock
Progressive
State Auto
Safeco
Travelers
Metlife
Bristol West
National General
Allstate
AAA
Aig
Chubb
ClearCover
CSE
Dairyland
DirectAuto
Elephant Auto Insurance
Kemper
Libertymutual
Gainsco
Mapfre
Mercury Auto
Metromile
Nationwide
Plymouth Rock
Progressive
State Auto
Safeco
Travelers
Metlife
Bristol West

You might also be interested

Easiest way to compare and buy car insurance

√
No long forms
√
No spam or unwanted phone calls
√
Quotes from top insurance companies
Find insurance savings — it's 100% free