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Tesla Model 3 Owners Wait About Polar Vortex Impacting Cars



  The Tesla Motors Inc. logo appears on a window in a showroom.

Photographer: David Paul Morris

Next time a polar swirl scratches through the United States, electric vehicle owners should be prepared to get frustrated if they don't take special care of their battery powered rides.

The winter has come for Tesla Inc. and its army of car owners, who swelled in size last year. And some of these customers have chilled on the company along with freezing temperatures.

Model 3 owners have taken to social media and electronic forums for air problems they have had with their sedans because of the frosty weather last week. Cold conditions are a drainage on battery class, regardless of car brand. But other predicaments are special to Tesla.

Ronak Patel, a CPA accountant in New Jersey, bought a model 3 in August last year. He has been driving about 1

50 miles in the cold in recent days. "My biggest concern is that the cold weather drained my battery 20 to 25 miles overnight and an extra five to ten miles on my drive to work," he said. "I paid $ 60,000 not to empty the battery so fast."

Tesla is not alone in meeting this error.

"It is Panasonic that produces Tesla batteries," said Salim Morsy, an analyst with Bloomberg New Energy Finance. "There's nothing specific to Tesla. It happens to Chevy with the Bolt and Nissan with the blade."

Tesla delivered more than 245,000 cars last year, tripled its total from 2017, and much of its growth took place in second half after overcoming what Elon Musk is called "production hell."

"What is specific to Tesla is the quality of production," said Morsy.

Tesla made a decision on door design that comes back to bite some buyers. is flush with the car's exterior and requires customers to push on one side and then pulls the other to open them. Ice makes the maneuver difficult for drivers who have posted photos online of their frozen handles.

Someone is just waiting, and others write to Tesla or Musk himself and ask for a solution.

Andrea Falcone, a software engineer in Boston, tweeted a picture of his frozen handle, commented: "I can't wait all day for this stupid car." Less than two months earlier, she had bought model 3 and posted a smiley emoji and a picture of himself posing with the new car.

The cold temperature came even earlier for customers in Canada, and led up instructional videos suggesting ways to overcome frozen handles. An almost 7-minute YouTube video shows how an owner had taped toothpaste film over the door handles to protect them from freezing.

Another owner in New Brunswick tweeted a video in December. He was more blunt.

On January 25, Musk tweeted that Tesla prepared software updates over the air that would improve how the cars remained in cold weather.

– With the help of Dana Hull


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