A new video shows that the Tesla Model 3 is having trouble even in mildly cold winter weather.
The Tesla Model 3 first started getting delivered last year, but it was mostly sent owners living in perpetually-sunny California. A place that has never really seen snow doesn’t count as somewhere you can test a car for winter driving, so this year is the first true winter that the Model 3 has ever seen. And it’s causing a few problems.
According to Electrek, there are multiple reports from more northerly Tesla owners saying that parts of their car are freezing shut as soon as the temperatures drop below 32 degrees F. Door handles, windows, and even the charging ports are having a tough time when the air turns cold enough to freeze trapped water vapor, causing the hinges to seize.
On the Model 3, the door handles are actually recessed and the passenger mush press then inward in order to make the handle pop out. Then the window automatically lowers just enough for it to no longer be obstructed by the sound-proofing panel on the door. Model 3 owners are saying that both the door handle and window are becoming stuck in freezing temperatures.
To test the reports, Electrek’s editor in chief left his Model 3 outside in the cold and then filmed his attempt to enter the car. It was about -7 degrees C (or 19 degrees F) ambient temperature, and he left his car for 10 minutes to preheat. By the time ten minutes were up, he whipped out his phone and started recording.
Sure enough, the door handles were completely jammed. It took some repeated hammering with his fist just to get them unfrozen, and it seemed like he might have broken at least one of the handles. Even after the handles popped out, the windows refused to budge making it impossible to get inside the car.
It looks like he didn’t have any problems with the charging port at least.
There’s been no word from Tesla on these reports, but a car that only works in California is definitely not a car to rely on in a blizzard.