What to do with your Tesla when going on vacation or storing it for longer periods of time

By Nuno Cristovao

We’ve covered how much to charge your Tesla for everyday use, but when going on vacation or planning to store an electric car we have just a little extra planning to do.

Always keep your Tesla plugged in when going on vacation

The most crucial part of a Tesla is the battery. One advantage Tesla has over the competition is their excellent battery regulation. Batteries in a Tesla last longer when compared to the competition due to Tesla’s excellent battery monitoring.

There are four major contributors that lead to lithium-ion battery degradation, which we would like to minimize. The first two we don’t have much control over, which are the age of the battery and the number of charge cycles (the number of times the battery has been charged and discharged).

However, the last two, we do have control over. Lithium-ion batteries don’t like to remain in a very high, or very low state of charge. That doesn’t mean we should never charge to 100% or use it down to 5%, but it’d be wise to minimize those occurrences. The last thing is the temperature of the battery. For the most part, Tesla handles this automatically. The batteries are heated and cooled to stay in a healthy temperature range without you ever knowing, even if the car is off. The car will also limit power when driving if necessary.

If you’re going on vacation and leaving your car at home or at the airport here are some things to consider.

If you can leave your car plugged in while at home or the airport

  • If you can leave your car charging, then absolutely do this, this will make things much easier and let the car control everything itself without you ever having to worry about it
  • Lithium-ion batteries are best stored at around 50% of charge, so set your charge level in the Tesla app or the car to 50%. The car will automatically use some energy when needed to cool or heat the battery, and it’ll get this power directly from the power source instead of Tesla’s batteries.
  • Keep the car in a garage or under a cover if possible, this will help keep your car away from extreme elements such as snow, ice and heat. In general, this is just good practice.

If you can not leave your car plugged in at home or the airport

  • If you can not leave your car plugged in while going on vacation there are several more things we need to account for to prevent any possible issues longer term.
  • If the weather is extreme, whether it’s extremely cold or hot and you can not park in an isolated area and are going away for more than two weeks, then you may want to consider a different mode of transportation. If the car battery is drained completely, it could lead to battery damage since the car can no longer keep the batteries at an ideal temperature and it’ll no longer be able to protect itself from harsh weather.
  • If you're going to be gone more than a few days, try to have your car charged to 90% as it will consume some energy as it's parked. If you're only leaving for a day or two, then a 70 - 80% charge should be more than fine.
  • Since your car will be unplugged and unable to charge, you can help preserve the battery by turning off Sentry Mode if it won’t be needed as this consumes quite a bit of energy.
  • You will also want to turn off Stand By Mode in the Autopilot menu. Standy By Mode keeps your car's computer on so that you have instant access to features such as Summon. However, it does use additional energy.
  • To further preserve the car's battery, you can turn off Cabin overheat protection, which is used to keep the cabin from overheating. The car attempts to keep the cabin below 105°F.
  • Keep the car away from harsh weather, if it's winter then keeping it in a parking garage and away from wind will help. If it's the dead of summer, then also try to keep it under a covered area in the shade if possible.
  • If you’d like to check in on your car, it will need to have a good cellular connection.
  • Before leaving, confirm that the car has a good connection so that you can check on the battery level if needed. However, do not open up the Tesla app often, as doing so will wake up the car and keep it awake for about 15 minutes, consuming more energy. Only check on the car if you absolutely need to.

Keep in mind the amount of charge you’ll need in your car when heading back home or reaching your first charging destination. If you’re leaving your car plugged in, then you can expect the car to remain at the same charge percentage if there are no power outages. However, if the car is not plugged in, it may have a significantly less charge when you return.

As you can tell, it will be much easier and safer if you’re able to leave your car plugged in while going on vacation, especially if it’s for an extended period of time.

If you plan to store your Tesla for longer periods of time, you should find a place to keep your Tesla plugged in and follow the “if you can leave your car plugged in” tips above.

A Closer Look at Tesla's Ambient Lighting Feature in the New Model 3 and Cybertruck [Video]

By Kevin Armstrong
Tesla introduced a wrap-around ambient lighting strip to its new Model 3
Tesla introduced a wrap-around ambient lighting strip to its new Model 3

If you look up ambient lights for Tesla, you'll see several ads for third-party light kits. Perhaps this is why Tesla added its own Ambient Lights feature to the new Model 3. So, let's get enlightened.

Tesla's ambient lights are thin light strips that are embedded in each of the vehicle's doors near the top edge. It also curves around the dashboard near the windshield, giving passengers a near 360-degree light effect.

Supported Models

Tesla new ambient light feature is available on the new Model 3 (2024+), and will be available on the Cybertruck in a similar manner. With a refresh ongoing for the Model Y, known as Juniper, it will likely also have ambient lights. That just leaves out the most luxurious flagship vehicles, the Model S and X, for now.

The Model S and Model X could be due for a minor refresh that would not only add ambient lighting, but also include a front-bumper camera that the Cybertruck has and the new Model 3 is expected to have in the near future.


Tesla introduced a wrap-around ambient lighting strip to its new Model 3
Tesla introduced a wrap-around ambient lighting strip to its new Model 3

The ambient light settings allow you to light up the interior in a color that reflects your mood or preference. Under Controls > Lights > Accent Lights, you are handed the freedom to choose virtually any color to adorn the interior of your Tesla.

You have control over whether the ambient lights are on, off, or set to an "Auto" setting, though not fully clarified, seems to promise intelligent lighting adjustments akin to our control over dome lights, offering a reduction in reflections during drives.

While the ability to control the brightness level seems missing, Tesla did include color presets, letting you curate a series of your favorite colors.

It should be noted that the changes are confined to the light strips on the doors and dash, steering clear of the footwell lights and other interior lighting.

Future Enhancements

With Tesla, we can be assured there will be enhancements to this feature in a future update. In fact, the Tesla community is already busy coming up with useful suggestions. Some owners thought Tesla should take advantage of the lighting to provide driver feedback, such as automatically changing the ambient lighting to a red hue when there's a vehicle in your blind spot. Tesla could also glow the light strip on a door if it's not closed properly, or use the lighting to provide feedback when Sentry Mode is enabled.

Other uses could be more fun, such as cycling the light through various colors when the 'Rainbow Road' easter egg is activated.

Ambient Lighting in Action

While the possibilities are endless and Tesla engineers will surely have fun coming up with creative uses for the feature, the biggest improvement we can hope for in the near future is the ability to adjust the light intensity.

Tesla Model 3 'Highland' Performance Details Discovered in European Documents

By Kevin Armstrong
Tesla's new Model 3 received a host of exterior and interior upgrades
Tesla's new Model 3 received a host of exterior and interior upgrades

Tesla outdid itself with the refreshed Model 3, known as the Highland. Despite all the fantastic upgrades, something is missing - the Performance version or perhaps the Plaid. The letter "T" has shown up on vehicle certificates in Europe, and despite Elon Musk's sense of humor, it is unlikely this is a Mr. T reference.

Deciphering the 'T'

A new document shows the new Model 3 Performance will have a dual motor
A new document shows the new Model 3 Performance will have a dual motor
eivissacopter / X

Diligent scrutiny of the European Type Certificate, issued by the Dutch vehicle authority RDW and shared on the TFF Forum, revealed a subtle yet pivotal alteration — including the letter 'T' in the eighth digit of the Model 3 Performance's VIN.

This seemingly minor detail, indicative of the vehicle's motor/drive unit type, sparked curiosity and speculation on the forum. Could it be a tri-motor setup to usher in a new Plaid version of the Model 3? This vehicle has already got endless amounts of zip, but three motors? May The Schwartz Be With You!

This could also explain the Model 3+ badging that was spotted during the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) in China inspection of the refresh. However, the regulatory filings highlighted just two distinct variants of the car: a rear-wheel drive (RWD) with a 194 kW motor and an all-wheel drive (AWD) dual-motor setup that combines to deliver a formidable 331 kW of maximum power.

Initial conjectures leaned towards the possibility of a tri-motor setup, drawing parallels with the Plaid variants of the Model S and Model X. However, a deeper dive into the certification document clarified that the Model 3 Performance retained its Dual Motor setup, dispelling the possibility of a tri-motor upgrade.

Strategic Enhancements: A Glimpse into Potential Upgrades

Given the documented specifications, it becomes plausible that Tesla has strategically enhanced one of the dual motors, potentially aligning it with the advanced motor found in the Model S/X Plaid. This modification is poised to augment the top-end speed and acceleration of the Model 3 Performance, addressing its comparative limitations in extended races against traditional gas-powered supercars.

Meanwhile, the Model 3 refresh has become the new Bigfoot of the roads of North America, with rare sightings posted on social media. However, it appears the continent is excluded from the initial launch of the Model 3 Highland. Internal communications within Tesla suggest North American enthusiasts might have to exercise patience until 2024.

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