As record-low winter temperatures chilled a large part of the United States today, many Tesla owners woke up to a cold truth: electric vehicles have trouble in frosty weather.
In Chicago, where today's forecast indicates a -20 to -35 degree wind chill, charging centers for Tesla vehicles are full of cars that will not start, according to reporting from local news.
A software patch by Tesla reportedly fixes the problem, but for many, the approach that works is simply punching the handle until it is free of ice — as shown in some viral videos making the rounds today.
— Semtex Farmhand (@semtexfarmhand_) January 16, 2024
As numerous users expressed their frustrations on social media, critics of Musk and Tesla called out what they saw as a poor design choice, arguing Teslas are made with style rather than functionality in mind and their performance in cold weather is proof of that argument. These users sarcastically praised Musk for his "masterful gambit," a catchphrase and meme that's emerged in recent years as a way to mock the billionaire entrepreneur.
Defenders of Tesla also took to the web, arguing that many modern cars face these kinds of problems in icy conditions and fixes implemented through software by Tesla offer solutions.
How exactly is that a Tesla issue? I’m not sure any modern car would open when covered in 5mm of ice! Especially one with frameless windows. Also, this guy could’ve warmed the car up before he got in, from his phone which would’ve defrosted it. Non-issue for clicks. https://t.co/vbs7DjyIfR
— Tim Oldland (@Tim_Oldland) January 16, 2024
Frustrated drivers continued to post online through the freezing temperatures about their dissatisfaction with wait times at charging stations and the amount of charge batteries hold in the cold.
The charging stations, which local news dubbed "car graveyards" full of "dead robots," reportedly have wait times of several hours.