[Canada] undecided between Tesla M3 SR+ and Kona Electric Preferred

Discussion in 'Model 3' started by jedi2b, May 8, 2019.

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  1. jedi2b

    jedi2b New Member

    I'm on the fence between the Kona preferred and the Tesla M3 SR+.

    I understand that for many, the model 3 is the best thing that happened to humanity in a long time, but... the car seems to be designed and built for Californians.

    Let me explain.

    It looks like, understandably, Tesla decided to cut some corners with the M3. Unfortunately for us Canadians, the corners cut include:
    -no battery heater (it uses a bizarre heat recovery mechanism from the engine, that sounds more like a hack than otherwise)
    -no heat pump

    Winter range loss is important to me because I only plan to charge at home. I only use the car for 60km commutes and many short trips around town. No need or use for public charge stations, except maybe the once in a bluemoon 200km trip.

    I watched dozens of M3 and Kona videos on youtube, trying to find out how much range is lost during winter with these two cars. I focused on videos showing highway driving at 100+ km/hr, heater on, normal driving at around -15C (which is the average of the coldest days where I live)
    Here are my unscientific estimates:
    -Model 3 range loss = 38%
    -Kona range loss = 22%

    if you have better estimations, please share!

    why are these numbers important? well, the problem is a combination of factors. Take the M3 SR+ for example, it has a theoretical range of 386 km.
    Problem is, even Tesla recommends, for daily use, to use around 60% of the battery capacity. From 90% full to 30% full (YMMV as Tesla forums and even Tesla officials seem undecided when it comes to get this kind of info)
    -So if we should target using 60% of the battery capacity, the 386km range get'S reduced to 231km.
    -Now, if we are talking winter, as per the range loss above, the 231km range will get reduced to around 144km.

    In other words, with a M3 SR+, in Canadian winter (-10 C to -20C), I should plan for a max range of 144km between charges...

    now take the Kona, same calculations:
    -base range 415km.
    -let's assume a similar capacity use of 90% to 30% as the M3 (Even if I was unable to find any guidance regarding Hyundai batteries online). that gives a range of 249km
    -as per above, winter range could be reduced by 22%, so it provides a winter range of about 194km

    In other words, with a Kona, in Canadian winter (-10 C to -20C), I should plan for a max range of 194km between charges...

    now add to this that:
    -model 3 SR+ would cost me 10.000 CAD more after all is said and done, compared to the Kona preferred
    -I, for one, don't care if the car can accelerate to 100km/hr in 5 seconds or 8
    -I live in Quebec, pothole republic, and I'm concerned that the more sporty M3 suspension will make me hate the idea of taking the car to the road
    -I don't care much for autopilot, but in any case the Kona comes with adaptive cruise control and lane keep assist. Adaptive cruise control would be enough for me, either on Kona or Model 3.

    I'm trying to convince the conscious part of my brain that the Tesla is the good choice, but i'm failing.

    Please help me!
    Anna_St likes this.
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  3. marshall

    marshall Well-Known Member

    Well not every Canadian lives in Quebec's climate. Yes, some Canadians do live where the winters are much milder like Vancouver and Victoria?

    Anyhow, you never stated why you wanted a Tesla, safety, fun, OTA updates, etc.

    Plus, you never said that you have driven a Tesla. Can't you rent one for the day on Turo? That would certainly answer your pothole question. Would renting one for the day fill the urge?
  4. brulaz

    brulaz Active Member

    Rather than a bizarre hack, the use of the motor to provide heat is considered by some to be a smart move.
    While moving and when necessary, it transfers excess motor heat to the batteries.
    So, more efficient and eliminating an extra heating component.
    It also works when stationary and plugged in to preheat the batteries.
    Last edited: May 8, 2019
  5. brulaz

    brulaz Active Member

    Many of the winter estimates I've seen online depend upon factors such as preheating or not, ambient and cabin temperature.
    Overall, I've seen everything from 25 to 45% range loss at temperatures from -10 to -29C for all BEVS.
    There's so much variability I find it very hard to make such a distinction between brands.
  6. brulaz

    brulaz Active Member

    As I understand it, the Kona's heat pump only applies to cabin heating. Battery, seats, steering wheel heat are all resistive heating.
    And I'm not sure how effective air-liquid heat pumps are at very low, below-freezing, temperatures?
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  8. marshall

    marshall Well-Known Member

    It least one Leaf own says they work well enough in a New England climate and recommends the Leaf SV with a heat pump over the Leaf S or SL.

    Plus, not everyday is going to be below freezing, especially daytime temperatures. There should be plenty of spring, summer and fall where a heat pump will work quite well even in Quebec.

  9. brulaz

    brulaz Active Member

    True, but I think the OP is most concerned about range limitations in the depth of winter. I know we are.

    Not only is the battery capacity reduced at these low temps but it has to be heated to over 0C to even charge it, and the cabin/occupants have to be warmed, and charging times can be greatly reduced, especially when the battery is cold. All in all a difficult time for any BEV.

    I would love to see a side-by-side winter field comparison of the current crop of longer range BEVs.
  10. jedi2b

    jedi2b New Member

    We prefer to ignore the mild winters they get in BC, out of pure envy.

    I'm considering a Tesla as I want a full EV (currently have a Volt). My top requirements are comfort, economy and reliability. The high tech stuff doesn't hurt but not a deciding factor.

    I have tested a Kona but not the M3. Good advice. I wonder if the Montreal Tesla dealership provides test drives. I'll try that.
  11. jedi2b

    jedi2b New Member

    The reason I called it a bizarre hack is this piece of info I stumbled upon in a Tesla forum.

    "Model 3 uses the motor itself to generate heat for the battery. The inverter sends an inefficient wave form to the motor that generates up to 4 kW (13,600 BTU) worth of heat and sends that to the battery pack via the coolant loop. The Model 3's BMS can vary the amount of heat that it generates. You can see how much heat is being produced on the power bar below the speedometer - it will show some power being used even though you're stopped.

    The heating process is what it is and there is no way to speed it up or pre-condition it beyond what the BMS wants to do."

    the "sends an inefficient wave form to the motor" part got me worried. I wonder how that would affect the motor in the long term.
    Additionally, I can't understand how this system could work while stationary.

    As for efficacy of this method, I dunno, lots of people complaining of the reduction of regen and slow charge in cold weather, which leads me to think whatever heating this method generates is not sufficient to allow full regen nor fast charge.

    This is among my top deciding factors right now, if you have any extra information I would greatly appreciate it.
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  13. Pushmi-Pullyu

    Pushmi-Pullyu Well-Known Member

    I wouldn't try to "sell" you on one car or the other. What is important is that you be an informed buyer and that you buy the car which is best for you. Clearly, from what you've posted, you're doing your homework, so you will be a well-informed buyer. So that's great!

    The Model 3's lack of a built-in battery heater isn't the bad thing you think it is. Automotive teardown expert Sandy Munro is full of praise about Tesla putting in a mode that causes the motor to generate heat, which eliminates the need for a separate resistive heater. Sandy says that's a more efficient use of energy, and I rather suspect he knows what he's talking about there.

    On the other hand, if the Kona has a heat pump, it might well do better in winter driving conditions than the Model 3.

    Re range: The Kona is EPA rated at 258 miles. The SR+ Tesla Model 3 is rated at 240 miles.

    How much range do you need? Well, that's obviously a matter of opinion and individual need. What is your daily driving distance? And how much of a safety margin do you need over and above that, to account for the drop in range on bitterly cold days? My usual rule of thumb is that the EPA range should be at least 40% above what your expected daily driving range is. But as far north as you live, 40% safety margin may not be enough; you may need 50% more.

    Now, regarding your 90%-30% charge/discharge strategy, I don't think that's the best plan. It's best, for long battery life, to balance around 50%, so 80%-20% would be a better target. That said, Tesla has recently said it's okay to charge to 90% on a daily basis, because they have found their battery packs hold up so well over time. But if you want to play it safe, then stick to the conventional wisdom of an 80%/20% charge/discharge strategy. Of course, if the weather forecast is for an exceptionally cold night, you will likely be better off charging to 90% that night, or even to 100% if it's only done occasionally.

    Disclaimer: This advice is based on my extensive reading about EVs, not from personal experience. So if someone is speaking from personal experience, then you should listen to them rather than me!

  14. Pushmi-Pullyu

    Pushmi-Pullyu Well-Known Member

    It's deliberately inefficient in that mode of operation; that's how it's engineered. Inefficient means it generates waste heat, which is precisely what is needed in this situation. Don't make the mistake of thinking that shows poor engineering.

    How can it generate heat when the motor isn't turning? Well I'm no electrical engineer, but as I understand it, the motor's magnetic fields can rotate even when the motor isn't turning, so presumably that's how it generates heat even when the car is stationary.

    Re slow charge in cold weather: Well, that's going to be true for every BEV. The battery pack has to be heated above freezing for safe charging, so some of the power from the wall is going to go to that rather than to charging the car.

    That said, you had a valid point in your OP about Tesla cars being engineered by a bunch of Californians who probably think that anything below 40° F is "very cold weather". ;) So if people are reporting that the Kona is more efficient in charging and operating during sub-freezing weather, then I'd listen to them!

  15. brulaz

    brulaz Active Member

    Like P-P says, and AFAIK, the issues of slow charge and reduction of regen in the cold are issues with all BEVS. Batteries simply can't handle as much current when cold (and especially below 0C), so they have to be heated, and charging either by regen or when stationary is slower in the winter. And there were many more SR+ out there than Konas last winter so these issues would be more thoroughly discussed with the SR+

    Also I think I read in Electrek or somewhere that the motor heating method can generate as much as 4000W of heat but varies according to temperature. Apparently this is similar to the resistive heaters in similar sized battery packs, so it should be able to handle the battery heating chores of an SR+.
    Last edited: May 9, 2019
  16. jedi2b

    jedi2b New Member

    well, after the comments on insurance costs, I did a brief simulation with Belairdirect

    I was surprised

    Tesla M3 SR+ would cost me from 640$ to 780$ a year (780 if car is replaced by a new one after a major accident)
    Kona preferred would cost me 510$ to 615$ a year (again, 615 with car replacement)

    While there is a difference between the two is way smaller that I thought it was going to be. I saw people complaining about 2000$ insurance policies for M3 and that got me worried.

    So insurance is not a deciding factor (at least in my case)
  17. jedi2b

    jedi2b New Member

    Thanks for your comments. I'm slowly becoming less illiterate thanks to forums like this.

    I did some extra youtube-research to try to evaluate the efficiency of the no-battery-heater, uses-residual-heat-motor approach of the model 3, compared to other cars with battery heaters.

    This video has a ton of backing info, and compares the average range loss of ALL Tesla Models (all come with battery heaters except the M3, I think) with Model 3 (no heater).
    (jump to 4:30 if impatient)

    While the M3 system works, it is shown that it's less optimal in terms of range degradation, overall, than having a dedicated battery heater.

    In terms of numbers, all-Tesla-models-combined-average has a loss of 0.6% of range for each degree temperature goes down
    In contrast, the model 3 suffers a 0.8% loss of range for each degree temperature goes down.

    and this is skewed by the fact that the all-Tesla-models-combined number includes also the model 3's.
    I would suggest it's reasonable to say that model 3 approach is half as efficient, in terms of range loss, compared to other Tesla models

    And this is still after the fact most (All?) Tesla models other than 3, have a 6kw battery heater, vs a 4kw consumption for battery heating on the M3.
    In other words, using a dedicated battery heater, even while spending 50% more energy than a M3 (6kw vs 4kw) the other models are almost twice as efficient than the M3.

    This less than optimal heating efficience on the model 3 approach would also explain why, in some videos I watched, with VERY cold temperatures (sub -15C C), even the pre-warmig while stationary approach does not prevent the dreaded snowflake icon on the tesla model 3.

    This looks obviously as an engineering compromise, which i'm totally fine with (they need to make the car cheaper than a model X somehow), but I wish they had the heater as an option, as some other makers do.

    I hope the model Y will have more options for weather challenged people like me.
    Last edited: May 9, 2019
    Anna_St and brulaz like this.
  18. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web Well-Known Member Subscriber

    In the Southeast USA, CCS chargers are significantly, 2-3x, more expensive than SuperCharger miles. It only becomes important on a vacation or cross country trip.

    Bob Wilson
  19. jedi2b

    jedi2b New Member

    North of the border:
    Here in Quebec, using public CCS costs 10 CAD per hour (50kw chargers). The Kona supposedly need 75 minutes to charge to 80%. so about 12 CAD
    Superchargers are 0.22 CAD per minute. The Tesla M3 SR+ supposedly needs 35 minutes or so, so it'S 7.30 CAD

    So here too, public fast chargers are about twice as expensive as superchargers

    Slowchargers (level 2) are another story, about 1 CAD per hour. So about 8-9 CAD to fully recharge overnight.

    In other words, costs as much to fastcharge a TM3SR+ as to slowcharge a Kona.

    Important if moving often beyond range.
    Last edited: May 9, 2019
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  20. Pushmi-Pullyu

    Pushmi-Pullyu Well-Known Member

    That is correct. All Tesla cars except the Model 3 have dedicated resistive battery heaters which use electrical power to generate heat inside the battery pack.

    Thank you for providing some hard data on that. Altho I'm disappointed, I can't say I'm actually surprised, with some reports of as much as 40-50% loss of range in the Tesla Model 3, during the so-called "polar vortex" cold snap in the USA last winter. I thought that was a greater loss than BEVs usually experience, altho until I read the data you report here, I had tentatively dismissed it as an outlier figure from a record-setting period of unusually cold weather.

    I was surprised to see Sandy Munro claim that the Model 3's approach to battery heating was actually very energy-efficient. Again I'm no electrical engineer, but it's a basic engineering principle that something designed for one use (an electric motor) will be less effective and/or efficient when used for another purpose (generating heat). There's also the engineering problem that heat generated in the motor is going to have to be carried to the battery pack, as opposed to having a resistive heater located inside the battery pack. Carrying heat from the motor to the pack obviously will involve some loss of energy; again, that's a basic engineering principle.

    So, altho I have a lot of respect for Sandy Munro, his specialty is gasmobiles, not BEVs... and from the data you report, it seems he's wrong on this point. No doubt eliminating the dedicated battery heater was cost-efficient, but from your data, it's apparently not energy-efficient.

    Yes, it would certainly be better if Tesla offered a dedicated cold weather package, for our Canadian friends. But the Model 3 was designed to use as few parts as possible; to be as cost-efficient to manufacture as possible. Unfortunately, from what you're reporting here, it does look like one of the compromises was greater loss of range in bitterly cold weather. And since Tesla designed the Model 3 battery pack without having a resistive heater inside, I seriously doubt there's room to add that as an option. :(

    I doubt the Model Y will be any better in this regard. The Model Y will likely use Model 3 battery packs, in the same way that the Model X uses Model S battery packs.
    Last edited: May 9, 2019
    Anna_St likes this.
  21. jedi2b

    jedi2b New Member

    Well, depending on how fast climate change goes on, that won't be a problem in a few years :)

    The general consensus I have seen on Canadian forums is that the long range battery is almost a must in these parts. Unfortunately a M3 LR is out of my budget, and out of the Canadian incentive price bracket, so it's going to be a big no-no for many folks.

    The worst case happens when, driving in winter, on a given day, one makes many short trips, with a long parking time between trips. Think driving to a shopping mall a few miles away, staying for an hour, then driving to a store nearby, staying for an hour, etc.
    Each time one get's back to the car, the lack of a heat pump makes resistive heating to go full blast for a while (as car got completely cold while parked) and battery is also cold (with restricted regen. compounding the inefficiency).
    According to some folks, in such extreme scenarios, range loss can be as bad as 65%.

    Oh well, I guess in a few years we will have chargers on every single parking spot everywhere and this won't be an issue anymore (wishful thinking set to max)
  22. Pushmi-Pullyu

    Pushmi-Pullyu Well-Known Member

    I'm confused on that point. I thought I had read that since Tesla created the "Standard Range Minus" (SR-) (and that's my term, not Tesla's) trim level for the Model 3, to duck under the Canadian price cap for the EV incentive, that this would allow all Tesla Model 3's to qualify for the Canadian EV incentive. But here, you're saying that only the "Standard Range" trim levels of the TM3 qualify, and not the LR (Long Range) versions?

    Mind you, I'm not saying you're incorrect here... just looking for clarification on a point I find confusing.

  23. brulaz

    brulaz Active Member

    The Canadian incentive has an upper price limit of C$55K. So the SR+ qualifies (as does the SR-) but that's it.
    SR- was added to get under the lower limit of "one model under C$45K".

    Also want to add thanks to Jedi2b for his informative posts.

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