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Thread: 500e Winter Battery Care

  1. #1
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    500e Winter Battery Care

    I'm a new owner in Columbus, OH and did a search and couldn't find much about this topic.

    I plan on using the level 1 regular 120 charging in my garage to keep the battery warm despite the temperatures outside.

    Anyone have thoughts or feedback on leaving it plugged in over night? I've researched regular lithium ion batteries and from what I found there isn't a negative effect from leaving it plugged in. And I know the batteries are liquid cooled/heated so I'm thinking this will help with keeping the temperature even.

    Thanks in advance for your help!

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    Member compu_85's Avatar
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    Having the car in an enclosed garage will help. Is this just for a visit, or where you plan to charge the car normally?

    You'll do much better charging the car from 240v... 120v doesn't provide enough amps to even run the battery heater full tilt.

    If there are 2 120v circuits in the garage, and they are on 2 different legs (easy to verify with a meter - if you measure between the hots on both you'll have 240v if they're on different legs and 0v if they're on the same leg), you can build an adapter and use the included EVSE. That will get you 2.8kw of charging instead of the 1.4kw a 120v circuit provides.

    -J
    2013 500e, 2014 ELR, 2018 Model 3.

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    Senior Member zonker's Avatar
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    Also - using the charge timer for colder times of day will help. So even though it's left plugged in, it's only going to charge during your preset hours.
    2017 124 Spider Classica - modded tastefully
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    Thanks for advice guys. It will be in the garage at night and in a lot at work during the day. Any downsides to leaving it plugged in even though its at 100% on a 120?

    @compu_85 I'll look in to that!

    @zonker, didn't realize that could be done I'll have to read the owner's manual for instructions.

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    Leaving it plugged in overnight (or indefinitely) is not a problem. The car shuts everything down after the battery has fully charged. However, leaving it plugged in won't keep the battery warm after charging has completed — it only runs the battery heater while charging actually is in progress or while the car is turned on.

    In cold weather, it will help the mileage range if you precondition the battery temperature before starting out. Turn on the car about 15 minutes before driving, and the battery will preheat during this time. You can also preheat the cabin to a desired temperature at the same time. Ideally you would precondition with the charger plugged in to keep the charge topped off, but it is beneficial even if not plugged in.

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    If you just have 120 V charger which comes with car, turning car ON before driving will slightly also drain the battery because the battery heater has up to 6 kW power consumption and cabin heater takes up to 6 kW as well!
    In general it is always better preheat with grid support then not, of course.
    I do following in winter:
    1. I charge overnight such that I calculate how much time I need to charge based on actual battery percentage so that charging ends just before my departure. The rule of thumb is that using Fiat supplied charger adds 5% per hour.
    charging keeps battery warm.
    2. 15 -30 minutes before departure I turn on the car and set air conditioning to Auto (A/C OFF). That will heat up the interior although it will eat a little bit from battery if running from 120 V outlet but it is much, much less than if you start heating the car only when leaving.
    3. Use seat heater. That uses fraction of energy compared with air heating. It is much better to lower cabin temperature by 3-6 degrees and use seat heater than having it at 72 F all the time.
    4. Get level 2 240V charger with at least 30 A output. The car has 6.6 kW internal charger. Using this one not only car charges 6x faster but is also able to preheat your battery and cabin without battery charge loss.
    Last edited by Jiri GrandPa; 01-16-2018 at 04:16 PM.

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