Tesla’s Model 3 Heat Pump is a game changer compared to its old system

Tesla’s addition of a Heat Pump to its 2021 Model 3 was installed with the intention of bringing owners of the company’s most affordable vehicle more range and more efficiency. Now that the newly “refreshed” Model 3 is making its way to owners, it is proving to be around three times more efficient than older builds of the vehicle.

A new video from well-known EV content creator and Tesla owner Bjørn Nyland showed that the heat pump gives owners around three times the efficiency compared to the previous HVAC system, which used a Positive Temperature Coefficient, or PTC system. This proves the addition of the heat pump was a strategy that will end up paying dividends to owners in cold climates, especially now as the Winter months are making their way to many owners across the U.S. and European markets.

Nyland compared a brand new 2021 Model 3 to his older version of the car, which does not have a heat pump equipped. Performing stationary tests to see which system was more efficient in heating up the vehicle during a chilly December night was the perfect test in Nyland’s eyes, and he came out of it with results that proved Tesla’s new system was superior to the old one.

 

Nyland used Camp Mode to test the efficiency of the two cars. Camp Mode maintains a temperature in the cabin while the vehicle is stationary and is ideal for those who sleep in their cars overnight. Because it uses energy from the car’s battery to maintain a comfortable cabin temperature, it was ideal for it to be used during this testing scenario.

After three hours of heating the cabin, both vehicles showed a drop in the state of charge, of course. However, the differences in the drop were night and day. The heat pump-equipped 2021 Model 3 had dropped only 3% in the three-hour span, while the sedan’s pre-heat pump variant had lost 10% of its battery.

The 2021 Model 3 has a 73.5 kWh battery pack with little-t0-no degradation due to its new powertrain that had only 65 kilometers on it. It used only 735 W of energy per hour, meaning 2,205 W were used over the course of the test.

The older Model 3 evidently did not have the efficiency that the new, heat pump-outfitted Model 3 did. After starting at 56%, the three hours of heating the cabin had brought the car’s state of charge down to 46%, meaning it was using roughly three times the amount of energy that the heat pump did. This equated to 2170 W of energy being used per hour by the old Model 3.

It is no secret that using a heat pump is more efficient than the past PTC HVAC system was. Tesla installed the heat pump in the Model Y and made it standard upon the car’s first deliveries in March 2020. Tesla decided to then make it standard in the Model 3 after refreshing the car in October 2020.

Tesla formally adds Heat Pump to Model 3 parts catalog after ‘refresh’

More tests are likely to come that will compare the two systems, but this test shows the efficiency differences in the two cars while heating up. If you’re spending nights in your Model 3, the new 2021 variant may be the way to go to alleviate any concerns about range diminishment overnight.

Nyland’s video comparing the two Tesla vehicles is available below.

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