How long can a Tesla Idle with AC On?

EV batteries have been a bone of contention since the introduction of electric cars. Since EVs come with many technological features, what’s the guarantee of battery efficiency? As a Tesla owner, you may ask, “How long can a Tesla idle with AC on?”

A Tesla can idle with the AC on for 24 – 48 hours. However, allowing your Tesla to idle with the air conditioning system on can cause the battery to deplete. Also, this practice can ultimately impact the battery’s lifespan in the long run.

Meanwhile, it is vital to state that the duration it takes a Tesla to idle with the AC on depends on many factors. This article provides accurate answers to some other EV battery-related questions. It also proffers tips to preserve Tesla battery life when idling with AC on.

how long can an electric car idle with ac on

How long can a Tesla Idle with AC On?

A Tesla can idle for 24 – 48 hours with the air conditioning (AC) system on. The exact duration a Tesla can idle with the AC depends on many factors. Some of these factors include; the battery capacity/charge level, the outside temperature, and the desired interior temperature.

Tesla’s preconditioning and energy management system optimizes power usage. This ensures efficiency and preserves the battery life. Meanwhile, to further improve energy efficiency and extend idling time, Tesla offers a feature called “Cabin Overheat Protection.”

The Cabin Overheat Protection feature automatically maintains a comfortable interior without generating too much heat, even when the vehicle is not in use. It uses the energy stored in the battery to cool the car down or heat it up.

The switch in operation depends on the outside temperature while consuming minimal power. This feature significantly extends the idling time with the AC on, as it operates intelligently to keep the interior comfortable without depleting the battery excessively.

Nonetheless, regardless of the EV type, it is vital to note that prolonged idling may have some implications. While Tesla EVs are more energy-efficient, excessive idling can consume unnecessary energy.

Unfortunately, this may affect the overall battery life in the long run. So, if you were wondering, “How long can a Tesla idle with the AC on?” the answer has been provided above. However, using the AC sparingly and turning it off when it’s not needed to conserve energy is advisable.

Does AC Drain Electric Car Battery?

Running the AC system while driving or idling drains an electric car’s battery. The battery and interior temperature-controlling operation has the highest power drain next to the driving power consumption.

Meanwhile, battery efficiency is a major challenge for EVs. That’s why it is advisable to avoid running the AC unnecessarily. This will help the EV conserve energy and extend the overall battery life.

In the same vein, if you’re wondering, “Is it bad to leave a car idling with AC on?” Generally, it’s okay, if you’re only allowing it for a short time. However, if it’s going to be longer than necessary, then you should turn it off.

Does Tesla use AC to Cool the Battery?

No. Tesla uses air-cooling holes, radiators and refrigeration systems to cool their batteries. Each Tesla battery cell has air-cooling holes surrounding them. They help to allow natural air to flow through and cool the battery cell.

Apart from the air cooling holes, coolant tubes are also built into the battery pack. By this, Tesla uses a heat transfer system that utilizes water or other anti-freeze mixtures (coolant) to absorb heat from the EV battery pack.

In other words, in a situation with an AC compressor failure, Tesla can still cool the battery pack and power its electronics with the unique battery cooling systems above.

How Long Can an EV Sit Idle?

An electric vehicle can sit idle for over 24 hours due to its sufficient power storage and efficiency features. However, the idling duration varies depending on the EV make and model.

Likewise, if you’re asking, “How long can an electric car idle with AC on?” Generally, EVs can last at least 24 hours with the AC on. However, allowing your EV idle for a long time is not ideal.

While your electric car sits idle, the electronic features, such as infotainment, security, and navigation systems, still function. These operations drain the battery. Meanwhile, allowing your EV idle can negatively affect the battery’s lifespan over time.

Tips to Preserve Tesla Battery Life with AC On

If you need to keep your Tesla idling with the AC on, several ways exist to preserve the battery life. Ensure to follow the tips below.

Park in a shaded area 

Direct sunlight exposes an electric car to extreme heat. This can cause the air conditioning system to overwork, consuming more energy. Therefore, if you must keep your EV idling with the AC on, ensure to park under a shade.

Turn off unneeded features 

Secondly, ensure to turn off any features you do not need at the moment. Turn off the seat heaters and interior lights before letting your EV idle with the AC on. Also, reduce the infotainment screen brightness. This will help to minimize energy consumption.

Don’t plug your phone charger

Sometimes you may be tempted to charge your phone in your car. However, whether you’re driving or your EV is sitting idle, always avoid plugging your phone to the car. This will help conserve the battery as you run the AC with the EV idling.

Set a timer 

Is it bad to idle your car with the AC on? No! But why should you let it idle all day? Therefore, depending on how long you want to leave your EV idling, set a timer to turn off the AC automatically. You can set the timer using your Tesla mobile app or the EV’s touchscreen.

Pre-cool the cabin 

Lastly, before parking your Tesla in an idling state, pre-cool the EV’s cabin by running the air conditioner while driving. In this case, the inside temperature will remain cool so that you don’t have to keep the AC running while idling.


Is it ok to idle a car with AC on? Generally, it’s okay when necessary. However, following the battery-life preservation tips above, you can extend your Tesla battery lifespan. Also, you’ll be able to reduce unnecessary energy consumption.

Meanwhile, if you were asking, “How long can a Tesla idle with AC on?” Virtually every vital information you need is captured above. However, no matter what, always avoid leaving your Tesla idle with the AC on.

Since Tesla is designed to be power efficient, you can damage the battery through anti-recommended practices.


Mr. Shafiqule Islam is a graduated Mechanical Engineer and has more than 15 years experience of repairing and maintenance of different brand vehicles like Toyota, Mitsubishi, Ford, Mercedes, BMW etc. He is also giving training to Mechanics. He has started writing to share his practical knowledge to Vehicle Owners, Drivers and Mechanics to keep their cars at best fit.

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