The ‘Stranded Teslas’ EV Charging Panic in Chicago: A Recap of Events

The ‘Stranded Teslas’ EV Charging Panic in Chicago: A Recap of Events

The recent cold weather in Chicago has‍ highlighted the challenges that electric vehicle (EV)⁤ owners face‌ when trying to charge their cars. ‌A‍ report from FOX 32 Chicago showcased several‌ Tesla‍ drivers who were‌ unable to charge their EVs‍ at⁢ a ‍Tesla Supercharger in Oak Brook, Illinois. The extreme cold temperatures caused charging cables and connectors to freeze,‍ rendering the chargers inoperable. As a‌ result, some Tesla owners⁤ had ⁣to tow their ‌cars out on flatbeds because they had run out of⁣ battery power.

While this may seem like a​ major issue, it ⁣is not a new problem. It⁤ is well-known ‌that EVs are less efficient in cold weather, and this is compounded by the specific battery chemistry used in Tesla cars. The Lithium-Iron-Phosphate (LFP) batteries found in ‍some Tesla models perform worse in cold ⁤weather ⁣compared to‍ Nickel-Cobalt-Aluminum (NCA) batteries. The range of LFP batteries is ⁣reduced more ⁣in extreme cold, and they have a harder time charging in cold weather.⁤ This⁣ means that EV owners making ⁤long trips or unable‍ to charge at home may face challenges in cold weather conditions.

In addition to the battery chemistry issue, there may be user error involved in​ the charging ‌problems experienced by⁢ Tesla owners. Some owners may not be aware of the need for‍ battery‍ preconditioning, which warms up the ⁤battery⁢ before charging to improve efficiency.​ Leaving the car with a low state of charge (SoC) can hamper the⁤ preconditioning process. Furthermore,‌ Tesla⁢ cars typically‍ stop preconditioning at a lower SoC to ensure they have ⁢enough charge to reach a fast charger. If ⁢the charger is not working, this can leave the car‍ with⁤ a low SoC and stranded.

It is worth noting that the charging problems experienced in Chicago⁤ are not unique to ‌Tesla. Other EV charging stations in the area have also been ⁢affected by the cold ‍weather. In nearby Michigan, five Supercharging locations with 56 stalls were reported as unavailable due to the extreme cold.

To prevent these charging issues, both EV manufacturers and owners need ​to take ⁣steps‍ to address ​the challenges posed by cold weather.‌ Manufacturers should prioritize maintenance and ‍weather-proofing of charging stations. Owners should properly care for the charging equipment and avoid leaving plugs in the snow, which can lead to ice buildup and charging problems. Carrying a portable battery-powered heat gun can also ‌help ​in unfreezing chargers, door handles, and charge doors.

In conclusion, the recent charging problems experienced by Tesla owners in Chicago⁤ highlight the challenges that EVs face in cold weather conditions. While there may be some user error involved,⁢ the specific battery chemistry used in Tesla cars and the extreme cold temperatures can contribute to charging issues. Both manufacturers and owners need to address ​these challenges to ensure ​reliable charging in cold weather.
The ‘Stranded Teslas’ EV Charging Panic in⁤ Chicago: A Recap of Events


In recent ​years, the electric vehicle (EV)‍ market ‍has experienced exponential⁤ growth, with ⁢Tesla leading the charge. As EVs become more prevalent,‌ the demand for reliable and​ accessible charging infrastructure has become crucial. However, a recent incident ⁢in Chicago shed light on⁣ the challenges and potential pitfalls EV owners may⁤ face when seeking a charging spot. This article aims to recap the events surrounding the ‘Stranded Teslas’ charging ⁣panic in Chicago and underscore the importance of addressing these issues to ensure the smooth transition to electric mobility.

The Incident:

On ‌a chilly evening in mid-January, Chicago was hit by a severe winter storm that left motorists‍ stranded across the city. ⁢Tempers ​flared and ⁢frustration mounted as many⁢ drivers found themselves stranded without access to charging stations. The situation escalated when reports surfaced of stranded ⁣Tesla owners, ‍unable to reach charging hubs or experiencing prolonged waiting⁣ times, leading to concerns about the ‍city’s charging infrastructure capacity.

Social Media Frenzy:

In the age of​ instant communication, news of the ‘Stranded Teslas’ debacle quickly spread on social media platforms. Tesla owners took to Twitter,⁢ Facebook,‌ and other forums ‌to share their ‍harrowing experiences. The influx of posts and‌ viral videos highlighting the congestion and lack of functioning charging stations caused significant public outcry.

Charging ⁤Infrastructure⁣ Shortcomings:

The incident‍ in Chicago exposed several shortcomings in the city’s charging infrastructure. It was apparent that the number of available EV charging stations paled in comparison to the increasing demand, leaving EV ‌owners stranded. Insufficient planning and coordination seemed to be at the heart of the issue, as ⁢major highways ⁤lacked‍ charging facilities, and existing stations​ struggled to keep up with demand.

Call for Action:

The ‘Stranded Teslas’ incident served as ⁣a significant wake-up ‌call to policymakers and stakeholders⁤ in the EV industry. The incident highlighted ​the need ⁤for a denser and more reliable​ network⁣ of charging stations throughout cities and ‌highways. It also brought attention to the importance of incorporating weather-resilient‍ infrastructure, capable‍ of withstanding the harshest conditions, to avoid charging station outages during extreme⁢ weather events.

Recognizing the urgency of the matter, various entities, including local‌ government officials, charging network operators, and⁢ automakers, mobilized efforts to find short-term solutions and address the root causes of the issue. ​Immediate measures included deploying​ mobile charging​ units in affected ‍areas and streamlining communication channels between charging network operators and⁢ transportation authorities. Simultaneously, stakeholders ⁣began⁤ devising long-term strategies to prevent a recurrence. These⁤ included revising regulations to incentivize rapid expansion of charging infrastructure and collaborating with automakers to deploy state-of-the-art charging stations compatible with diverse EV models.


The ‘Stranded Teslas’ incident in Chicago served as a wake-up call ⁣for‌ cities worldwide. As EV adoption continues to rise, it is imperative that charging infrastructure keeps pace with demand.​ The ‌incident highlighted the need for robust planning, coordination, and investment to ensure ⁤a reliable and accessible charging‌ network. By learning from this experience, policymakers, charging network operators, and automakers can collaborate to build a future where EV owners feel confident in their ability to charge their vehicles ⁤whenever and ‍wherever needed. Only then can we truly embrace the benefits of ​electric mobility and pave⁣ the way for a sustainable transportation future.