Russ Cohen

Tesla Electric Vehicle Owners Face Charging Challenges in Frigid Chicago

Arctic Weather Leads to Charging Woes

Chicago is experiencing a brutal winter, and the extreme cold is beginning to impact the electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure, particularly for owners of Tesla Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA) vehicles. Reports have emerged of Tesla supercharging stations becoming akin to “car graveyards” as a result of the ongoing arctic conditions.

Challenges at Supercharging Stations

One of the most affected areas is the Oak Brook supercharging station, where Tesla owners are struggling to recharge their vehicles. The situation has led to long waits and frustration for many EV owners, with some spending hours at the station only to find their vehicle’s battery still depleted.

For instance, Tyler Beard, a Tesla owner, spent a total of six hours over two days at the supercharging station, yet his vehicle’s battery remained at zero percent. Another owner, Chalis Mizelle, had to leave her car at the station after unsuccessful attempts to charge it, eventually needing to ask a friend for a ride.

“This is crazy. It’s a disaster. Seriously,” Mizelle expressed, highlighting the severity of the challenge faced by EV owners in the region.

Extending Impact Beyond Tesla Models

Mark Bilek from the Chicago Auto Trade Association noted that the challenges extend beyond Tesla vehicles, as all EVs could face similar difficulties in extreme cold. He advised owners to precondition their batteries before attempting a fast charge. Despite inquiries, Tesla has yet to respond to the situation as reported by Fox 32.

Historical Context and Wider Implications

This is not the first time Tesla vehicles have struggled in cold conditions. Previous instances of charging issues in freezing weather, as well as scrutiny over the Cybertruck’s performance in snow, have led to public concerns. While Tesla’s CEO, Elon Musk, has maintained that the company’s vehicles are “excellent in snow,” the current scenario in Chicago raises questions about EVs’ reliability and charging infrastructure in severe weather conditions.

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These challenges come despite Tesla’s previous emphasis on the resilience of its vehicles in extreme winter conditions, including assurances from the company’s Vice President of Vehicle Engineering, Lars Moravy, regarding the design of components to withstand harsh winter conditions.


The ongoing difficulties faced by EV owners in Chicago, particularly those with Tesla vehicles, indicate a broader need for continued innovation and reliability in cold weather performance for electric vehicles and their charging infrastructure. As the market for EVs continues to grow, addressing these challenges will be crucial in ensuring their widespread adoption and usability in all weather conditions.

Photo via Shutterstock

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