It appears that Tesla is poised to enable a welcome new feature for the Model 3, with update 2020.40.0.4’s Release Notes including references to a heated charge port function coming to the all-electric sedan. With such a feature in place, Model 3 owners living in areas with harsh winters would find it easier to access their vehicles.
As per the Release Notes of Tesla’s 2020.40.0.4 update, the heated charge port, dubbed by the company as the “Charge Port Inlet Heater,” will be available for both the Model 3 and Model Y. The new feature could be activated by enabling preconditioning from the Tesla mobile app, using preconditioning through scheduled departure, or activating the rear defrost feature from the Model 3 itself.
“Your car can now use the charge port inlet heater to help defrost the inside of the charge port. The charge port inlet heater can be activated in cold ambient temperatures by enabling preconditioning using the mobile app, activating the rear defrost button on the vehicle’s touchscreen, or preconditioning the vehicle using scheduled departure,” the Release Notes stated.
Tesla has actually been pretty quiet about the Model Y and Model 3’s heated charge ports, with the feature only being mentioned by YouTube tech teardown specialist JerryRigEverything earlier this year. In his video, which was filmed at Tesla’s winter testing grounds in Alaska, the YouTuber casually mentioned that the Model Y has a couple of tricks that would make the vehicle work better in winter. These are door handles that can break off ice easily and a heated charge port.
As noted in a Drive Tesla Canada report, the fact that the Model Y was released in the spring meant that the all-electric crossover’s heated charge port feature had never really been tested or confirmed yet. This seems poised to change, however, as Tesla’s update 2020.40.0.4 finally included references to the activation of the function. Needless to say, heated charge ports would most definitely be appreciated by owners of the Model Y and Model 3, especially those who are living in areas that are prone to harsh winters.
Interestingly enough, noted Tesla hacker @greentheonly stated that he has found references to new charge ports for the Model 3 months ago. By then, however, the Tesla hacker noted that it was unclear what was particularly new about the new charge ports. With this in mind, there seems to be a good chance that Tesla had quietly started equipping the Model 3 with a heated charge port months ago.
Speculations among the EV community suggest that the Model 3’s heated charge port may have started their rollout at around the same time as the Model Y’s initial ramp, which began around March. Such a scenario seems plausible, considering that Tesla is known to introduce improvements to its vehicles as soon as they are ready. Previously unannounced features have been introduced in the same way before, after all, such as the Model 3’s rear seat heaters, which were enabled only after the release of the 2018.10.1 5e8433d update.
H/T Drive Tesla Canada.