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Transport Canada Investigates Tesla Model 3/Y Heat Pump Failures

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For the past couple of weeks, there have been several reports from owners of Tesla’s Model 3 and Model Y electric vehicles (EVs) of the in-cabin heating spontaneously shutting down, especially in colder weather conditions like the ones we’re seeing in Canada.

The issue appears to be limited to newer Tesla Model 3 and Model Y units, which are equipped with a heat pump for their HVAC system.

Affected users experience instances where their car’s heat pump fails, resulting in loss of heat, even during commutes. We saw earlier this week how the required repairs for one Canadian Tesla Model Y owner facing this problem would have set them back $5,700 CAD, had their car not been covered under Tesla’s warranty.

According to Tesla North, complaints of heat pump failures on Teslas have made their way to Transport Canada, the federal government’s automotive regulator.

Transport Canada has reportedly said it has received 16 complaints regarding heating failures in the Tesla Model 3 and Model Y as of Thursday, reported Teslarati. The regulator said the complaints pertain to “the performance of the HVAC system in cold weather conditions” on the Model 3 and Model Y.

In response to the complaints, Transport Canada has launched an “Issue Assessment Investigation” into the climate control failures. Transport Canada clarified that the investigation is not a recall of the vehicles, rather an effort to better analyze the issue.

Tesla support has said this is a “firmware” issue that is “currently under investigation.”

Tesla’s EVs have exhibited issues with in-cabin heating before, but the last time something like this happened was caused by a hardware failure and Tesla ended up recalling all of its heat pump-equipped Model 3s and Model Ys to replace some heat pump sensors and prevent widespread heating failures.

A Tesla technician from Saskatoon divulged some more details about the heat pump problem to the Saskatchewan Tesla Owners Club, and they were shared to Twitter earlier in the week by @Model3owners.

“One of the observed causes of a climate failure that has been diagnosed is the front air intake flap freezing open, and blasting cold air into the system when driving on the highway, which is preventing the heat pump system ability to work correctly,” the technician explained, according to the local Tesla club.

“The cold air passes by a sensor, and tells the climate system it’s failing, and then you get the famous error, and the compressor just stops. One of the things they’re potentially going to do with software as a quick win is allow the compressor/system to keep working, even if the flap is not functioning properly. And of course they’re trying to figure out how to prevent this in the first place.”

Tesla CEO Elon Musk responded to @Model3Owners and said “great explanation!”, essentially validating the relayed information on the heating failures.

The EV pioneer is hard at work on a fix for the problem, which it says will come in a future software update.

Update 2021.44.30.6, released yesterday, and 2021.44.30.7, which started rolling out today, were said to include software mitigations for the heat pump failures. We are yet to receive reports from owners of either update resolving the random climate control failures, but stay tuned.

Until a permanent fix for the issue is deployed in a software update, Tesla has also passed on a number of ways Model 3/Y owners can use to try and get the heat back on in their cars independently.

Are you experiencing any issues with heating and climate control in your Tesla Model 3/Y?

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