Just like in an internal combustion engine car, electric vehicles are also air-conditioned. Electric vehicle compressors operate on electricity instead of a fuel engine. Depending on where you live and how much you use your EV, you may notice your air conditioning is not as cool as it used to be. If this is the case, it may be time to recharge your air conditioning unit.

To maintain an EV, you need to learn how to recharge the air conditioning unit or take your Tesla to the professionals. First, let’s understand how your Tesla A/C functions.

How Tesla Air Conditioning Works

Tesla makes their air conditioning systems simple. Using a 400-volt compressor similar to that in a refrigerator, Tesla cools their occupants using the Energy Storage System, or ESS. The same Energy Storage System is also used to heat your Tesla during the cooler months and cool or heat the battery packs, which is used to power your Tesla.

Tesla and other electric cars run on battery packs designed to operate at an optimum temperature. Using the Energy Storage System, Tesla’s battery packs are powered by a pump that distributes an anti-freeze substance composed of water and glycol and has a separate chilling unit. This helps to regulate the temperature of the car as fluctuations occur inside and outside the vehicle. Your battery pack’s length of life is determined by how much the battery fluctuates in temperature, so the more effective the ESS, the longer your EV will drive.

Recharging the Refrigerant Yourself 

Tesla produces various models, meaning that the recharging refrigerant will vary slightly from one model to the next. Still, there are necessary steps to follow if you choose to recharge your air conditioning yourself instead of hiring a professional at a Tesla certified shop.

  1. Determine the amount of oil that you must add to the system and the amount of oil lost during recovery or any faulty equipment. Also, be sure to check various hoses for damage. These will need to be replaced first before a recharge can occur.
  2. Next, open your app and go to your Toolbox and press the Start Fluid Drain Fill button. You can find this button in the Routine dropdown menu under Refrigerant Fill in the Fluid Drain and Fill panel.
  3. Be sure to follow the instructions exactly. The refrigerant must be charged according to a specific amount of fluid as indicated in the Fluid Capacities Table, and the HVAC machine’s upper clear bottle must have the correct ND-11 oil.
  4. When finished with the recharge, put the dust caps back on the service ports. If a cap is missing, replace it to avoid potential contamination.
  5. Before reinstalling the rear underhood apron, test your air conditioning. ​

Hire a Tesla Certified Technician

Don’t get caught on a hot summer day with a weak air conditioning system. Before this happens, either recharge the A/C yourself or take your Tesla to an accredited shop and let someone else do the work for you. Before dropping your EV off at just any shop, ensure that they have a Tesla-Certified Technician that will be working on your car.

Various Tesla service packages include air conditioning recharging, so be sure you check if you have any of these services available. Most shops choose to perform evacuation and recharging during service. This is simply removing the old refrigerant while observing manufacturer specifications before actually recharging the system with new refrigerant.

While your Tesla is being worked on, more than likely other safety and component checks will be performed, saving you from future visits.


Whether you plan on recharging your Tesla’s air conditioning refrigerant yourself or hiring a professional, keep in mind that electric cars are more than technology, they are what moves you. Not being cool while driving can be extremely uncomfortable, so maintain your Tesla, and driving will be a breeze, even on the hottest of days.