Chicago-area Tesla drivers stranded as charging stations not working in bitterly cold weather

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Wednesday, January 17, 2024
Tesla owners stranded as Midwest charging stations fail in bitter cold
Tesla charging stations in the Chicago-area saw several stranded drivers as their cars were not charging in the bitterly cold weather.

CHICAGO -- Tesla drivers are struggling to charge their vehicles in the Chicago-area, as many charging stations are not working amid the freezing cold weather.

At the charging station near 95th Street and Western Avenue in the Evergreen Park area, many Tesla owners were stranded with dead batteries from the cold. Drivers said there were not enough working chargers at that location.

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"Our batteries are so cold it's taking longer to charge now, so it should take 45 minutes, it's taking two hours for the one charger that we have," said Brandon Welbourne, a Tesla owner. "I have seen at least 10 cars get towed away from here because the cars, they died, they've run out of battery. It's too cold, it uses too much of the energy to try to keep the car somewhat reasonable temperature, so everybody is getting towed away and we have nowhere to charge."

In the Oak Brook area, some drivers came looking for a charge and ended up waiting hours in the bitter cold.

"Right from outside the highway, there's a whole line of cars, about over 20 cars, all Tesla cars, and you can look around here, every single car is a Tesla car, full with Tesla cars this whole parking lot. And we're waiting and waiting for over an hour," said Sajid Ahmed, a Tesla driver. "It's unfortunate that these cars are sitting dead in the spots."

For many drivers, it was too late. Their cars died during the long wait, and they had to leave their vehicles stranded and wait for the stations to get up and running again.

"I think just someone needs to come out here to make sure things are OK, because it's not OK," said another Tesla driver John Baldys.

Tesla's support website recommends keeping the charge level above 20% when not plugged in, which will reduce the impact of cold temperatures on the battery.

WATCH: Arctic blast moves through the US, bringing bitterly cold conditions

Millions of people are dealing with the arctic blast across the country. In the Midwest, wind chills could drop as low as 45 degrees below zero.

WLS-TV contributed to this report.