Tesla now allows remote climate control when battery is below 20%, but still not with Sentry Mode

Tesla has finally given owners the ability to remotely activate their climate control through the mobile app, including Dog Mode and Camp Mode, when their vehicle is below 20% state of charge (SOC). The change comes nearly two and a half years after CEO Elon Musk agreed to lower the battery percentage threshold.

One of the benefits of being a Tesla owner is being able to warm up (or cool down) your car remotely through the mobile app. That benefit used to only be available when the vehicle’s battery was above 20% SOC. This was implemented as a precaution to prevent owners from inadvertently running their battery down to a dangerously low level, which could leave them stranded with a dead battery.

Way back in October 2020 Canadian Tesla owner Gary (@akidesir) asked Musk on Twitter whether that threshold could be adjusted down to 15%, explaining that it would help him when using Camp Mode on a cold Canadian night. Musk agreed, saying a threshold as low as 5% could be added.

Tesla appears to have finally added this in a recent software update. In testing we were able to remotely turn on HVAC, Dog Mode, and Camp Mode, all while the battery of our Model Y (running 2023.2.10) was below 20%. However, before it actually turns on Tesla warns you that your battery is low and doing so will consume energy, asking for confirmation before continuing.

Unfortunately the new lower threshold does not apply to Sentry Mode, which still requires at least 20% SOC in order to be activated.

It also appears as though 20% is still the requirement to keep Climate Keeper running, as the message on the display when that feature is activated from within the car says it will turn off when the battery reaches that SOC.

We aren’t quite sure when this new lower threshold was implemented but it looks like it has been available for at least a couple of months. This is because we also tested it on our Model 3, which has FSD Beta running 2022.44.30.10, or the 2022 holiday update that was released in December, and we were also able to turn on HVAC through the mobile app with the battery below 20%. However one difference is that no warning message appears.

The one thing that is still unclear is if Tesla lowered the threshold to 5%, like Musk suggested in the tweet, or if in the end they decided on a number higher. Let us know in the comments below if you have tested this out with a single digit battery SOC.

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