Phantom Drain in Tesla Model 3: What To Avoid

Erwin Meyer

  • November 22, 2023

If you’re considering buying a Tesla Model 3 and want to anticipate any potential issues you may run into, you have probably heard of phantom drain. This can be especially concerning to people who’ve never owned an electric vehicle before and haven’t had to deal with this issue. So when does Tesla Model 3 Phantom Drain occur?

Phantom drain happens when a Tesla Model 3 loses energy while turned off. Contrary to conventional gasoline vehicles, an electric vehicle will use a small amount of standby power when turned off. To prevent phantom drain in your Model 3, disable Sentry Mode , climate control, and third-party apps.

If you’re concerned about phantom drain being an issue, you can rest assured that most Tesla owners don’t even notice any energy drainage at all. Even if phantom drain becomes a problem, there are many ways to minimize its impact. Keep reading to learn more about phantom drain and how to avoid it.

What Is Phantom Drain?

Phantom drain—also known as vampire drain—is when your Tesla loses mileage while turned off or idle. Some energy loss is expected because your electric vehicle never fully shuts off, but losing more than one mile per hour of idle time is excessive. This is what’s known as phantom drain.

In other words, phantom drain represents the amount of charge an electric vehicle loses when it is not being driven or operated by a person.

As an electric vehicle, the Tesla Model 3s are susceptible to standby power . This allows electrical appliances, machines, and devices to periodically perform small tasks even when powered off. This is why you can expect your Model 3 to lose a little bit of power whenever it’s idle and not plugged in. 


How Tesla Defines Phantom Drain

Though Tesla doesn’t refer to phantom drain as such, they do acknowledge that some battery drain is expected when idle and unplugged. 

The Tesla Model 3 owner’s manual states, ”When left idle and unplugged, your vehicle periodically uses energy from the battery for system tests and recharging the 12V battery when necessary.” 

So, rest assured that your Tesla Model 3 isn’t broken or faulty if it loses some battery when idle. A small amount of power loss (and thus range loss) is normal and expected when the car is left unplugged. 

Phantom drain generally refers to excessive energy loss beyond what can reasonably be expected from standby power. Your Tesla Model 3 should lose no more than 10 miles (16.09 km) of range per day of idleness.

If your Tesla is losing a mile of range or more per hour , you are experiencing phantom drain. 

What Causes Phantom Drain?

Many factors can cause phantom drain. This includes built-in features of your Tesla as well as third-party apps that may be sucking your car’s battery dry. 

Does Tesla Sentry Mode Drain Battery?

Sentry Mode is one of the biggest reasons why Tesla Model 3’s experience battery drain. It’s a feature that allows your Tesla to keep the cameras on while idle and start recording if it notices anything suspicious. 

This feature can be very helpful when you park in unfamiliar or unsafe locations, making your Tesla prone to theft or vandalism. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) , there were 721,885 car robberies in the United States in 2019. Sentry Mode could help prevent theft or help if you fall victim to a robbery.

Though the potential safety benefits are significant, Sentry Mode prevents your Tesla from fully going to sleep. You should really consider when Sentry Mode is necessary and disable it when your car is parked safely to prevent phantom drain.

How Much Battery Does Sentry Mode Use in A Tesla?

When you enable Sentry Mode, your Tesla starts channeling its inner security guard and uses some battery power to keep a watchful eye on things. Based on tests, it’s been observed that while Sentry Mode is active, your vehicle will consume around 250 to 300 watts of power. To put that into perspective, it’s like losing about 1 mile of range for every hour that Sentry Mode is rocking and rolling.

Now, let’s talk about the impact over a full day. Sentry Mode can chomp on about 7.2 kWh of energy, which translates to roughly 24 miles of range. So, depending on your Tesla model and battery size, this could be around 7% to 14% of your battery capacity. It’s good to keep these numbers in mind to ensure you don’t drain your battery unexpectedly.

Since Sentry Mode is quite the energy guzzler, it’s best to use it judiciously. It’s not meant for those long-term parking situations where your Tesla will be sitting idle for extended periods. Trust me, you don’t want to come back to a drained battery!

Luckily, Tesla has got your back. They offer options to automatically enable Sentry Mode at specific locations, giving you that extra peace of mind without worrying about excessive battery drain. And hey, one more thing to note: Sentry Mode is automatically disabled when your vehicle’s battery falls to 20%, so you won’t be caught off guard.

Battery Climate Control

Another important reason why your Tesla Model 3’s battery will drain in its sleep is climate control. Electric vehicle batteries need to be kept within certain temperatures for optimal performance, which is why your Model 3 will use some energy even when idle. 

This is why Tesla recommends that you plug in your Model 3 every time it’s idle, even when parked in your garage. Without this climate control feature, your electric vehicle’s battery would not last as long or perform as well. In essence, it is an energy saving feature.

Keep Climate On Setting

This is another feature that can contribute significantly to phantom drain. Keeping Climate On does exactly what the feature’s name purports to do—it keeps the AC or heating on to keep your car at a comfortable temperature while you run errands or stop for a quick bite. 

While this feature is great for a hot sunny day or during a freezing northeaster, you should be cautious of it if you’re concerned about power drain. Keeping the AC or heating on while you’re away will consume a significant amount of power and drain levels of your battery.

It’s worth noting that Dog Mode and Cat Mode essentially do the same thing as Keep Climate On. The difference is that you cannot keep dogs or cats inside your Tesla without turning the respective pet mode on.

If you’re concerned about phantom drain during cat or dog mode, you should minimize the time you leave your pets alone in your car.

Pro Tip: Is there a workaround for Tesla Dog Mode not working under 20% charge? You can put the car in neutral in your safety menu and manually apply the parking brake. Then you can go and do the things you need to do. Just remember to manually lock the car because it will not automatically do so. If you also want to let passersby know that your Dog is safe and in Dog Mode, you can do so by opening the drawing app and writing the message there.

Third-Party Apps can Cause Vampire Drain

Third-party apps can drain your Tesla’s battery by constantly keeping the vehicle awake or waking it up. Just like humans, Teslas need their beauty sleep to conserve energy. A restless Tesla will lose a lot of energy as it constantly powers on when pinged by any one of your apps. 

Most third-party apps realize this and now offer a sleep feature. If you’re using any third-party apps, review the settings of each of them to ensure that it isn’t interrupting your Tesla’s deep sleep. 

Does Tesla Battery Drain While Parked?

Tesla—any electric vehicle—will lose battery while parked. This is because of standby power, a feature of virtually every electronic device that enables it to perform essential features while idle.

If you notice that your Tesla Model 3 is draining a little bit of battery while parked, don’t fret. This is normal and expected of the healthiest Tesla batteries. 

However, you should start looking into possible causes of excessive drain if it goes beyond one mile of range lost per hour. 

Tesla Model 3 Phantom Drain per Day

You can expect an average daily drain of 1% of battery capacity, give or take. Generally, you shouldn’t worry if your Model 3 is draining less than 3% per day as this isn’t a significant mile range reduction.

According to Tesla’s Model 3 Owner’s Manual , “The Battery can discharge at a rate of approximately 1% per day, though the discharge rate may vary depending on environmental factors (such as cold weather), vehicle configuration, and your selected settings on the touchscreen.”

This is consistent with our findings of the different factors that impact your phantom drain: the outside temperature and settings like Sentry Mode and Keep Climate On. 

These factors make the 1% estimate from Tesla just that: an estimate . If you’re losing 2% or even 3%, you shouldn’t worry too much. You could even be losing close to 0% per day, and that would be fine too.

Most owners report a daily loss of about 1% per day, but some experience significantly less. A Reddit user even reported losing just over 20% of battery power over a total of 80 days of idle time. That’s an average of less than 2% drain per week .

4 Tips To Reduce Phantom Drain in Model 3 for Owners

Don’t worry if you’re experiencing phantom drain beyond 3% per day. Reducing the drain to acceptable levels is almost always a very easy fix. Try some of the following measures that explain how to stop Tesla phantom drain to reduce your energy loss. 

1. Disable Sentry Mode When Safe

Sentry Mode has been identified as the main culprit behind the phantom drain. While this feature could save your Model 3 from vandalism or theft, you should be selective with when and where you use it. 

If you’re leaving your Model 3 in a safe place with cameras, like premium airport parking or in your friend’s garage, you should disable Sentry Mode to prevent battery drain. 

2. Never Enable Climate Control

The only exception, of course, is when you leave your pets or other people inside the car. Other than that, you should turn off the climate control in your vehicle to prevent unnecessary battery loss. 

Leaving the climate control on while you run your errands is akin to leaving your car on in the parking lot. Make sure to never use this feature if you’re concerned about phantom drain.

3. Review Third-Party Apps

Third-party apps can be energy vampires. They can prevent your car from falling asleep by constantly pinging your Model 3 for information throughout the day. 

Review your third-party apps’ settings to see if they have any features for preventing phantom drain. Many have developed solutions to prevent the app from waking up your Model 3 if it’s sleeping. 

Otherwise, try temporarily disabling all third-party apps to see if your battery drain improves. If it does, try reintroducing your apps one by one to see if you find one that’s significantly energy-intensive. 

4. Disable Smart Summon Standby Mode

You should disable the Smart Summon Standby Mode unless you plan on using it very frequently. The thing about Standby Mode is that it leaves your car on Standby, preventing it from fully going to sleep as it waits for you to summon it. 

To disable Standby Mode, simply:

  • Go to Autopilot.
  • Tap on the Standby Mode button. 
  • Toggle ‘OFF’ to disable.

Once you’ve disabled Standby Mode, your car will be able to sleep restfully every time you leave it idle. If you still want to summon it, you can do so from the app. You’ll just have to wait a few seconds for the car to wake up before using Smart Summon. 

If you’d like to learn more about preventing phantom drain, you should watch the following YouTube video with a few more details on preventing phantom drain:

Does TezLab Cause Phantom Drain?

TezLab doesn’t cause added phantom drain on Model 3 Teslas, thanks to its Deep Sleep Assist mode . This feature prevents TezLab from waking your car when it’s in a deep sleep, enabling it to conserve battery power.

However, when using a third-party app, you should always monitor how it impacts your car’s sleep. Make sure that you review your app’s settings to ensure that the best energy-conservation features (like TezLab’s Deep Sleep Assist) are enabled and working.

Phantom Drain Model 3 Comparison Chart 

The expected daily phantom drain figures above come from data analyzed by TezLab , although Tesla’s owner’s manuals state that about 1% drain is expected of all models. There’s still insufficient independent data to analyze Model Y’s performance, so Tesla’s official estimate was used instead.

The data show that Model S is the best at preventing phantom drain while Model 3 is the worst at maintaining battery charge when idle. 

However, this doesn’t mean that you should avoid buying a Model 3 just because of phantom drain. Teslas are notorious for being the only cars that get better after you roll them off the lot, in part due to Tesla’s software upgrades .  

This means that phantom drain has become a less serious problem across the board, thanks to new software updates from Tesla . Watch the following YouTube videos from Teslanomics to learn more about how Tesla is continuously working to minimize phantom drain:

New 4680 Tesla Battery and Phantom Drain

Tesla’s highly anticipated 4680 battery is expected to significantly improve energy performance while also reducing the price of a new Tesla. Expected to begin production in early 2022 , these batteries promise to extend the range by at least 16% while storing up to five times as much energy . 

We don’t yet know how the new batteries will impact phantom drain—if at all—as we know it’s generally caused by software settings and third-party apps instead of poor battery performance. 

However, we can expect phantom drain to be less of an issue on electric cars with a more powerful battery with more storage capacity. 

Watch the following YouTube video to learn more about Tesla’s upcoming 4680 battery:

How Bad Is Phantom Drain in Teslas Compared to Other EVs?

All-electric vehicles suffer from phantom drain to a certain degree—not just Teslas. Constant software updates could make a Tesla fare better in terms of phantom drain compared to other EVs, while an abundance of third-party apps could hinder a Tesla’s performance.

One of the greatest benefits of owning a Tesla is that software updates are constantly pushed onto all vehicles. Tesla Motors is fully aware of phantom drain and is constantly improving its software to reduce this issue. 

This level of support and continuous improvement is not something that you can expect from any manufacturer. When you own a Tesla, you can expect it to get better as it gets older, which is highly unusual for cars. 

On the other hand, Tesla owners can be overzealous in their use of third-party apps. Many apps like TezLab, TeslaFi, SentryView, etc., can interrupt your car’s sleep and thus increase the amount of battery drain. 

So, you may experience more phantom drain on a Tesla if you use several third-party apps to enhance your Tesla experience. Otherwise, you may expect a phantom drain comparable to or even better than other EVs in the market.

What is Vampire Drain in a Tesla?

Phantom drain is also sometimes called vampire drain. Vampire Drain in a Tesla refers to the small amount of energy that the car consumes while it’s parked and not in use. It’s like a sneaky vampire that slowly drains your battery over time, hence the name.

So even when your Tesla is just sitting there, minding its own business, it’s still using up a tiny bit of energy. However, in terms of vampire drain Tesla has many ways to help you keep it to a minimum.

Does Closing the Tesla App Reduce Phantom Drain?

Closing the Tesla app can indeed help reduce phantom drain, but the impact might not be as significant as you think.

You see, when you open the Tesla app, it establishes a connection with your car, allowing you to access and control various features remotely. This connection does require a small amount of energy to maintain.

So, if you close the app completely, it will sever that connection and potentially reduce the energy drain associated with it.

However, it’s important to note that the energy consumed by the app connection itself is usually quite minimal. Tesla has actually designed their app to be quite efficient in terms of energy usage.

So, while closing the app may have a slight impact on reducing phantom drain, it’s not likely to be a game-changer in terms of saving significant amounts of energy.

Check out these 20 great gift ideas for yourself or a Tesla fanboy .

Contact Us if you have any questions or queries.


Erwin Meyer

A renowned Tesla enthusiast, and successful entrepreneur, enlightens global audiences through his compelling EV narratives. Discover more about his electric journey on his About Me page. Venture to read Erwin's incredible story that's reshaping the future of motoring. Want to spark a conversation with Erwin? Visit his Contact page, and let’s electrify the world together.

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Tesla Model 3 Vampire Drain: How Bad It Is — and What to Do About It

It is . . . pretty . . . bad! 

Vampire drain WILL deplete your Model 3 battery and even damage it if you leave your car idle and unplugged for an extended period of time (maybe weeks or months) — or you might be experiencing it daily.

Whatever situation you’re in, it’s about time you learn how to get rid of . . . ummm . . . you can’t get rid of it actually (for many reasons that I will explain later). 

You can minimize it, though.

How? Let’s hop into the details.

What Is Vampire Drain on a Tesla?

Vampire drain (also known as phantom drain) is the phenomenon of excessive battery drainage when you leave your Tesla unplugged and idle for an extended period of time.

Consider your Tesla’s battery as a human and your Model 3’s built-in features ( Sentry Mode , cameras, etc.) as a vampire. 

Just like a vampire drains the human body of blood, these built-in features drain your Tesla’s battery of power.

Hence the name vampire drain .

Here’s how the Tesla Model 3 owner’s manual describes phantom drain:

When left idle and unplugged, your vehicle periodically uses energy from the battery for system tests and recharging the 12V battery when necessary. – Tesla

How Much Vampire Drain Per Day Is Normal on a Tesla Model 3?

I needed to address this question because first of all, you should know whether you’re even experiencing vampire drain (aka phantom drain) or not.

Here is the rule of thumb: If your Model 3 is losing more than 10 miles/hour or 3% of the battery every day, your car has got the bad condition of phantom drain (or vampire drain . . . ugh . . . you know they’re both the same by now, right? I’ll only mention either later in the article).

If the drainage is less than the abovementioned limits, it’s completely normal. Mostly, owners plug in their car overnight, so they don’t feel any difference.

But if you leave your Model 3 idle for weeks or months, this small drainage every day will constitute a significant amount of battery.

If your case is the latter one, read on to know the methods to reduce vampire drainage to the lowest possible percentage.

But before that, let’s discuss some real-world tests and case studies that actual Model 3 owners performed to quantify phantom drainage in general.

Model 3 Owners’ Vampire Drain Experiences, Case Studies, & Tests

#1: timothyhw3.

Regarding the drain, please watch the video. I am looking at around 2 kms or less a day. Like I said in the video, this depends on your outside temperature. Sometimes I even “gain” kms overnight, once the battery settles down.

But it should be 0.5% a day or something. This is my normal degradation for almost 4 months. I don’t update the car, because I like my current firmware version.

#2: Bjorn Nyland

Bjorn left his Model 3 at ~83% state-of-charge (SOC) for 22 days in the Norwegian winter. It lost 10.6% (or 69 km/43 mi) in that time. That’s about 0.5% per day (or 2 miles a day). 

#3: TidgesMum

I left my Model 3 long range unplugged for 5 days to see how much the battery drained.

I’m going on holiday soon and wanted an idea of how much it might lose while parked at the airport.

I have a 3-month-old Model 3 long range.

I turned off sentry mode, preconditioning, etc. It just had the doors locked and was running its basic functions.

It was about 10 degrees Celsius outside. The cabin temperature sat at 11′ each time I checked.

I looked at the app every 24 hrs and noted the number of miles range it had left…

  • Day 0 – it had 260 mi
  • Day 1 – 259 mi
  • Day 2 – 259 mi
  • Day 3 – 258 mi
  • Day 4 – 256 mi
  • Day 5 – 256 mi

That reassures me I can leave it for a week and I won’t come back to a flat battery.

I thought it might be useful info to share.

#4: PhilRogers

I have an 18-month old Model 3 SR+. When I’m at work, I park in downtown Chicago in a fully enclosed temperature-controlled garage in a high-rise office building. I am losing anywhere from 5% to 7% when parked, during my 8-hour work day. I have tried shutting off WiFi and that didn’t do anything. The car does appear to be going to sleep. I am not checking it on the app during the day. I do not have 3rd party apps like Teslafi running. I do not have Sentry Mode activated. I just park the car and get out, and watch from a distance as it flashes the lights, folds the mirrors, and locks.

This can be intermittent. For example, today I parked it at 70%. I’m getting ready to leave, and it’s at 69%.

I’m on 2021.24.10. My car has 28,000 miles on it.

#5: SpawnPoiint

Chris left his Model 3 at ~75% SOC for seven days at the Leeds Bradford Airport. It lost 3% of battery in that time. That’s about 0.42% per day . 

How to Minimize Vampire Drain: Settings to Lose Less than 1 Mile a Day

Before I tell you the tricks to minimize phantom drain, I’d like to address a question:

“What if your battery gets discharged to 0%?”

The answer is simple: You’re screwed… sort of.

First, you’ll need to tow your car to charge it. If your battery suffers any damage, Tesla may not cover those repairs under warranty — so that’s money from your pocket.

To ensure you never end up in this situation courtesy of phantom drain, here are tricks to reduce phantom drain to its lowest possible level.

Turn Off Sentry Mode

One of the most common causes of battery depletion in a Tesla Model 3 is Sentry Mode. It’s a feature that keeps your Tesla’s cameras on while the car is parked and starts recording if it sees something strange.

Despite the potential for major safety improvements, Sentry Mode stops your Tesla from properly sleeping. It should only be used when absolutely required and should be turned off when your car is safely parked to avoid phantom drain.

Here’s how to turn it on/off:

  • On your touch screen:

Go to Controls > Safety & Security > Sentry Mode > Turn it on/off.

  • On your Tesla app:

Go to Security > Sentry Mode > Turn it on/off.

Avoid using apps.

Apps, whether Tesla’s app or third-party apps like Teslafi or Tezlab , have the potential to be energy vampires. They can keep your Model 3 awake all day by pinging it for information.

Check the settings of your applications to see if they have any measures to prevent phantom drain. Many people have devised ways to keep the app from waking up your Model 3 when it’s asleep.

If that doesn’t help, disable all third-party programs for a while to see if your battery life improves. If it does, try reintroducing your applications one at a time to see if you can discover one that uses a lot of energy.

Turn Off Smart Preconditioning

Here’s Chris from the Chris Casacci YouTube channel walking you through the basics of smart preconditioning and how it works:

The basic idea is that when smart preconditioning is enabled, the car will automatically determine your schedule, note a time when you usually leave your house, and start preconditioning your car every day a few minutes before the noted time.

This feature is very helpful if you live in a cold climate, but if you’re going to leave your car idle for a couple of weeks or months or you’re experiencing phantom drain on a daily basis, make sure to turn this feature off to prevent extra battery drainage.

Go to Settings > Vehicle > Climate > Smart Preconditioning > Turn it on/off.

phantom drain tesla model 3

Turn Off Smart Summon Standby Mode

Unless you want to use Smart Summon Standby Mode regularly, you should disable it. 

The thing with Standby Mode is that it keeps your vehicle on standby, preventing it from entirely sleeping as it can be summoned at any time.

Here’s how to turn it off:

Go to Controls > Autopilot > Standby Summon > Off.

Disable Car Alarm

Even though a car alarm is necessary for the safety of your electric car, it’s also responsible for consuming at least 1% of the battery every day, which in the long-term can constitute a big number.

If your car is parked in a safe environment, consider disabling it. Here’s how to do this:

Touch Controls > Safety > Security Alarm > Turn on/off.

Disable Wi-Fi

Wi-Fi access will prevent your car from going asleep, especially when it’s downloading updates, and that’ll ultimately result in excessive phantom drain. 

Make sure to turn the Wi-Fi access off before you leave your car. It can be done easily from the screen .

What Differences to Expect Between Battery Form Factors & Chemistries

Since August 2021, when Elon Musk tweeted about the LFP battery being introduced in the Model 3 SR+, most Model 3s have been coming with a lithium-iron-phosphate (LFP) battery rather than the usual nickel-cobalt-aluminum (NCA) battery.

Now the question is, what battery performs better against vampire drain: LFP or NCA?

Per my research, after going through actual owners’ case studies, I can safely say that LFP batteries perform way better against vampire drain than NCA batteries.

To back up my claim, below are two case studies that prove what I just said:

#1: Ke l vin 660

> Here is my 3 month update on my SR+ LFP M3:

  • Battery degradation has been ~0.2% over 3 months/3,000 miles or less than 1 mile! Compared to my old NCA SR+ car that had lost 10 miles @ 3,000 miles. So LFP is looking about 10 times less battery degradation than NCA chemistry.

>Here is my 7-month update on LFP SR+ versus NCA SR+ cars.

  • Degradation has been 1.5% over 7,300 miles compared to ~7% at the same mileage/age for my NCA. So I would say that on the degradation front things are looking good.

>>For more information, visit this thread . Kelvin 660 has really gotten into details.

In the video below, Bjorn Nyland left his Model 3 SR+ with LFP battery parked for 14 days to test how much battery is lost due to vampire drain . Check out the results he got:

It’s 0.36%. Whaaaaat . . . really?

Final Thoughts

Every EV suffers from vampire drain, and Tesla is no different. 

In fact, with all the third-party apps, Sentry Mode, climate control, and whatnot running all the time, Tesla beats all other EVs in this regard.

With the right steps, however, you can reduce it to the point you won’t even feel it ever. 

And if you’re leaving it idle for the next three, four, or even five months, you’ll still return to your car with enough battery left.

Just apply all the tricks explained in this article and I assure you, you’ll be fine (you can come for my head if it happens otherwise!).

phantom drain tesla model 3

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Tesla Model 3 “Phantom Drain” compared to Model S and Model X

phantom drain tesla model 3

Tesla Model 3 currently leads the pack in terms of having the highest parasitic battery drain, or better known as “Phantom Drain”, over Tesla’s more mature Model S and Model X.

Phantom Drain represents the amount of charge an electric vehicle loses when it is not being driven or operated by a person, similar to how smartphones lose battery power while in standby mode. In the case of Tesla vehicles, the battery discharges while the car is not being driven in order to provide power to its onboard electronics and auxiliary functions, such as the battery’s thermal management system. According to the Model 3 Owners Guide , the vehicle, on average, should discharge at a rate of around 1% per day, similar to Tesla’s quotes for the Model S and Model X’s battery drain levels.

However, looking at data collected through   TezLab , a popular app among the Tesla owners community that tracks vehicle power usage, efficiency, and other statistics, Ben Sullins of the Teslanomics YouTube channel was able to see a significantly larger discharge rate from the Model 3. Ben was also able to compare the differences in vampire drain between the  3,855 Model S, 1,281 Model X, and 362 Model 3 being sampled.

Looking at the distribution of Phantom Drain between the Model S, Model 3 and Model X, it could be seen that around 60% of TezLab’s users experienced drain levels similar to Tesla’s quoted levels, which are on the 1-2% range per day. However, the differences between battery drain of the Model 3 and the Model S and X become more prominent over time. It’s worth noting that any parasitic losses as a result of TezLab connecting to the vehicle on a recurring basis may also be accounted for in the results being reported.

phantom drain tesla model 3

As noted by Ben, the Model 3’s Phantom Drain levels exhibited volatility sometime during the November 2017 to January 2018 period. Ben’s recent real-world range test using his RWD Long Range Model 3 on an LA to Las Vegas route showed an even more drastic level of Phantom Drain , with his car losing almost 20 miles of range while he and his companion ate lunch. That’s a loss of more than 6% from the Model 3’s rated 310-mile range in the span of an hour.

The drain levels of Model 3 owners using the TezLab app has started becoming more normalized, suggesting that the longer the vehicles are on the road, and as Tesla pushed firmware updates to its Model 3 fleet, the more consistent the cars’ drain levels became.  Back in 2015, we covered a Model S that lost an average of 2.3% rated range per day while the vehicle was left in 16-degree Fahrenheit (-9 C) weather. 

Overall, Tezlab’s data shows that the Model 3 is becoming more consistent as the maturity of the vehicle’s software is improving. Other features like its battery thermal management systems and its auxiliary functions are improving over time as well. These improvements are a trademark of Tesla, which is known as one of the only carmakers whose vehicles get better after they roll off the showrooms. 

Watch Ben’s video on the Phantom Drain of the Model 3 compared to the Model S and Model X.

phantom drain tesla model 3

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How To Check Your Tesla Model 3's Battery Health And Avoid The Dreaded Phantom Drain

Tesla Model 3 headlight

There is one particular reason why Tesla has dominated the EV market since the Model S debuted in 2012. You probably know Tesla EVs as the quickest, most potent, and tech-filled battery-electric cars you can buy, despite them being among the costliest. But the primary reason Tesla is lording over its competition is due to its proprietary battery software and extended driving range. According to a  2020 report by Business Insider , Tesla is ahead of the curve in driver-assistance technology and over-the-air (OTA) software updates. The report adds Tesla could earn billions in deferred software revenue through 2022 as other automakers are left trying to catch up.

In a separate report by Inside EVs , the Tesla Model 3 now belongs to an elite group. The Model 3 became among the ten best-selling cars in the world as of 2021. It is also the world's most popular EV, although experts suggested the Model Y could outsell the Model 3 by the end of 2022. These rousing statistics have much to do with the higher range numbers of the Model 3 (and all Tesla EVs, in general).

Tesla Model 3 phantom drain: Does it exist?

As of 2022, the Tesla Model 3 RWD variant is good for 267 miles of range, while the dual-motor Performance version has an EPA-estimated 315 miles. But over time, your Model 3's battery will eventually degrade and affect the range numbers. There's also the issue of what experts call phantom drain or "vampire drain," a term used to describe the loss of battery power and mileage while the EV is off or idling (per EVSpeedy ).

Tesla does not refer to "phantom drain" in Model 3 but acknowledges the condition in its owner's manual under the " High Voltage Battery Information " section. The automaker said: "When left idle and unplugged, your vehicle periodically uses energy from the battery for system tests and recharging the low-voltage battery when necessary."

Yes, phantom drain exists in all Tesla EVs and the Model 3, and reasonable power loss is normal if your EV is left unplugged for extended periods, just like a smartphone , tablet, or any battery-powered electronic gadget. Tesla adds the battery could discharge at an average of 1% per day (or no more than 10 miles of range) depending on temperature and the prevailing weather conditions. However, phantom drain rears its ugly head if the battery loses over a mile of range per hour.

Battery health check

Electric vehicles require fewer maintenance checklists than gasoline-powered cars. However, it's worth checking the battery health whether you have a new or used EV . One of the simplest ways is to monitor the available range per full charge. If you notice drastic mileage loss, it could mean a battery problem or significant phantom drain. You can also download the Tesla mobile app to run a self-diagnostic tool and determine whether the battery is faulty or requires servicing.

How to manage phantom drain in a Tesla

You can minimize the effects of phantom drain by disabling particular features and third-party apps in a Tesla Model 3. For instance, disabling Sentry Mode will save one mile per hour (per Motoring Research ), and minimizing Dog Mode and the Climate On features will eke out more mileage from your Tesla. Moreover, disabling Smart Summon Standby Mode allows your Tesla to "fall asleep" without consuming too much power. Other range-extending Tesla battery tips worth considering include not letting the battery charge above 90% (or fall below 20%), minimizing the use of Supercharging, and maintaining the correct tire pressures.

Help Center - Tessie

Eliminating Phantom Drain

When your Tesla is idle — that is, not driving or charging — you may experience what's known as  phantom drain , where the battery slowly drains a few percentage points over the course of several hours.

Phantom drain happens when the vehicle stays awake and doesn't sleep to conserve battery.

Below are a list of steps that you can take to improve your Tesla's sleep and eliminate phantom drain.

Disable Sentry Mode

Sentry Mode will keep the vehicle awake to monitor the surroundings.

Disable Cabin Overheat Protection

Cabin Overheat Protection will keep the vehicle awake to monitor and cool the interior.

Disable Data Sharing

When data sharing is enabled, the vehicle will wake and upload data to Tesla in the background.

You can disable it in the vehicle under Software > Data Sharing.

Don't use multiple Tesla tracking apps

When one service is letting your vehicle sleep, the other may be keeping it awake inadvertently. This is a side effect of how the Tesla firmware is currently designed.

You can reset access to all tracking apps by changing your tesla.com account password.

Install pending software updates

The vehicle may stay wake when an update is pending but hasn't been fully downloaded and installed.

Move devices outside of Bluetooth range

When a Bluetooth connection occurs, the vehicle may wake up automatically.

Update the Tesla app on your devices

Certain Tesla app versions have a bug which will continuously wake the vehicle.

Move key fobs away from the vehicle

When a key fob is detected near the vehicle (including vertically, in a room above or below the vehicle), the vehicle may wake up automatically.

Improve the WiFi signal

Weak WiFi connections can cause the vehicle to stay awake due to constant disconnections and reconnections. You can turn off WiFi in the vehicle or move your WiFi router to improve the signal.

Disable Summon Standby

Summon Standby will keep the vehicle awake. You can disable it in the vehicle under Autopilot.

Remove the Tesla app widgets from your home screen

The Tesla app widgets communicate with the vehicle and may keep it awake. You can use Tessie widgets safely.

Restart the vehicle

There is a known computer issue that can prevent the vehicle from sleeping. You can restart the vehicle by pressing both scroll wheel buttons on the steering wheel until the screen turns off.

Power cycle the vehicle

Underlying firmware issues can also prevent the vehicle from sleeping. You can perform a power cycle to eliminate them.

Reduce polling interval

In certain conditions, the Tesla data API may wake the car. In Tessie, change Settings > Connectivity > Polling Interval to 60 seconds and wait 24 hours to see if it helps.

Replace the 12V battery

Many Tesla owners have had success in reducing excessive wakes by getting the 12V battery serviced or replaced.

Service the vehicle to fix the underlying components

Your Tesla will automatically wake up when an underlying component activates.

Some components, like the HVAC system and certain sensors, can be faulty and activate needlessly, which will cause the vehicle to wake up.

Replacing these components will allow the vehicle to sleep normally.

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Yang Mi, Athena Chu deepfake face-swap

Occurred: February 2019

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A video that splices Chinese actress Yang Mi with Athena Chu, an older Hong Kong actress who starred in a 25-year-old TV series The Legend of the Condor Heroes has set China's social media alight, and not in an altogether positive manner.

Chinese 'netizens' criticised its creator for disrespecting both actresses and of violating Yang's image rights, and worried about the broader effects of the technology on society.

The video creator, who went under the pseudonym Xiao, (which translates as 'Brother Face-Swapping'), apologised, claiming he had wanted to educate the public on the danger of deepfakes.

The video was removed from Weibo, China's Twitter equivalent. However, many copies continue to circulate online.

Operator: Anonymous/pseudonymous; Weibo Developer: Anonymous/pseudonymous

Country: China

Sector: Media/entertainment/sports/arts

Technology: Deepfake - video; Generative adversarial network (GAN); Neural network; Deep learning; Machine learning Issue: Privacy; Copyright; Ethics

Transparency: Governance


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ZAO face swapping

FaceMega sexualised face swapping

Page info Type: Incident Published: March 2023


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