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Tesla Smoking While Charging: Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Worry

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Tesla Smoking While Charging

Electric vehicles are renowned for their clean, smoke-free operation. Likewise, the sight of a Tesla emitting smoke while charging is both absurd and alarming.

So why is my Tesla smoking while charging? Heat pumps are standard on most electric cars, ensuring that the battery and the vehicle are kept at the ideal temperature. Thus, as your Tesla is charging, the battery warms up, and the ice therein condenses as a result of the heat. This produces harmless steam.

However, there are circumstances where you should worry about it. It might be actual smoke rather than steam. Well, don’t worry, as we will cover it all here. Let’s get started.

Tesla Is Smoking While Charging: Reason Behind It

In recent times, many Tesla users have come across a smoking Tesla while they were charging their vehicles. In fear of the car blowing up, they have even called the emergency helpline to check out this issue. Nevertheless, all they have come across is that it’s a false alarm.

Furthermore, Tesla has also addressed this issue and said it’s nothing to worry about and just simple chemistry. It’s the heat pump that is just doing its job in cold weather. If you don’t know, the heat pump is responsible for ensuring optimal temperature both inside the car and the battery.

Tesla Is Smoking While Charging

Simple Science Behind It

In cold weather, the battery temperature drops below the freezing point: 0° Celsius. This mostly happens when your Tesla has been idle for a few hours. 

So when you charge your Tesla in this condition, the temperature inside the battery increases. This is due to the electrochemical reactions taking place within the battery. These reactions generate heat as a byproduct, causing the battery’s temperature to rise.

Moreover, the heat pump works together to increase the temperature inside the battery to take it to an optimal temperature.  

Since there is a rapid temperature change, condensation will occur.  As a result, water vapor, which you thought was smoke, comes out. This steam is a natural process and isn’t something to worry about at all. 

On the other hand, Tesla smoking while charging is a possibility that can’t be neglected. There’s always a chance of any battery burning up. Thus, identifying whether it’s smoke or steam is key before calling for help.

Here’s a video that should help you understand this concept better.

Differences Between Smoke Vs. Steam In Tesla Car While Charging

Here are the differences between smoke and steam that you should identify easily.


The smell of burning plastic or chemicals is usually present when a battery is burning.  On the other hand, when it undergoes condensation, you won’t be able to distinguish it from its natural smell.

Smoke Vs Steam In Tesla Car While Charging


Smoke is the result of incomplete combustion of a material, such as a battery. Thus, a burning battery is typically black or dark gray, indicating that the battery is undergoing a combustion process. Contrarily, you can compare the color of steam to fog.


Smoke emitted from a burning battery is generally thick and may produce a dense cloud. Opposingly, steam generally comes in thin and translucent clouds, which can be compared with light mist.


The steam produced by condensation should stop after a few minutes. However, you know it’s smoke when it persists for a longer period. Burning smoke usually continues to emit as long as the battery is overheating or on fire.

Other Symptoms That Mean Your Tesla Is On Fire

Now that you know the difference between smoke and steam, there are other factors to consider as well. Knowing other symptoms can help you to determine the level of urgency. The professionals also use these symptoms to conclude things. 

Other Symptoms That Mean Your Tesla Is On Fire

So let’s check it out.

Battery Temperature Readings

One of the key indicators of thermal runaway is an excessively high battery temperature. Fortunately, Tesla comes with military-grade Thermal imaging cameras through which you can monitor the temperature of the battery pack.

If the battery temperature is between 2°C and 42°C, then it’s fine, and there’s nothing to worry about. However, if it surpasses this value, then you shouldn’t stand next to your Tesla and call for help.

Battery Temperature Readings

Visual Inspection

Again, the thermal imaging camera comes in handy here. You can conduct a visual inspection of the EV’s battery pack using the thermal camera.  Then, look for any abnormal hotspots or areas of intense heat buildup. If there aren’t any, then there’s nothing to worry about.


This is quite self-explanatory: if you see any sparks around your Tesla, then it’s time to run and call for help. One of the most significant hazards of a Tesla sparking while charging is the risk of an electrical fire. 

The sparks could indicate a malfunction in the charging system or a fault in the vehicle’s electrical components. If the issue is not addressed promptly, it could lead to a fire. It can cause severe damage to the vehicle and surrounding property and potentially harm people nearby.

Table: What Causes Tesla Smoking While Charging

What Causes Tesla Smoking While Charging

Now, if it’s actual smoke rather than steam, you have the right to know the reason behind it. Here’s a table that helps you know the reason why your Tesla is smoking while charging

Inadequate Charging EquipmentUse of substandard or incompatible charging equipment, such as low-quality cables and adapters
Faulty Battery CellsDefective or degraded battery cells make the battery overheat and catch fire
Charging MisconfigurationIncorrect settings or misconfiguration of the charging system can result in overcharging
Software IssuesFaulty firmware or software updates can cause the vehicle’s charging system to malfunction, resulting in smoking while charging

What To Do: Tesla Smoking While Charging

Tesla Smoking While Charging

There’s not much you can do on your own when you come across actual smoking Tesla rather than just steam. However, there are some protocols that you can do.

  • As soon as you notice smoke, unplug the charging cable from your Tesla and the charging station.
  • Ventilate the area by opening all windows and doors of your car and the garage to disperse any smoke.
  • Contact emergency services if the situation seems severe.
  • Contact Tesla professionals to resolve the root of this problem.
  • Do not attempt to charge your Tesla until the issue has been resolved by a professional.


Let’s check out some commonly asked questions regarding this topic.

1. How common is Tesla Smoking While Charging?

It’s not that common for Tesla users to come across smoke while charging. However, the incident of figuring out it was steam rather than smoke is common. 

2. How can Tesla owners prevent their vehicles from smoking while charging?

Using a high-quality charging cable and keeping the charging area well-ventilated is all you need. Furthermore, ensuring that your Tesla’s battery cells are not damaged is also important.

3. Can I contact Tesla support first instead of an emergency helpline in my country?

If you come across a smoking Tesla, then your priority should be to call the emergency helpline in your country. Once it is safe, you can call the Tesla professionals to take a look at this issue and resolve it.


There’s nothing to worry about if you come across Tesla smoking while charging. It’s most likely steam that occurred due to condensation. However, if you come across a burning odor and black or gray smoke, then it’s concerning. It might be actual smoke.

However, there’s nothing much you can do on your own in this scenario. Just call the emergency helpline and let the professionals handle it. Once it is stated safe, you can ask the Tesla professionals to come in. They should find the reason behind it and resolve the issue.

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