Ontario-based meteorologist Rachel Modestino found the door to her Tesla frozen shut on December 23 when the mercury dropped to -15°C.
In a Twitter video seen more than 10.1 million times, Modestino showed how the handles were covered in thick frost.
Tesla door handles sit flush with the car’s body and pop up out of the door to use, meaning she couldn’t just grab onto it and tug the door open to get inside.
Modestino tweeted: ‘@elonmusk bet ya didn’t think of ice in the Tesla design.’
She stressed that she did preheat the car before trying to open it and used the vehicle’s defrost feature.
‘First Tesla winter, learning a lot,’ she added. ‘Absolutely love the car, don’t get me wrong.’
Twitter users were polarised, to say the least, by Modestino’s struggle to open her Tesla.
One said, ‘If you have a tesla you should have enough money to have it in a garage,’ though Modestino replied saying she doesn’t.
A second user said: ‘You shouldn’t need to use Twitter to learn how to use your expensive car.’
As some people hounded her, Modestino said: ‘OKAY, this went off… Not meant to dig Elon (I love my car). Only tweeted because I thought it was a silly flaw for the price.’
Modestino later revealed that by updating the Tesla smartphone app, she was able to manually open the latch.
A few other Tesla-owning Twitter users said they were also struggling with this too. One person said on Christmas Eve: ‘Can’t even get into my model Y in these temperatures, handle frozen shut… what’s the answer?’
A second said: ‘It it’s freezing outside. My Tesla door handle was frozen – took few minutes just to open the door.’
Another Tesla owner said he was stranded on Christmas Eve when below-freezing temperatures meant his car wouldn’t charge.
TikTok user Domenick Nati showed his dashboard listing the temperature as -7°C and 19 miles remaining until the battery dies.
When Nati tried plugging his car into a charging station by Lynchburg Regional Airport in Virginia, the vehicle’s screen read: ‘Battery is heating – keep charge cable inserted.’
Two hours later, the same message remained.
In a follow-up video, Nati says Tesla towed his vehicle and provided him with a Tesla Model 3 while his was serviced.
Some Twitter and TikTok users used the issues as an excuse to knock electric vehicles in general.
Electric car batteries generally don’t fare too well in the cold, with experts recommending heating up the vehicle’s interior while the battery is recharging.
But electric cars are substantially better for the environment, producing fewer planet-warming fumes and air pollutants than petrol or diesel cars.
And frozen door handles – in chilly Ontario no less – certainly aren’t a Tesla-only problem and do happen to petrol and diesel cars too.
One Twitter user told Modestino: ‘If you park your car outside in freezing rain, you have to be prepared for the aftermath,’
Another added: ‘I have a Nissan Titan XD and it was frozen solid all entries for 9 hours after a road trip to Albuquerque, NM 3 weeks ago. This is life in the zone where stuff freezes.’
It comes as across the pond in the UK, videos of snaking queues of Teslas waiting at charging ports over the holidays went viral.