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5 Years with a Tesla Model S in the Midwest-June 2022

The Car: I bought a Model S 90D AWD during a special promotion in September 2017, so the car has now been through 5 midwestern winters. The promotion included the transfer of a code from a family member (my son who had previously purchased a Model X) worth $1000 plus free supercharging for as long as I owned the car. The car is driven about 7,000 miles a year, as were the previous sporty cars I had owned and driven daily to/from work. The Tesla has also hit the road for trips within a 500-mile radius, so I’ve had a nice opportunity to use the free supercharging. Prior to purchase, we took 2 test drives—the first was in nice weather and convinced my wife and I that this was a great car and the second in the winter to convince me that it functioned well in the cold. Both were worthwhile drives and we were ready to buy when the promotion began.



Charging: We installed the charger in the garage for $200 parts and labor, using the mobile charging unit that comes with the car. Yes, 2 hundred dollars. We had increased our electrical capacity a few years previously, and could easily add a 240V charging station, so the final steps were simple. The car is charged at night when needed at the lowest cost of electricity. When we first got the car, I calculated that the charging cost was $18/month—it may be a little higher now, but gasoline prices are much higher. The Tesla supercharging network was good when I bought the car and has continued to get better. Driving on the interstates and other major 4-lane hgihways has beome simple and there is always a supercharger within about a 150-mile distance.



Maintenance: I’ve taken the car to Tesla Service each year to have it checked. The only replacement that I’ve needed so far were new tires at the end of year 3—tires don’t last as long on this heavy speed demon. The only repair was this year for two new scroll wheels on the steering wheel that is used to control speech for radio and navigation. This was a bit of a snafu—I went to Tesla service twice, but they first didn’t have the part and then they had the wrong part. The replacement was finally done at my home by mobile service at no extra cost. At the first of these visits this year, I also had two minor recall matters resolved. Thus, I’ve had decent service, but I must ding them for the poor service on the scroll wheels—they are an important part of the car, and the car loses functionality and safety when they are not working. They should always have the proper replacements available.



Driving: I’ll make this short--I love driving this car. Driving is wonderful under all conditions. The acceleration is great, and the regenerative breaking is even better. I will often take a 150-mile round trip drive and rarely use the brakes. I find the car comfortable for myself and we often drive with 4 adults, all of whom say the car is comfortable. I chose the Model S over some well-known sports cars in order to see what the future will look like and I’m very glad that I did.



Battery and the Weather: The stated range for the car was 300 miles when new and is now 285 miles. Over the course of a typical year, I get 50-90% of that level. In the winter, especially when all my trips are within 5-10 miles of home and the temperature is near or below freezing (we’ve had temps as low as -20F during this period), I get about 50% of the theoretical max. During the nicest weather on trips of 100-500 miles, I get 85-90% of the max. But, when temps exceed 90F, the range is modulated by how much a/c is needed and is typically more like 80% of max. This change based on weather is almost never discussed in car reviews but is an important consideration in the Midwest (certainly compared to CA). I wouldn’t like to be without a home charger in the Midwest, or live close to a charging station. Of course, even trickle flow from 110V electricity would be a help.



Snow and ice: We’ve had frequent snowstorms during each of the winter, but mostly 2-4” at a time, and the Tesla took that in stride. We had only one heavy snowfall of over 12”, but the plows got that down to a manageable level before I got on the road. We have to go up a pretty steep hill to leave our sub-division and the Tesla was always surefooted and I never had any problem. It is very stable on snowy/icy roads, and I found that I could drive anywhere with it. The heavy battery becomes an advantage and the AWD works nicely. The Model S has a low clearance, so I don’t know about driving in heavy snow, but that’s not a major problem anymore.



Summary: The Teslas (I think that my comments in regard to the battery are germane for any of the models) work well in the Midwest in the cold and snow. I love driving the car and have spent very little money on charging and maintenance. Range anxiety is not much of an issue where I live, but for driving off the beaten path, we have a hybrid SUV that is a good compromise for now. But, as the charging networks are extended, I think EVs will be the standard within a few years.


Tesla_Model_S_and_rainbow.jpg

(Steve Jurvetson, CC BY 2.0 <Creative Commons — Attribution 2.0 Generic — CC BY 2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons)
 
Last edited by a moderator:
The Car: I bought a Model S 90D AWD during a special promotion in September 2017, so the car has now been through 5 midwestern winters. The promotion included the transfer of a code from a family member (my son who had previously purchased a Model X) worth $1000 plus free supercharging for as long as I owned the car. The car is driven about 7,000 miles a year, as were the previous sporty cars I had owned and driven daily to/from work. The Tesla has also hit the road for trips within a 500-mile radius, so I’ve had a nice opportunity to use the free supercharging. Prior to purchase, we took 2 test drives—the first was in nice weather and convinced my wife and I that this was a great car and the second in the winter to convince me that it functioned well in the cold. Both were worthwhile drives and we were ready to buy when the promotion began.



Charging: We installed the charger in the garage for $200 parts and labor, using the mobile charging unit that comes with the car. Yes, 2 hundred dollars. We had increased our electrical capacity a few years previously, and could easily add a 240V charging station, so the final steps were simple. The car is charged at night when needed at the lowest cost of electricity. When we first got the car, I calculated that the charging cost was $18/month—it may be a little higher now, but gasoline prices are much higher. The Tesla supercharging network was good when I bought the car and has continued to get better. Driving on the interstates and other major 4-lane hgihways has beome simple and there is always a supercharger within about a 150-mile distance.



Maintenance: I’ve taken the car to Tesla Service each year to have it checked. The only replacement that I’ve needed so far were new tires at the end of year 3—tires don’t last as long on this heavy speed demon. The only repair was this year for two new scroll wheels on the steering wheel that is used to control speech for radio and navigation. This was a bit of a snafu—I went to Tesla service twice, but they first didn’t have the part and then they had the wrong part. The replacement was finally done at my home by mobile service at no extra cost. At the first of these visits this year, I also had two minor recall matters resolved. Thus, I’ve had decent service, but I must ding them for the poor service on the scroll wheels—they are an important part of the car, and the car loses functionality and safety when they are not working. They should always have the proper replacements available.



Driving: I’ll make this short--I love driving this car. Driving is wonderful under all conditions. The acceleration is great, and the regenerative breaking is even better. I will often take a 150-mile round trip drive and rarely use the brakes. I find the car comfortable for myself and we often drive with 4 adults, all of whom say the car is comfortable. I chose the Model S over some well-known sports cars in order to see what the future will look like and I’m very glad that I did.



Battery and the Weather: The stated range for the car was 300 miles when new and is now 285 miles. Over the course of a typical year, I get 50-90% of that level. In the winter, especially when all my trips are within 5-10 miles of home and the temperature is near or below freezing (we’ve had temps as low as -20F during this period), I get about 50% of the theoretical max. During the nicest weather on trips of 100-500 miles, I get 85-90% of the max. But, when temps exceed 90F, the range is modulated by how much a/c is needed and is typically more like 80% of max. This change based on weather is almost never discussed in car reviews but is an important consideration in the Midwest (certainly compared to CA). I wouldn’t like to be without a home charger in the Midwest, or live close to a charging station. Of course, even trickle flow from 110V electricity would be a help.



Snow and ice: We’ve had frequent snowstorms during each of the winter, but mostly 2-4” at a time, and the Tesla took that in stride. We had only one heavy snowfall of over 12”, but the plows got that down to a manageable level before I got on the road. We have to go up a pretty steep hill to leave our sub-division and the Tesla was always surefooted and I never had any problem. It is very stable on snowy/icy roads, and I found that I could drive anywhere with it. The heavy battery becomes an advantage and the AWD works nicely. The Model S has a low clearance, so I don’t know about driving in heavy snow, but that’s not a major problem anymore.



Summary: The Teslas (I think that my comments in regard to the battery are germane for any of the models) work well in the Midwest in the cold and snow. I love driving the car and have spent very little money on charging and maintenance. Range anxiety is not much of an issue where I live, but for driving off the beaten path, we have a hybrid SUV that is a good compromise for now. But, as the charging networks are extended, I think EVs will be the standard within a few years.


View attachment 820712
(Steve Jurvetson, CC BY 2.0 <Creative Commons — Attribution 2.0 Generic — CC BY 2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons)
I live in midwest and concur on all your comments. It is a great car. I've had NO maintenance items in 3 full years and only replaced the front tires so far ($300) and the hepa filter ($300). 1 recall for trunk cable check. Great in snow--have driven in 6-8" snow and it just plows right thru. If deeper, I could always raise the suspension. Love my Tesla. Just bought out lease for $55,000 on my car that is selling for $85,000 plus. And free charging stays with me/owner. Compared to my previous BMW 5s, it's almost half the overall cost to own and way more fun to drive, plus contributing improving our environment. Thank you Elon for perservering and producing these cars.
 
Here in the PNW we get mild winters but I’ve had a couple of opportunities to test my MS in snow and ice. People are mindblown watching how easily I get around. Michelin Pilot Alpin 4s help. Was worried about low temps affecting range. It was negligible. Have owned many vehicles over the years. This is by far my favorite. Saving up for a Plaid now because fun.
 
damn you don't drive much your 5 year millage is my 1 year mileage 😂 I'm at 145k miles in 5 years.

You're right on the snow though, I drive mine in the heavy snow in California and it has no issues. Its fun to drive by those other cars and truck on the side of the road putting on their chains in the cold and I'm just smiling and laughing while i drive right on by.
 

Microvar

New Member
Jun 18, 2022
1
0
MN
The Car: I bought a Model S 90D AWD during a special promotion in September 2017, so the car has now been through 5 midwestern winters. The promotion included the transfer of a code from a family member (my son who had previously purchased a Model X) worth $1000 plus free supercharging for as long as I owned the car. The car is driven about 7,000 miles a year, as were the previous sporty cars I had owned and driven daily to/from work. The Tesla has also hit the road for trips within a 500-mile radius, so I’ve had a nice opportunity to use the free supercharging. Prior to purchase, we took 2 test drives—the first was in nice weather and convinced my wife and I that this was a great car and the second in the winter to convince me that it functioned well in the cold. Both were worthwhile drives and we were ready to buy when the promotion began.



Charging: We installed the charger in the garage for $200 parts and labor, using the mobile charging unit that comes with the car. Yes, 2 hundred dollars. We had increased our electrical capacity a few years previously, and could easily add a 240V charging station, so the final steps were simple. The car is charged at night when needed at the lowest cost of electricity. When we first got the car, I calculated that the charging cost was $18/month—it may be a little higher now, but gasoline prices are much higher. The Tesla supercharging network was good when I bought the car and has continued to get better. Driving on the interstates and other major 4-lane hgihways has beome simple and there is always a supercharger within about a 150-mile distance.



Maintenance: I’ve taken the car to Tesla Service each year to have it checked. The only replacement that I’ve needed so far were new tires at the end of year 3—tires don’t last as long on this heavy speed demon. The only repair was this year for two new scroll wheels on the steering wheel that is used to control speech for radio and navigation. This was a bit of a snafu—I went to Tesla service twice, but they first didn’t have the part and then they had the wrong part. The replacement was finally done at my home by mobile service at no extra cost. At the first of these visits this year, I also had two minor recall matters resolved. Thus, I’ve had decent service, but I must ding them for the poor service on the scroll wheels—they are an important part of the car, and the car loses functionality and safety when they are not working. They should always have the proper replacements available.



Driving: I’ll make this short--I love driving this car. Driving is wonderful under all conditions. The acceleration is great, and the regenerative breaking is even better. I will often take a 150-mile round trip drive and rarely use the brakes. I find the car comfortable for myself and we often drive with 4 adults, all of whom say the car is comfortable. I chose the Model S over some well-known sports cars in order to see what the future will look like and I’m very glad that I did.



Battery and the Weather: The stated range for the car was 300 miles when new and is now 285 miles. Over the course of a typical year, I get 50-90% of that level. In the winter, especially when all my trips are within 5-10 miles of home and the temperature is near or below freezing (we’ve had temps as low as -20F during this period), I get about 50% of the theoretical max. During the nicest weather on trips of 100-500 miles, I get 85-90% of the max. But, when temps exceed 90F, the range is modulated by how much a/c is needed and is typically more like 80% of max. This change based on weather is almost never discussed in car reviews but is an important consideration in the Midwest (certainly compared to CA). I wouldn’t like to be without a home charger in the Midwest, or live close to a charging station. Of course, even trickle flow from 110V electricity would be a help.



Snow and ice: We’ve had frequent snowstorms during each of the winter, but mostly 2-4” at a time, and the Tesla took that in stride. We had only one heavy snowfall of over 12”, but the plows got that down to a manageable level before I got on the road. We have to go up a pretty steep hill to leave our sub-division and the Tesla was always surefooted and I never had any problem. It is very stable on snowy/icy roads, and I found that I could drive anywhere with it. The heavy battery becomes an advantage and the AWD works nicely. The Model S has a low clearance, so I don’t know about driving in heavy snow, but that’s not a major problem anymore.



Summary: The Teslas (I think that my comments in regard to the battery are germane for any of the models) work well in the Midwest in the cold and snow. I love driving the car and have spent very little money on charging and maintenance. Range anxiety is not much of an issue where I live, but for driving off the beaten path, we have a hybrid SUV that is a good compromise for now. But, as the charging networks are extended, I think EVs will be the standard within a few years.


View attachment 820712
(Steve Jurvetson, CC BY 2.0 <Creative Commons — Attribution 2.0 Generic — CC BY 2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons)
Appreciate the review, I am in MN with even more snow and colder and the 2015 70d Model S has been great.
 
Thank you for the write-up LouS. I am glad you are enjoying your Tesla! What is the maximum Supercharging power that you get at V3 250 kW stations for your 2017 Model S? Are you able to get up to 250 kW now with the 2022 software version, or something lower as a maximum, like 175 kW? I know 2022 Teslas all support 250 kW Supercharging (and possibly even higher).
 
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