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85D in the rain

Discussion in 'Model S: Driving Dynamics' started by flyeyes, May 19, 2015.

  1. flyeyes

    flyeyes Member

    May 10, 2015
    Memphis, TN
    I've had my 85 D for about three weeks, just over 1000 miles, and just completed my first road trip.

    The night before, we had the first significant rain since I'd gotten the car and I took it out to see how it handled in the wet.


    I've owned a bunch of cars with excellent traction control, and owned four with full time AWD. I've driven a handful of others with AWD as well. Most of those were equipped with all-season tires, but I had high-performance summer tires on some of them. I live in Memphis, TN so snow tires are an affectation except for 2-3 days a year. The 85D is equipped with 19" Michelins.

    The 85D is better on very wet streets than any car I've owned. I anticipated being able to break it loose at will with the torque but I really had to work at it and frankly abuse it to get sideways at all. The level of grip available is just astonishing. The traction control is very unobtrusive.

    The porsches I've owned (a 987 and 997S) would allow the car to get a little sideways before intervening (7 degrees IIRC) which was more entertaining, but they didn't have this much grip. Or torque.

    The bad news is the wipers and the energy consumption in heavy rain.

    The wipers are on the weak side of barely adequate. The rain sensor works well as far as I can tell, but the wipers themselves are just anemic. The car betrays its southern california roots here, as I've lived in Orange County and supect they'd be more than enough for SoCal type of rain. I normally use Rain-x on the sunroof and back windows of my cars, but this is the first one in years I might need to keep up with the windshield as well. There might be an issue with my wipers, as they "oscillate" as they move across the windshield and seem overly flexible. I'll try to post a video when I have the time.

    On my road trip, about 30% of the miles were driven on wet or damp roads and mild-to-moderate rain. As expected energy usage went up a bit under these conditions. In heavy rain though, Wh/mi went through the roof which surprised me. During one period of heavy rain I saw a sustained 800+ Wh/mi for about 5 miles on level ground at about 50-55 mph which is what traffic was maintaining. This was under a frontal thunderstorm with gusty winds (quartering headwind), heavy rain that was leaving standing water on the roadway. This was enough to erode a big part of my "buffer" for the 204 mile trip. There are no superchargers within the range of a Tesla from Memphis.
  2. Stoneymonster

    Stoneymonster Active Member

    Jan 8, 2013
    Aptos, Ca
    Northern California roots :) But yeah, the wipers could be stronger, but they did ok in a recent heavy thunderstorm up here so you might want to have yours checked. It's not just Tesla though, a lot of the more recent cars I've owned could do better here.
  3. No2DinosaurFuel

    Apr 16, 2015
    San Diego, California
    Yeah I test drove the S85D during SoCal rain recently and I was very pleased with the handling. The car was firmly planted on the road. No sign of slipperage or gliding. This was under hard acceleration. My old Civic would kick in the Vehicle Stability Control with that hard of acceleration. Of course the Civic is a 2WD front wheel, but still I had full confident to drive in wet hard with the S85D.
  4. Cottonwood

    Cottonwood Roadster#433, Model S#S37

    Feb 27, 2009
    #4 Cottonwood, May 19, 2015
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 13, 2016
    It does pretty well in the snow, also...


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