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Any worries taking my RWD S85 from Seattle to bayarea this XMAS?

howardc64

Member
Oct 19, 2013
172
76
Seattle
Wife is a bit freaked out but I assure her the following

- Plenty of well placed superchargers along the way (I count 7) and she has the 85
- Bring home charger in case road is blocked off somewhere. Just need 110 to keep the car alive + heat
- Check weather reports + road conditions the night before the drive. Go if no snow on ground and in weather forecast in next 24 hours. Start early (say 4am) and should be over the pass by early afternoon.
- I've driven this car in snow before in a Seattle flash storm a couple of years ago. It handles great. I saw plenty of BMWs stuck on the road but Tesla kept on trucking. Of course its a RWD and will feel a little slip here and there but always very brief and car catches traction very quickly.
- Will have brand new stock 19" Goodyear RS-A2s on.

Have a couple of questions for people that have done it

1. Are chains required regardless of conditions over the Sisikyou pass?
2. Any thoughts/corrections on my analysis from above?

Thanks
 
Last edited:

ChadS

Last tank of gas: March 2009
Jul 16, 2009
3,365
2,780
Redmond, WA
I've driven over the Siskiyous in winter in an S85 and hit snow. (I've done it in a Roadster, too). I had chains with me (see THIS thread - Howard, I know you already have) but never had to use them. They may be RWD but the traction control really is pretty good. My thoughts:

1. chains are sometimes required over the Siskiyous, though more often you just have to have winter tires. I would definitely carry chains just in case.
2. winter tires are going to do a lot more for you than AWD. The RS-A2 aren't awful in snow and ice (see HERE), but not what I would consider good either - if you're worried you might look for something better. HERE is Lyon's recent tale of a snowy pass with winter tires. I had the Pirelli Sottozero tires which aren't optimal snow tires, but notably better than the RS-A2s.
3. you can modulate regen with the accelerator, but just in case you suddenly pull your foot when you shouldn't, it's a good idea to turn regen to "LOW" while driving in slippery conditions
4. as you note, the Superchargers are plenty close together for an 85. Your ideas for taking a mobile charger, checking reports and crossing in the afternoon are good ones. I aimed for getting over the pass while it was still daylight, but as late as possible in the day to give snow and ice the most time to melt.

Good luck!
 
Last edited:

howardc64

Member
Oct 19, 2013
172
76
Seattle
Thanks Chad for the reply+PM. Yes, I read about low regen so I'll do that and pick up a set of SCC Z-563s from your post and since that is what Tesla sold in Japan the past

"https://www-origin.teslamotors.com/jp/shop/details/Snow-Chains-(Z-563)"

Bad year for El Nino adds to wife's scare haha.
 
Last edited:

dirkhh

Middle-aged Member
Jul 7, 2013
3,638
128
Portland, OR, USA
Range should be no issue. I've done the trip (from Portland) in a Model S 60 in a massive rain storm. Maybe not as cold as it might be now, but from a range perspective equally devastating. The superchargers are spaced well. Just be generous when topping up in Grants Pass (on the way south) and Mt Shasta (on the way north). More so than seems reasonable :)
And yes, you have to bring chains.
 

kk7p

Member
Oct 15, 2013
150
111
Tucson AZ
I made the trip in December 2014 from Tucson to Mt Vernon (north of Seattle) in a P85. Some snow and ice. I timed things to cross the Siskiyous in daylight in both directions. Zero issues with temperature or traction. No chains used, but had them along.

Last month I took the car through Donner Pass near Reno the day after a snowstorm with lots of ice. Again, no issues.

Wheels are 19", tires are Michelins (standard Tesla tires these days). I carry the chains Tesla sells but, apart from verifying I know how to put them on, have never used them in 43,000+ miles of driving.
 

Lyon

2016 S P100DL, 2016 X P90D
Supporting Member
Dec 26, 2011
2,004
216
Eugene, Oregon
I made the trip in December 2014 from Tucson to Mt Vernon (north of Seattle) in a P85. Some snow and ice. I timed things to cross the Siskiyous in daylight in both directions. Zero issues with temperature or traction. No chains used, but had them along.

Last month I took the car through Donner Pass near Reno the day after a snowstorm with lots of ice. Again, no issues.

Wheels are 19", tires are Michelins (standard Tesla tires these days). I carry the chains Tesla sells but, apart from verifying I know how to put them on, have never used them in 43,000+ miles of driving.

Last year was a strangely dry winter. I would suggest that this year is going to be much more like normal, or even snow-heavy. Snow can pile up quickly at these elevations and the road, which was fine yesterday, can become impassible today.

Check tripcheck.com before you start heading over to be sure, Ashland has lots of lovely places to stay the night. ;)
 

cpa

Active Member
May 17, 2014
3,247
4,411
Central Valley
Thanks Chad for the reply+PM. Yes, I read about low regen so I'll do that and pick up a set of SCC Z-563s from your post and since that is what Tesla sold in Japan the past

"https://www-origin.teslamotors.com/jp/shop/details/Snow-Chains-(Z-563)"

Bad year for El Nino adds to wife's scare haha.


Assure your wife that the phenomenon known as El Nino is a tropical weather pattern, and not an arctic weather pattern. These storms are typically 5-10 degrees warmer than the typical arctic storms that dump snow as low as 2,500 feet. The projections that I have seen indicate the brunt of the rainy weather will affect the southern two-thirds of California with minimal impact north of Shasta Lake. The projections seem to indicate that the snow levels from El Nino type storms will be at 7,000 feet and above.

I would be more concerned with flooded roads and highways from a killer El Nino than nasty snow and ice (unless driving across the central Sierra Nevada.) However, an El Nino does not preclude a typical winter storm emanating from the Gulf of Alaska that could impact your drive from Ashland to Yreka.

Just keep a conservative approach to your level of charge as rainy and windy weather can really chew up those electrons.

For a quick reference here is the web page for our road conditions:

Road Conditions

And, there is an app for your phone (CARR) that you can download to receive up-to-the-minute information not only about chain controls/road closures but also any accidents, traffic hazards, flooding, etc.

Safe journey!
 

howardc64

Member
Oct 19, 2013
172
76
Seattle
Thanks for everyone's comments. Wife prefers we take the Prius instead. I was so looking forward to an entire XMAS on supercharger diet haha.
 

ChadS

Last tank of gas: March 2009
Jul 16, 2009
3,365
2,780
Redmond, WA
Hmm. I've driven through heavy snow in a Prius, and while it did OK - man, I sure would prefer a Tesla.

But hey, if it's what she really wants, it's probably best to not work too hard to talk her out of it.
 

rpo

Member
Jun 12, 2014
419
253
Seattle, Washington
I've done the drive between Seattle and Sacramento 7 times now. It takes ~14 hours to go 800 miles at my typical driving speed. I've never gone over the pass when it was snowing, but have charged at the Mt Shasta supercharger parked on snow and had no issues or concerns. I've leapfrogged quite a few other Tesla drivers going the same direction, so hello to those that I have spoken with.
 

cpa

Active Member
May 17, 2014
3,247
4,411
Central Valley
One last dying attempt to help persuade your wife to take the Tesla:

I usually take OR58 and US97 between Weed and Eugene. This route is a lot flatter than Interstate 5. In fact, the railroad line from California to Seattle takes this route instead of through Ashland, Grants Pass and Roseburg.

Per EVTripplanner, from the Eugene Supercharger to K-Falls is 174 miles using 215 Range Miles. (800 pound payload and 35 degrees.) The Oregon Institute of Technology has an 80A plug, and I believe there is a motel within walking distance--Shilo Inn, so maybe not so hot. From K-Falls to the Mt. Shasta City Supercharger is around 80 miles using 83 Range Miles. The only mountain is Mt. Hebron, about 20 miles from Weed, and it is fifty feet lower in elevation than Siskiyou Pass. (I have not driven this route in winter, but the roads are well-maintained even though two lanes.)

Anyway, check PlugShare if this has some appeal; you can charge for a few hours when you arrive to get enough range to reach Mt. Shasta City, and then plug in and enjoy a nice breakfast at the hotel's restaurant.
 

jerry33

(S85-3/2/13 traded in) X LR: F2611##-3/27/20
Supporting Member
Mar 8, 2012
20,025
24,857
Texas
Wife prefers the Model S to the Prius for any kind of long trips. (A moot point now because she trashed the Prius.)
 

Lyon

2016 S P100DL, 2016 X P90D
Supporting Member
Dec 26, 2011
2,004
216
Eugene, Oregon
I just came back from another ski trip in my RWD Model S. The roads were that polished, packed snow that's incredibly slick. It performed flawlessly. It's heavy, balanced and easy to correct if anything gets untidy... which it almost never does because of the first two things.
 

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