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Disappointing traction control - is it me?

camalaio

Active Member
May 28, 2019
1,483
2,106
Vernon, BC, Canada
Hey folks,

So, I've driven a lot of miles with a few different vehicles in winter.
  • FWD: '92 Nissan Sentra
  • FWD: '97 Mazada 626 V6
  • RWD: '08 Smart fortwo
  • RWD: '0? BMW 5-series (wasn't mine, in-laws', drove it in Winter sometimes)
  • FWD: '09 Honda Fit
  • 4WD: '14 Honda Crosstour V6 (front biased)
While it can be argued I mostly have FWD experience, I'm no stranger to the dynamics of a RWD vehicle. I drove that smart car a lot in Winter for pizza delivery (traction control both on and off) and let me tell you, it left much to be desired for handling. But it was predictable and manageable nonetheless. Same for the BMW. It of course had some oversteer tendencies but was completely manageable without surprises.

I also used to ride a RWD solid-axle sport quad a lot, and you better believe I had that thing sideways wherever I could. Perhaps it's not accurate to say this skill transitions to full-size vehicle handling, but it certainly helps.

I'm familiar with traction control systems. Other than the Nissan and the Mazda above, all my vehicles have had it. They've all behaved more or less admirably and extremely fast.

The Honda Crosstour, while it has a front bias for sure, I knew when and how the rear engaged. Acceleration on snow and ice was always extremely confident, predictable, and manageable. Any loss of traction was responded to much faster than I ever could with my foot.

I actually like Winter driving, because I'm crazy I suppose. Perhaps it makes the boredom of driving become a game of survival in which I cannot break controlled traction for fear of crashing a very expensive hunk of metal into something or someone, meanwhile the odds are stacked against me. I don't drive like a maniac, but I know the limits of my vehicles and think I probably handle my vehicle better than the majority (I know how that sounds but... that's what I think?). The only accident I've been in (not that this is a measure of my driving skill, at all) is one in which I was lightly T-boned with zero fault (by a police officer! :p )

Enter our Model 3. I have no idea why this thing does what it does.

It has been extremely icy here for the last few days, so I've had a lot of opportunity to do both highway and city driving on this ice. The Model 3 has been absolutely the worst vehicle I've even driven in these conditions, except for the Sentra which fishtailed a lot due to sticky rear brakes.

  • Acceleration while moving. If the rear breaks loose and you keep very lightly on the accelerator, it just keeps spinning. There doesn't seem to be much (if any) wheel speed mitigation at all for straight-line acceleration. Because roads are normally slightly banked, this plainly sucks. I wanted to see just how far it would go one time while no one was around, and about 20 degrees sideways later I just lifted off and carried on. It made no attempt to bring the rear under control.
  • Gentle acceleration from a stop. Before I had Chill enabled, the tiniest move forward from a stop could cause the above as well. On icy roads this means spin, off throttle, spin, off throttle, spin, off throttle, until you finally have enough forward momentum (probably 10 km/h or so) that this behavior doesn't happen anymore. Again, this is not a problem I've had in any other vehicle -- there's always been a gentle enough pressure I can apply to get moving without slippage. The Model 3 applies torque in a way that it breaks loose too easily at low speeds.
  • The new "Hold" mode was very obviously not tested in slippery conditions. It locks up for the final bit of speed on icy surfaces. I ended up ~30 degrees sideways at a light because the road was abnormally banked at this light. Based on this, it appears to only be a phenomenon of the rear end, and not the front?
  • The rear motor bias is much too strong for winter driving, especially given that the traction control system does not reign it in very well when traveling in a straight line.
  • What is up with the huge THUNK and lurch when traction control engages at low speeds?! It's like it realizes one axle has no grip available then suddenly engages the other axle 100%. But still, what's up with the audible bang? I've had this happen in dry conditions too on hard acceleration (merging), but it's much more obvious in icy situations.
  • In every loss of traction situation (straight-line acceleration, drift sideways around a corner) I can respond and correct faster than the traction control system. This is completely abnormal and unlike any other vehicle I've driven with a traction control system. It should be able to do much more than I can with a single foot, and be able to do it much faster.
Essentially, it doesn't seem just that the traction control is lacking. The way the motors respond to less resistance (loss of traction) is of course to speed up and maintain speed like any gas-powered car. However, it speeds up fast because it doesn't have all the momentum of a gas vehicle's drivetrain (engine, torque convertor, transmission) so the impact of it is felt much more apparently.

That said, I should probably acknowledge:
  • If it slips out in a corner and the systems actually engage, it regains itself admirably. Yes, later than other vehicles, but it does so confidently and smoothly.
  • For twisty uphills, it performs much better. I can't make sense of this but it's the most confident vehicle I've driven as long as you're going upward. And when I say most, it's by a very large margin.
  • When the traction control system does engage, you oddly feel it through the accelerator pedal? I don't know if this was intentional, but the physical feedback through the foot rather than just audible is very nice. It's like a lighter version of ABS kick. It's odd. I like it.
  • "Chill" mode does more than limit your top acceleration. It does two very important things: It delays your accelerator input (mimics the lag of a traditional gas-powered automatic) and smooths out your accelerator input. This helps immensely to move off the line without breaking loose, even if you are already driving extremely gently. Perhaps it's also limiting the speed increase of the wheels in traction loss scenarios, I'm not sure.
  • "Roll" as a stop mode still works well and doesn't lock up.
  • "Low" regen setting seems to be gentle enough at all speeds even on icy surfaces. You can safely use it and expect it won't cause you any loss of traction. That said, do use the Low setting if it's slippery (regen does not do anything in loss of traction scenarios).

People have praised the traction control in this car and I was really looking forward to it, but I'm just not seeing it. I'm extremely disappointed -- not just in the car, but myself for buying into the hype that it handles so well.


So what's the deal? Is it me? Does our Model 3 have something wrong and it's behaving different to others? Do you experience the same with your AWD Model 3? Please, let me know!

Yes, I have winter tires on. In fact, the Honda Fit and Honda Crosstour also had equivalent Hakkapeliittaas that I have on the Model 3, so this isn't a symptom of worse or better tires.The Crosstour and BMW had X-Ices prior to Hakkas, which were overall worse for the conditions I drove in.
 

justsomeguy

Member
Jul 4, 2019
295
288
Vancouver, Bc
We haven't had snow yet where I am, but even in rain the slip detection to front motor engagement is embarrassingly slow. My mother's honda CRV that's widely regarded as an awful AWD system responds faster.
 

GtiMart

Active Member
Nov 13, 2019
1,274
1,111
Quebec City, Canada
Oh, you're actually giving me hope. I was afraid the traction control / stability system would cut power too much and I could never have fun in a corner. I hope it does let me slip a bit without needing to buy a performance to get track mode... I appreciated my wrx for that.

Seriously though, you also list issues that make me nervous. I live in Quebec City, there will be plenty of snow and ice. I'll try to compare my experience as soon as I get my car in the next couple of weeks.
 
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diamond.g

Active Member
Nov 5, 2015
2,425
1,367
Moyock, NC
This isn't the first thread on how "odd" the Model 3 DM behaves. From what we have gathered so far the car reeeeaaaaallly wants to stay in RWD mode. This is probably because efficiency takes a nose dive when both motors are engaged. Also torque, our cars haz it, which is why the rear slips so easily.
I would be curious to see if giving more throttle would cause the nannies to figure out things faster. I also agree with others from the "older thread" that Tesla probably should add an actual snow mode to the AWD 3's so they act more predictably.
 
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David99

Active Member
Jan 31, 2014
4,850
7,028
Brea, Orange County
That's a little discouraging to hear. I'm a little surprised because my Model S (RWD) has excellent traction and stability control. Driving on slippery and icy roads these last few days has reminded me again how well it works. Both modulating motor power very quickly and efficiently as well as pulsing the brakes to help stabilize the car when it is sliding in turns. SO Tesla definitely has the knowledge and experience to make a well working system. I'm a little surprised it is so much worse in the 3.

(PS: sometimes it is hard to tell online if a person knows what they are talking about or just inexperienced. One sentence gave me confidence that your concern was legit is when you said "I like winter driving'. That says it all. Same here, BTW LOL)
 

Msjulie

Active Member
Jun 26, 2016
2,439
1,748
Monterey Peninsula
I almost missed the small text about having winter tires; your description had me thinking that first as a New England refugee.. it will be curious if the car gets improvements but also how you might master it regardless as I'm sure the instant torque plays some part..
 

mswlogo

Well-Known Member
Aug 27, 2018
6,124
4,737
MA, NH
That is one of many reasons I swapped my Model 3 (Stealth) for an X. Model 3 is one of the worst AWD cars I’ve owned.

Not sure if I missed it, but with Model 3, snow tires are an absolute must have.

I started a similar thread comparing Model 3 to my other cars, namely the Model X.

It seems so blatantly obvious they could offer a snow mode with a different bias and efficiency be damned for snow conditions. And it’s not slip mode.

Model X tromps Model 3 AWD in the snow
 
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Saghost

Well-Known Member
Oct 9, 2013
8,224
7,020
Delaware
I’m not sure what to make of your experience. It does not match my experience with the first X or my expectations for any Tesla. (Haven’t really gotten into those conditions with my Raven yet.)

Tesla traction control is typically among the best in the business, because it’s integrated into the drive inverters, which are synthesizing a three phase AC waveform thousands of times per second to drive the motors, and the traction control routine can slip in to any of those cycles, responding much more quickly than typical ICE systems that have to start with throttling the engine and wait for it to carry through the whole system.

The new Hold mode can only use the rear motor at low speeds on a Model 3 due to the same technical limitations of induction motors that prevent it from being implemented in pre-Raven S/X - it isn’t possible to regen an induction motor at low speeds. (They could certainly do some sort of transition to friction braking to get the same experience if they choose to.)

No idea what your bang is - hysteresis in the front gears? Whatever it is, it doesn’t sound normal or safe.
 
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David99

Active Member
Jan 31, 2014
4,850
7,028
Brea, Orange County
I’m not sure what to make of your experience. It does not match my experience with the first X or my expectations for any Tesla. (Haven’t really gotten into those conditions with my Raven yet.)

You mention your X. Yes the S and X have awesome traction and stability control. He is talking about the 3. Have you driven a 3 in icy conditions?
 

Saghost

Well-Known Member
Oct 9, 2013
8,224
7,020
Delaware
You mention your X. Yes the S and X have awesome traction and stability control. He is talking about the 3. Have you driven a 3 in icy conditions?

I haven’t. I don’t understand why they should be different, but I did see the thread linked above where an owner of both is saying there are big differences.
 

arch4life

Member
Nov 26, 2019
26
59
Michigan
Thanks for writing this post. I'm in michigan and I agree, the car is far worse than my wife's 2011 G37x in the snow. Heavy bias to rear motor use, almost a half second delay until front motor engages to help. Perhaps software update can make this reasonable, but right now, I totally agree with your assessment, as well as the "Clunk" noise when the front powers up. Another pet peeve is that the rear motor will lock the tires attempting to regen when off throttle, around a corner that kicks out the rear of the car fast, and is very unsettling.

Tesla definitely needs to have a snow mode, which engages both motors equally for power, as well as regen, and soften the on throttle applications and soften regen onset to not cause wheel slip unnecessarily.
 
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camalaio

Active Member
May 28, 2019
1,483
2,106
Vernon, BC, Canada
Well, thanks for the replies folks. It seems this is indeed a Model 3 problem. My disappointment is immeasurable and my day is ruined. We got this car for my wife. I hate the wife bashing that occurs on any forum and don't mean to partake in it, but my wife's driving confidence in winter is not the same as mine. She can't have an effectively RWD car for her daily 120km commute on highways and hills with turns. One of our main criteria for her next car was AWD and we were going to get a Subaru originally, but also really wanted an EV. Turns out the EV isn't AWD where it counts for our criteria.

Debating selling it and going to a FWD Chevy Bolt or AWD Mazda 3 (yes, gas). This sucks. I can't recommend a Model 3 to anyone around here because the roads are always just ice.

If anyone at Tesla is reading... can we at least get a statement if Tesla is working on driving modes (including a more true AWD "Snow Mode") for the future? Maybe an Elon tweet? Something? I really don't want to give up the car if something is in the works.

Oh, you're actually giving me hope. I was afraid the traction control / stability system would cut power too much and I could never have fun in a corner. I hope it does let me slip a bit without needing to buy a performance to get track mode... I appreciated my wrx for that.

Seriously though, you also list issues that make me nervous. I live in Quebec City, there will be plenty of snow and ice. I'll try to compare my experience as soon as I get my car in the next couple of weeks.

It doesn't let you have fun, sorry. The things it does let you do without engaging are not "fun", they're concerning. Even with Slip Start enabled, "fun" is not quite available. You'd need track mode to have some proper sideways fun.

Honestly, I think it should rightly make you nervous on ice. In snow it's rather alright (as almost any car is in my opinion, with proper winter tires), the problems mostly come with ice. Ice is a large reality where I live since they salt during the day which freezes either due to more snow diluting it or simply because it gets colder.

This isn't the first thread on how "odd" the Model 3 DM behaves. From what we have gathered so far the car reeeeaaaaallly wants to stay in RWD mode. This is probably because efficiency takes a nose dive when both motors are engaged. Also torque, our cars haz it, which is why the rear slips so easily.
I would be curious to see if giving more throttle would cause the nannies to figure out things faster. I also agree with others from the "older thread" that Tesla probably should add an actual snow mode to the AWD 3's so they act more predictably.

Now that I've seen the video frrom Bjorn, you're not kidding. The only time is engages the front is for rather modest acceleration, far more than what you "should" be doing on winter roads. Essentially, the front motor is only used for performance, not traction. Well, it engages a mild amount on the hill he tested when the rear is slipping, but even this isn't taking advantage of AWD very well. What the hell, Tesla? Where is my AWD?

I'll take a double energy usage hit just to have proper AWD in Winter, and a rear end that is a bit better managed. I'm already going through 30-40% extra energy in Winter, may as well add some more as long as it's providing value.

That's a little discouraging to hear. I'm a little surprised because my Model S (RWD) has excellent traction and stability control. Driving on slippery and icy roads these last few days has reminded me again how well it works. Both modulating motor power very quickly and efficiently as well as pulsing the brakes to help stabilize the car when it is sliding in turns. SO Tesla definitely has the knowledge and experience to make a well working system. I'm a little surprised it is so much worse in the 3.

(PS: sometimes it is hard to tell online if a person knows what they are talking about or just inexperienced. One sentence gave me confidence that your concern was legit is when you said "I like winter driving'. That says it all. Same here, BTW LOL)

:D

I assume your older Model S with the induction motor may have some advantages for Winter. I'm starting to think that the Model 3 rear motor (somewhat more like a stepper motor) requires very rigid speed control and has no inherent ability to coast. This is not ideal for low traction situations at all, and I wonder if what I'm saying is actually true. If so, it would explain the difference.

That said, the new Raven S/X use the Model 3 motors at both the front and rear to my knowledge. I wonder how those are performing.

Watch Bjorn and Dirty Tesla test. They are both in extremely cold locations



I sorta replied to this up above, but wow. It really doesn't use the front motor at all for Winter driving. You need to drive like a maniac to have it engage. Even when he had the rear slipping it was applying what, 25% power compared to the rear to the front motor? Just barely using it? It doesn't look like this was designed for low traction environments at all.

And those aren't even that slippery of surfaces. He's accelerating very hard and it's getting plenty of traction to match. The scenarios I'm talking about have far less available traction. Hmm. I could make a video but I don't have the fancy motor stats stuff, and the rest is hard to tell from a camera.

I haven't watched the second video yet, watching a Bjorn video is always a marathon.

That is one of many reasons I swapped my Model 3 (Stealth) for an X. Model 3 is one of the worst AWD cars I’ve owned.

Not sure if I missed it, but with Model 3, snow tires are an absolute must have.

I started a similar thread comparing Model 3 to my other cars, namely the Model X.

It seems so blatantly obvious they could offer a snow mode with a different bias and efficiency be damned for snow conditions. And it’s not slip mode.

Model X tromps Model 3 AWD in the snow

Dang man, good to know. Yes, I have snow tires and am no stranger to them (I consider them a must on any car). I also see in that thread that a Raven X still has a back induction motor. Just like the Model 3 has a heavy RWD bias, Raven X probably has a heavy FWD bias. I see how that could be doing much better in the snow.

I can't afford to go buy an X of any sort, and it's much too large for me or my wife. I could hang on and hope for a front-enabled "Snow Mode", but I just don't see it as a priority for Tesla. This was all known last Winter as well I suppose, and nothing has been done for this Winter. I genuinely feel terrible for buying a $74,000+ (Canadian dollars) car on an assumption that it would have a much more sophisticated AWD system for snow... and it's the worst one I could have picked. I don't know what to do.

I’m not sure what to make of your experience. It does not match my experience with the first X or my expectations for any Tesla. (Haven’t really gotten into those conditions with my Raven yet.)

Tesla traction control is typically among the best in the business, because it’s integrated into the drive inverters, which are synthesizing a three phase AC waveform thousands of times per second to drive the motors, and the traction control routine can slip in to any of those cycles, responding much more quickly than typical ICE systems that have to start with throttling the engine and wait for it to carry through the whole system.

The new Hold mode can only use the rear motor at low speeds on a Model 3 due to the same technical limitations of induction motors that prevent it from being implemented in pre-Raven S/X - it isn’t possible to regen an induction motor at low speeds. (They could certainly do some sort of transition to friction braking to get the same experience if they choose to.)

No idea what your bang is - hysteresis in the front gears? Whatever it is, it doesn’t sound normal or safe.

As above, I think with an older X with induction motors you may be in the clear. It's the new motor design used in the Model 3 and Raven S/X that seems to require a heavy bias. In the X, this bias will be on the front so you'll have a primarily FWD Model X. Should handle more confidently in Winter than the primarily RWD Model 3 I'm experiencing.

What you describe is exactly why I expected the traction control to be the best I've ever experienced. Maybe that was true of the older induction motors, but it's not true of the new Model 3 rear motor design.

Good point on the rear motor with the new "Hold" stop mode though, that could explain why it seems to be only the rear that locks up.

Thanks for writing this post. I'm in michigan and I agree, the car is far worse than my wife's 2011 G37x in the snow. Heavy bias to rear motor use, almost a half second delay until front motor engages to help. Perhaps software update can make this reasonable, but right now, I totally agree with your assessment, as well as the "Clunk" noise when the front powers up. Another pet peeve is that the rear motor will lock the tires attempting to regen when off throttle, around a corner that kicks out the rear of the car fast, and is very unsettling.

Tesla definitely needs to have a snow mode, which engages both motors equally for power, as well as regen, and soften the on throttle applications and soften regen onset to not cause wheel slip unnecessarily.

Another "dang man", but thanks for chiming in. Especially about the clunk, you're the first to corroborate that. For the regen, set it to Low (if you haven't) and see if that helps? I'd still prefer a no-regen mode for truly terrible conditions though, locking the rear is always going to be a concern especially if you don't have the best tires for the conditions. I hadn't thought of that.
 
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Saghost

Well-Known Member
Oct 9, 2013
8,224
7,020
Delaware
Well, thanks for the replies folks. It seems this is indeed a Model 3 problem. My disappointment is immeasurable and my day is ruined. We got this car for my wife. I hate the wife bashing that occurs on any forum and don't mean to partake in it, but my wife's driving confidence in winter is not the same as mine. She can't have an effectively RWD car for her daily 120km commute on highways and hills with turns. One of our main criteria for her next car was AWD and we were going to get a Subaru originally, but also really wanted an EV. Turns out the EV isn't AWD where it counts for our criteria.

Debating selling it and going to a FWD Chevy Bolt or AWD Mazda 3 (yes, gas). This sucks. I can't recommend a Model 3 to anyone around here because the roads are always just ice.

If anyone at Tesla is reading... can we at least get a statement if Tesla is working on driving modes (including a more true AWD "Snow Mode") for the future? Maybe an Elon tweet? Something? I really don't want to give up the car if something is in the works.



It doesn't let you have fun, sorry. The things it does let you do without engaging are not "fun", they're concerning. Even with Slip Start enabled, "fun" is not quite available. You'd need track mode to have some proper sideways fun.

Honestly, I think it should rightly make you nervous on ice. In snow it's rather alright (as almost any car is in my opinion, with proper winter tires), the problems mostly come with ice. Ice is a large reality where I live since they salt during the day which freezes either due to more snow diluting it or simply because it gets colder.



Now that I've seen the video frrom Bjorn, you're not kidding. The only time is engages the front is for rather modest acceleration, far more than what you "should" be doing on winter roads. Essentially, the front motor is only used for performance, not traction. Well, it engages a mild amount on the hill he tested when the rear is slipping, but even this isn't taking advantage of AWD very well. What the hell, Tesla? Where is my AWD?

I'll take a double energy usage hit just to have proper AWD in Winter, and a rear end that is a bit better managed. I'm already going through 30-40% extra energy in Winter, may as well add some more as long as it's providing value.



:D

I assume your older Model S with the induction motor may have some advantages for Winter. I'm starting to think that the Model 3 rear motor (somewhat more like a stepper motor) requires very rigid speed control and has no inherent ability to coast. This is not ideal for low traction situations at all, and I wonder if what I'm saying is actually true. If so, it would explain the difference.

That said, the new Raven S/X use the Model 3 motors at both the front and rear to my knowledge. I wonder how those are performing.



I sorta replied to this up above, but wow. It really doesn't use the front motor at all for Winter driving. You need to drive like a maniac to have it engage. Even when he had the rear slipping it was applying what, 25% power compared to the rear to the front motor? Just barely using it? It doesn't look like this was designed for low traction environments at all.

And those aren't even that slippery of surfaces. He's accelerating very hard and it's getting plenty of traction to match. The scenarios I'm talking about have far less available traction. Hmm. I could make a video but I don't have the fancy motor stats stuff, and the rest is hard to tell from a camera.

I haven't watched the second video yet, watching a Bjorn video is always a marathon.



Dang man, good to know. Yes, I have snow tires and am no stranger to them (I consider them a must on any car). I also see in that thread that a Raven X still has a back induction motor. Just like the Model 3 has a heavy RWD bias, Raven X probably has a heavy FWD bias. I see how that could be doing much better in the snow.

I can't afford to go buy an X of any sort, and it's much too large for me or my wife. I could hang on and hope for a front-enabled "Snow Mode", but I just don't see it as a priority for Tesla. This was all known last Winter as well I suppose, and nothing has been done for this Winter. I genuinely feel terrible for buying a $74,000+ (Canadian dollars) car on an assumption that it would have a much more sophisticated AWD system for snow... and it's the worst one I could have picked. I don't know what to do.



As above, I think with an older X with induction motors you may be in the clear. It's the new motor design used in the Model 3 and Raven S/X that seems to require a heavy bias. In the X, this bias will be on the front so you'll have a primarily FWD Model X. Should handle more confidently in Winter than the primarily RWD Model 3 I'm experiencing.

What you describe is exactly why I expected the traction control to be the best I've ever experienced. Maybe that was true of the older induction motors, but it's not true of the new Model 3 rear motor design.

Good point on the rear motor with the new "Hold" stop mode though, that could explain why it seems to be only the rear that locks up.



Another "dang man", but thanks for chiming in. Especially about the clunk, you're the first to corroborate that. For the regen, set it to Low (if you haven't) and see if that helps? I'd still prefer a no-regen mode for truly terrible conditions though, locking the rear is always going to be a concern especially if you don't have the best tires for the conditions. I hadn't thought of that.

Ravens have a “Model 3 rear motor” in the front and an induction motor in the rear for all versions. Some of the induction motors are bigger than others, though.
 

Daniel in SD

Well-Known Member
Jan 25, 2018
6,955
9,871
San Diego
What the hell, Tesla? Where is my AWD?
The answer is very simple. The rear motor in the Model 3 is much more efficient than the front motor. To maximize efficiency the car only sends power to the rear motor at low throttle unless wheel slip is detected. It does not drive like a true AWD car in slippery conditions. They should add a 50/50 torque split winter mode.
 

Saghost

Well-Known Member
Oct 9, 2013
8,224
7,020
Delaware
The answer is very simple. The rear motor in the Model 3 is much more efficient than the front motor. To maximize efficiency the car only sends power to the rear motor at low throttle unless wheel slip is detected. It does not drive like a true AWD car in slippery conditions. They should add a 50/50 torque split winter mode.

I'm not sure there's a one true way for AWD systems - they range from amazing (torsen, symmetric) to nearly useless (toyota hybrid, some early haldex.)

But I'm surprised at this result - Tesla should be able to do a lot better than this, especially with their history and data on the S/X. They know exactly how much torque it started slipping at, they know the temperature, they should be able to adjust power flow dynamically on the fly for best results in the snow or on ice, with no need for a user to set a mode. It's a usually very smart car.

You know, something like this:

Climate Change: 2014 Tesla Model S P85D

And what, I ask, if the driver's intent is to have fun? To be sideways with four roostertails of snow in the world's longest, quietest drift? He says I'm very likely the only Model S driver who would ever want this. He may have a point. The conversation ends with me convinced tomorrow's snow-course session will be one big festival of slow.

With only a few vehicles on track at any time, it takes a while to figure out who's fastest.

That turns out to be a black E60-chassis BMW M5, license plate TRAKDAY, showering everyone with the haunting wail of its 8250-rpm V10. Not to mention the two beautiful streams of snow being thrown 50 feet into the air by the car's aggressive Nokian Hakkapeliitta snow and ice tires. When I finally manage to pull onto the course behind it, the P85D lunges toward the Bimmer like it's going for the kill. Then, I turn the steering wheel and the computer pulls the plug. Curses fly. Every corner-entry Scandinavian flick gives a glimpse of the P85D's neutral handling just before it's extinguished by stability control. There's no point fighting it—the fastest way around the track is with your foot on the floor, minimizing steering inputs and allowing the computer to do all the work.

It's infuriating to know there's a brilliant chassis here but not being allowed to indulge it. It's also shocking how fast the P85D is despite all this—it catches the M5 within a few corners. With me riding in his wake, the BMW driver pushes even harder but only gets more sideways. It's a joy to watch, but the M5 is not nearly as capable as the Model S. No car here is—the P85D is so much faster than the other cars, I wind up tormenting them like those Lamborghinis back in California. Only this time, it is no fun at all.
 

justsomeguy

Member
Jul 4, 2019
295
288
Vancouver, Bc
The answer is very simple. The rear motor in the Model 3 is much more efficient than the front motor. To maximize efficiency the car only sends power to the rear motor at low throttle unless wheel slip is detected. It does not drive like a true AWD car in slippery conditions. They should add a 50/50 torque split winter mode.
Many AWD systems behave this way, especially the FWD bias econobox haldex setups. Tesla's slip torque transfer is just very slow/limited compared to those.

EDIT: Not tesla in general, as the dual induction motor ones seem to be excellent. It appears this is unique to the mixed motor setup.
 

SSonnentag

Rocket Scientist
Apr 11, 2017
1,744
2,192
Arizona
I had no idea the Model 3 was so different from the S and X. I have no experience with the 3, but our S and X are absolutely amazing on snow and ice.
 

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