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Disappointing traction control - is it me?

ZOMGVTEK

Member
May 19, 2015
559
442
'Merica
Your impressions are entirely in line with my experiences as well. The AWD model has dynamics closer to a RWD car in snow.

I find this to be preferable, but its concerning for the average person buying AWD for 'confidence' in winter. They could use a winter mode with a front bias for sure. Model 3 AWD with its stock all seasons is absolutely the 'worst' winter car ive driven so far, at least for the typical AWD buyer. Its brilliant for the enthusiast, but likely horrifying for someone just trying to get where they're going. The traction control is really slow to send power to the front, and the stability control isn't always fast enough to stop the car from spinning under throttle.

Good snow tires help quite a lot. It gives the system more feedback and authority to fix the problem.
 
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Daniel in SD

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Jan 25, 2018
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San Diego
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.
FWD cars have much more of their weight over the drive wheels and they understeer instead of oversteer when they lose traction.
Tesla could easily add a 50/50 torque split mode. I suspect they want to solve the problem using neural nets. haha.
 
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mswlogo

Well-Known Member
Aug 27, 2018
6,183
5,340
MA, NH
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 was in denial mode with the Model 3 for a while.

Really good snows help a ton. If you know how it works for (low speed) you just goose it and the front motor will kick in, instantly, not the best but it helps in some situations. In hindsight I might have given up the super quiet X-Ice snows for a slightly noisier slightly snow grippier Nokian R3.

Tesla really should add a snow mode. It technically seems like a no brainer. And maybe not just on 3. A "4WD mode" on all Tesla's 50-50 torque at all speeds (or what ever is best for slick conditions).

Not sure if it's already listed as feature a request, I'd vote or add it to the web site below. I'd try to be crystal clear on the issue and the feature request so it gets up voted. All AWD Model 3 owners in snow country should be concerned about this.

MoreTesla.com

Couple Tweets might help too. Needs to be really concise and clear.

Yes the Raven X is Front Wheel biased. Checked it today on Scan My Tesla.
 
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mswlogo

Well-Known Member
Aug 27, 2018
6,183
5,340
MA, NH
FWD cars have much more of their weight over the drive wheels and they understeer instead of oversteer when they lose traction.
Tesla could easily add a 50/50 torque split mode. I suspect they want to solve the problem using neural nets. haha.

I used to think that too.

It's not just "Weight over drive wheels". FWD even with 50-50 balance is so much easier to drive in snow for the average driver than RWD.

Basically based on the current behavior and your comment AWD buys you very little.

And for the record the Raven X initially is 60% biased in the front at take off. I'm not sure what the Model 3 is, but it feels like 0 (all rear all the time unless you goose it). Not sure what the Pre-Raven does. I think it might be 50% at start (equally efficient motors). And possibly 50% when cruising. I need to catch up on those (Scan My Tesla) threads.
 

mswlogo

Well-Known Member
Aug 27, 2018
6,183
5,340
MA, NH
FWD cars have much more of their weight over the drive wheels and they understeer instead of oversteer when they lose traction.
Tesla could easily add a 50/50 torque split mode. I suspect they want to solve the problem using neural nets. haha.

Regardless of our disagreement on FWD vs RWD, I think we all agree that is what's needed. Except the NN part ;)
 

inikkor

Member
Apr 26, 2019
78
73
Boston MA
If you have drive sport performance cars, and from your list it doesn't appear you have while delivering your pizzas, you wouldn't be complaining so much.

Model 3 correctly behaves like a RWD sports cars and it drives in the snow exactly like one. Where is the big surprise? I got my first experience a couple of nights ago. Very bad road conditions with many accidents and cars that were stuck left and right. Stand out was as Porsche Macan that didn't want to move uphill. We passed it and drove up without any issues.

I agree with you that some skills are required but that is what makes the Model 3 such an exciting car to drive in dry and slippery conditions alike.

Please Tesla don't change anything! Unless of course, you want to enter the pizza delivery market.

P.S. Gosh! sports cars don't drive like quads!!!!

P.S.S please go ahead and trade UP for a Volt

Piece
 

ZOMGVTEK

Member
May 19, 2015
559
442
'Merica
Oddly enough, lots of times hammering the throttle usually stabilizes the car if you're getting a bit of tail wag. The MXM4's are appalling in snowy/icy conditions compared to a dedicated snow. I have Hakka 9's now and its a lot better but still a bit more squirmy than the FWD Leaf with Hakka R2's. Just imagine you're Clarkson and hammer the throttle everywhere you go.
 

Daniel in SD

Well-Known Member
Jan 25, 2018
7,065
10,530
San Diego
If you have drive sport performance cars, and from your list it doesn't appear you have while delivering your pizzas, you wouldn't be complaining so much.

Model 3 correctly behaves like a RWD sports cars and it drives in the snow exactly like one. Where is the big surprise? I got my first experience a couple of nights ago. Very bad road conditions with many accidents and cars that were stuck left and right. Stand out was as Porsche Macan that didn't want to move uphill. We passed it and drove up without any issues.

I agree with you that some skills are required but that is what makes the Model 3 such an exciting car to drive in dry and slippery conditions alike.

Please Tesla don't change anything! Unless of course, you want to enter the pizza delivery market.

P.S. Gosh! sports cars don't drive like quads!!!!

P.S.S please go ahead and trade UP for a Volt

Piece
It drives worse than my old Subaru which had zero electronic nannies. The irony is that on dry pavement it drives like an AWD car, plenty of understeer. It's really the worst of both worlds though I'm sure the Performance is better on dry pavement.
Obviously snow tires would improve things but they're not really practical in SoCal.
 

Daniel in SD

Well-Known Member
Jan 25, 2018
7,065
10,530
San Diego
It's not just "Weight over drive wheels". FWD even with 50-50 balance is so much easier to drive in snow for the average driver than RWD.
I've never heard of a FWD car with a 50/50 weight distribution. I guess it would be good for doing epic burnouts!
I think we're agreeing that FWD is easier to drive in the snow than RWD.
 
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diamond.g

Active Member
Nov 5, 2015
2,431
1,395
Moyock, NC
For the folks in snow country, do you see the traction control light blink when it feels like there isn’t enough traction? Annoyingly Bjorn didn’t include the screen in the feed so it is hard to know if the car was pulling power due to slipping or not.
 

AlanSubie4Life

Efficiency Obsessed Member
Oct 22, 2018
10,912
13,663
San Diego
dry pavement it drives like an AWD car, plenty of understeer. It's really the worst of both worlds though I'm sure the Performance is better on dry pavement.

FWIW, apparently most of the power difference between Performance and AWD is due to how much power the FRONT drive unit puts out (though below peak power, the power distribution is pretty similar front and rear between the two vehicles).

EDIT: to be clear, these are presumably full “throttle” distribution numbers (dry pavement)...as discussed, really with light accelerator application it’s all going to the rear, apparently. I guess to get good AWD you have to floor it, as people suggest. ;)

Credit to whoever posted this picture somewhere else in this forum... (to be clear, these are INPUT power numbers to the motors; they don't represent the "crank" HP, due to the motors not being 100% efficient. And the front is a bit less efficient than the rear...)

upload_2019-12-3_16-37-8.png
 
Last edited:

Daniel in SD

Well-Known Member
Jan 25, 2018
7,065
10,530
San Diego
FWIW, apparently most of the power difference between Performance and AWD is due to how much power the FRONT drive unit puts out (though below peak power, the power distribution is pretty similar front and rear between the two vehicles).

Credit to whoever posted this picture somewhere else in this forum...

View attachment 484395
This is at full throttle of course. I'm a bit surprised the front power is that low on the AWD. It really feels like the front tires are clawing at the pavement when I hammer it around corners. Who knows what the stability and traction control are up to though.
I'm also surprised that the P can put down that much power to the front wheels with the MXM4 tires. I'd expect there to be major wheel spin due to weight transfer.
I've read that in track mode the P cars are much more tail happy. It would be neat to see the power distribution between front and rear on a hot lap around a track.
 

camalaio

Active Member
May 28, 2019
1,483
2,181
Vernon, BC, Canada
Another classic camalaio all-responses-at-once post....

I created a feature request here: MoreTesla.com
Please upvote if you agree!


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 pretty sure we're in agreement with each other, but I don't care about efficiency in this case, I care about sure-footed movement! :p

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

Many AWD variants have their downsides, absolutely. Usually the issue is related to open differentials (problem for most vehicles, AWD or not) and then also the front/rear split. My Honda Crosstour was somewhere between good enough and useless depending on the scenario (it mostly helped at low speeds, which is exactly where I want it to help). I'd argue most AWD systems overall help to some extent despite how they handle the open diffs and splits, while the AWD Model 3 only helps for raw performance.

Your impressions are entirely in line with my experiences as well. The AWD model has dynamics closer to a RWD car in snow.

I find this to be preferable, but its concerning for the average person buying AWD for 'confidence' in winter. They could use a winter mode with a front bias for sure. Model 3 AWD with its stock all seasons is absolutely the 'worst' winter car ive driven so far, at least for the typical AWD buyer. Its brilliant for the enthusiast, but likely horrifying for someone just trying to get where they're going. The traction control is really slow to send power to the front, and the stability control isn't always fast enough to stop the car from spinning under throttle.

Good snow tires help quite a lot. It gives the system more feedback and authority to fix the problem.

You may have missed it, but I definitely have snow tires. I've used them every winter. When ice is routinely present here it's just not wise to skip them, AWD or otherwise. The rubber is the only factor that ultimately determines how much traction one has with the road.

So here's the thing. I fully understand AWD offers limited benefits. It can assist you with your vector at low speeds while offering better acceleration, and helps you up hills. That is mostly it. It does not help at highway speeds and it sure does not help you slow down. I say this to agree that buying AWD for "confidence" alone is a fool's errand if you don't understand how and where it helps.

I do expect an AWD car to use the front axle in winter though. It's just better for most drivers, even more experienced and confident ones especially when regen is involved.

The non-ideal AWD in my Honda Crosstour vastly outperformed every other car I drove in winter. AWD does help, even if it's a heavy clumsy boat of a car (which the Crosstour certainly was).

I was in denial mode with the Model 3 for a while.

Really good snows help a ton. If you know how it works for (low speed) you just goose it and the front motor will kick in, instantly, not the best but it helps in some situations. In hindsight I might have given up the super quiet X-Ice snows for a slightly noisier slightly snow grippier Nokian R3.

Tesla really should add a snow mode. It technically seems like a no brainer. And maybe not just on 3. A "4WD mode" on all Tesla's 50-50 torque at all speeds (or what ever is best for slick conditions).

Not sure if it's already listed as feature a request, I'd vote or add it to the web site below. I'd try to be crystal clear on the issue and the feature request so it gets up voted. All AWD Model 3 owners in snow country should be concerned about this.

MoreTesla.com

Couple Tweets might help too. Needs to be really concise and clear.

Yes the Raven X is Front Wheel biased. Checked it today on Scan My Tesla.

I created the request here: MoreTesla.com
Please upvote if you agree!
Please let me know if any edits should be made, I'm not a very concise writer. I couldn't find an existing similar feature request, thus the new one.

I wish I could be in denial mode, it would feel better! :D

Giving it the goose is how the Honda Crosstour kicked in the rear axle, so I'm actually familiar with the approach. However this happened at a much lower threshold than the front motor of the Model 3. The Crosstour wouldn't need to have the tires spin on a slick surface before the rear was engaged.

+1 on the Hakkas over X-Ice though. I had both on the Crosstour. X-Ice was utterly useless in too many conditions and performed more like a performance winter tire than a true winter tire. It was however quieter than my all-seasons. But yes, traction over sound for winter!

I used to think that too.

It's not just "Weight over drive wheels". FWD even with 50-50 balance is so much easier to drive in snow for the average driver than RWD.

Basically based on the current behavior and your comment AWD buys you very little.

And for the record the Raven X initially is 60% biased in the front at take off. I'm not sure what the Model 3 is, but it feels like 0 (all rear all the time unless you goose it). Not sure what the Pre-Raven does. I think it might be 50% at start (equally efficient motors). And possibly 50% when cruising. I need to catch up on those (Scan My Tesla) threads.

Agreed. Weight on wheels certainly has some impact, but it's not everything. My smart car, for example. Most of the weight was on the rear axle and it was RWD, but it still had both oversteer and understeer tendencies. FWD simply provides more feedback (spinning results in understeer) and is much easier to correct (oversteer is extremely difficult to correct in comparison, especially safely and within a small footprint). I didn't mean to break out the FWD vs RWD opinions, but FWD is definitely way more predictable regardless of which any particular person likes better.

Currently, I'd say AWD on a Model 3 only buys you performance. The front is used too weakly even when the rear is slipping, providing very little benefit. Model 3 feels like 0% front at take-off because it is unless you really give it the beans, which you shouldn't be doing in cautious winter driving.

If you have drive sport performance cars, and from your list it doesn't appear you have while delivering your pizzas, you wouldn't be complaining so much.

Model 3 correctly behaves like a RWD sports cars and it drives in the snow exactly like one. Where is the big surprise? I got my first experience a couple of nights ago. Very bad road conditions with many accidents and cars that were stuck left and right. Stand out was as Porsche Macan that didn't want to move uphill. We passed it and drove up without any issues.

I agree with you that some skills are required but that is what makes the Model 3 such an exciting car to drive in dry and slippery conditions alike.

Please Tesla don't change anything! Unless of course, you want to enter the pizza delivery market.

P.S. Gosh! sports cars don't drive like quads!!!!

P.S.S please go ahead and trade UP for a Volt

Piece

Hey I totally could've had the Brabus variant of the smart car... that makes it a sports car, right?! :p

Jokes aside, I see where you're coming from. In our defense, the Model 3 was bought as the most competent AWD EV we could get at a "reasonable" price. Tesla could cut the power in half and I wouldn't miss it too badly. Fact is, my AWD car is truthfully more like a RWD, which is actually unexpected. I didn't buy the Performance Model 3, I bought the Long Range AWD Model 3. And I'm not alone in this -- many, many people locally are buying an AWD Model 3 when their last vehicle was a Prius, some econobox, a truck, a crossover vehicle, etc., not a RWD sports car. And the Model 3 isn't a sports car. It's too heavy IMO for that classification (though yes, it goes pretty good in a straight line -- it does many things well). I like an exciting drive, but the behaviour of the AWD Model 3 in icy conditions right now could not be described as exciting (again, IMO).

Also, I said Bolt, not Volt... those are very different vehicles.

Oddly enough, lots of times hammering the throttle usually stabilizes the car if you're getting a bit of tail wag. The MXM4's are appalling in snowy/icy conditions compared to a dedicated snow. I have Hakka 9's now and its a lot better but still a bit more squirmy than the FWD Leaf with Hakka R2's. Just imagine you're Clarkson and hammer the throttle everywhere you go.

Oh heck no, this hasn't been my experience at all. The Hakka 9s are studded right? I have Hakka R3s, which aren't studded. If I gun it, it just swings out the rear even more. Sure the front motor finally engages, but it's definitely a more squirrelly dash than if I just let it slip a little normally. I'm sure studded helps in this regard and might be the difference. It certainly gets you there faster when you mash it since the front motor is engaged, but it's a bit... reckless? Which can be fun, but only if that's your goal.

I'm not saying Tesla needs to make all other tires feel like studded tires, in case someone is gleaning that somehow. I'm saying the TCS needs to work better and use the front motor more with cautious winter driving.

For the folks in snow country, do you see the traction control light blink when it feels like there isn’t enough traction? Annoyingly Bjorn didn’t include the screen in the feed so it is hard to know if the car was pulling power due to slipping or not.

I'm glad you asked. I'm partly convinced there's a threshold for this. I could swear it's engaging without flashing at times.
 

mswlogo

Well-Known Member
Aug 27, 2018
6,183
5,340
MA, NH

camalaio

Active Member
May 28, 2019
1,483
2,181
Vernon, BC, Canada
How is it when not racing at stop light and getting around in the Snow. We are not talking about how good the 0-60 is.

I figured there were a few FWD close to 50/50, didn't mean exactly 50/50 ;)

Some interesting points here on the same discussion.

Is fwd or rwd better IN SNOW with 50/50 weight? - cars - Reddit

I think that's what both Tesla and people in discussion have missed. It's one thing to go straight as fast as possible, it's another to lumber around confidently and slowly in snow and ice.

+1 for FWD, +2 for AWD. RWD is fun but not the easiest, safest method in most cases people will actually encounter in daily driving. I do find the point in that thread interesting about FWD loss of traction means loss of steering as well. This is of course very true and why the traction control systems are very effective in these cars. They not only keep the spin under control, but doing so keeps your steering working as good as possible. If you flick out the rear on a RWD vehicle, good luck and may your skills and luck be in your favour. Traction control with a FWD eliminates most of the negative aspect of FWD, while keeping all of the positives.
 
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Daniel in SD

Well-Known Member
Jan 25, 2018
7,065
10,530
San Diego
How is it when not racing at stop light and getting around in the Snow. We are not talking about how good the 0-60 is.
It would be hard to get a Spark EV to the snow from San Diego! haha.
I was just pointing out that one of the reasons that FWD cars are better than RWD cars in the snow is that they all have more weight over their drive wheels. In dry conditions RWD is superior for acceleration (and cornering) because the weight transfers to the rear. In slippery conditions you can't accelerate fast enough to get significant weight transfer. With 50/50 weight on snow I would guess that RWD would be slightly faster than FWD but FWD would be easier to drive.
 

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