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[feature request] Snow driving mode for model 3?

cstork

Supporting Member
Oct 29, 2018
142
166
Colorado
Our model Y has an "Off-road" mode that is very useful for snow. I assume this sends more power to the front axle and allows for a little slip. The model 3 could really benefit from this in Snow. I would think this is just a software update. I'm disappointed that this has not made it to the model 3.
 

AlanSubie4Life

Efficiency Obsessed Member
Oct 22, 2018
9,989
12,033
San Diego
Our model Y has an "Off-road" mode that is very useful for snow. I assume this sends more power to the front axle and allows for a little slip. The model 3 could really benefit from this in Snow. I would think this is just a software update. I'm disappointed that this has not made it to the model 3.

I didn't know about that Model Y off-road mode. The Model 3 should definitely have that! It is within Tesla's capability, and frankly there isn't much difference in off-road capability between the two models, so this seems like it should not be a feature limited to the Y.

I drove the 3 in some slop (lots of fresh snow, packed, on ice, just below the freezing point with ample moisture) in the San Diego mountains a few weeks ago, with CrossClimate+, and it was ok, but far from reassuring like driving a Subaru STi (my only reference point). It's annoying how the rear wheels spin first before the traction control catches them (with tons of disconcerting-to-the-uninitiated brake clunking), then shifts power to the front. It would be much better if it just did a 50/50 torque split to start with! It's well known that the Model 3 provides 100% of torque to the rear wheels preferentially on light throttle from a start (tons of videos), and appears to require wheel spin to transfer torque elsewhere.

I mean, it was fine in the snow, and perfectly adequate to drive, but it kind of sucks to be stepping the rear end out unnecessarily, when you know you just want even torque distribution to start with. I'm fairly sure it's preferred to not lose traction, vs. lose traction and then regain it. In snow, you know it's going to be slippery, so you may as well drive all four wheels rather than just two.

I assume this is what the Model Y Off-road mode does?

People have been asking for this for years. Now Tesla is just taunting us.
 
Last edited:

AlanSubie4Life

Efficiency Obsessed Member
Oct 22, 2018
9,989
12,033
San Diego
To spare people looking up what Model Y has:

Screen Shot 2021-02-23 at 11.34.38 AM.png


Model 3 should have this too. Hopefully soon it will be added (I don't know the implications for EPA rating and whether it has to be counted/averaged in - if so we'll never get it). I have heard that Model Y drivers say it is helpful in the snow but more feedback from people who have experience with it would be nice.
 

AlanSubie4Life

Efficiency Obsessed Member
Oct 22, 2018
9,989
12,033
San Diego
If you have a M3P, you can use Track Mode to change the F/R bias to your desired amount. 50:50, 30:70, 41:59, etc.

Darn, definitely should have thought of that and given it a try so I could compare. Going to be a few years before I can try again, probably.

I never had an issue with the M3 or MY RWD bias

I can only speak from my single experience. As I said, it was workable, I wouldn't call it an "issue" exactly, but nothing like driving a vehicle with a partial torque split. The conditions were optimally slippery, though, of course.
 
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Rhytid

Member
Dec 3, 2019
65
32
Maryland
I have noticed that the Model 3 feels a little squirrely in the snow or ice compared to other AWD cars I have had in the past.
I have read that this might be due to Model 3 being mostly a rear drive when under light throttle or when starting gently from stop and the front motor is used when under heavy throttle or when car senses slip in the rear wheels.
So the car may be in complete control but it just doesn’t “feel” like it for that split second.
My wife’s Model Y has an off road assist mode and this made me think (dangerous, I know).
What if I turned on Track Mode and set it at pure 50/50 split with Stability control turned to Max? Would that feel like Audi AWD?
Let me know if this sounds feasible or if it is complete whack.
Thanks for looking.
 
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GtiMart

Member
Nov 13, 2019
970
810
Quebec City, Canada
Yes! Model 3 needs snow mode. But not to restrict it more... It limits power like crazy already. A snow mode would not reduce power as much, allowing some twisting of the car angle, and would indeed put power to the front earlier. I don't have a P so track mode isn't available. In snow, the car feels so restricted it's almost crazy.
My previous WRX had an optional traction mode that would reduce the assists a bit, drastically helping in snow.
 

MagnusMako

Member
Jan 29, 2019
798
1,394
Austin, TX
I'm curious how much difference there is between the off-road mode in the Y and the slip-start in the 3. Does the Y also have a slip-start mode? I wonder how that works in conjunction with the off-road mode as well.
 

vogz

Member
Dec 5, 2019
262
341
Batavia, IL
I have noticed that the Model 3 feels a little squirrely in the snow or ice compared to other AWD cars I have had in the past.
I have read that this might be due to Model 3 being mostly a rear drive when under light throttle or when starting gently from stop and the front motor is used when under heavy throttle or when car senses slip in the rear wheels.
So the car may be in complete control but it just doesn’t “feel” like it for that split second.
My wife’s Model Y has an off road assist mode and this made me think (dangerous, I know).
What if I turned on Track Mode and set it at pure 50/50 split with Stability control turned to Max? Would that feel like Audi AWD?
Let me know if this sounds feasible or if it is complete whack.
Thanks for looking.

What you are experiencing is more likely due to the tires than the drive system. My previously car was an Audi S4, and I run winter tires on my cars in the winter months. Overall, I would say the Model 3 is actually better and more predictable in the snow than the S4 was. They are both fantastic, but the Tesla seems to find the limit of traction more quickly and do a better job of holding it there.
 

Rhytid

Member
Dec 3, 2019
65
32
Maryland
What you are experiencing is more likely due to the tires than the drive system. My previously car was an Audi S4, and I run winter tires on my cars in the winter months. Overall, I would say the Model 3 is actually better and more predictable in the snow than the S4 was. They are both fantastic, but the Tesla seems to find the limit of traction more quickly and do a better job of holding it there.
Sorry I didn’t put it in my post. I DO have winter tires on the model 3.
Interesting that you compare to Audi S4 as I had the S4 as well (ran with winter tires). I feel the opposite of you, though. I feel like Audi felt better “planted” in slippery conditions.
 
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vogz

Member
Dec 5, 2019
262
341
Batavia, IL
Sorry I didn’t put it in my post. I DO have winter tires on the model 3.
Interesting that you compare to Audi S4 as I had the S4 as well (ran with winter tires). I feel the opposite of you, though. I feel like Audi felt better “planted” in slippery conditions.

That is interesting. I wonder what's going on. What winter tires do you run and how worn are they? I run 235 Sottozero 3 performance winters on 18s and they only have about 5k miles on them.
 

Rhytid

Member
Dec 3, 2019
65
32
Maryland
That is interesting. I wonder what's going on. What winter tires do you run and how worn are they? I run 235 Sottozero 3 performance winters on 18s and they only have about 5k miles on them.
I have the Sottozeros as well but in 19 inch. I probably have around 10k miles on them. But still plenty of tread left. Maybe my ass is too sensitive to squirreliness.
 

Shelburne

Member
Mar 9, 2021
118
106
Shelburne Falls, MA
I bought my M3 LR AWD in September. I live just a few miles below the VT border in Western MA. While it wasn't a brutal winter, we did get plenty of snow, sleet, and freezing rain and some of the dreaded black ice. Since 1990 all but two of my cars have had AWD (2 were Jeep Grand Cherokees). One Sunday morning we were in the middle of a beautiful snow storm - about 8 inches on the ground and more to come. So I took the car out just to see how it did under those conditions. The car has a set of Continental all season tires on it - not snow tires. The first thing I did was to turn off the regenerative braking and put the car into wheel slip mode. Then I hit the road, driving north into VT and then back home. It was a 44 mile round trip on two lane country roads. Not all the roads had been plowed or salted. In fact, on my way back I made first tracks on a very twisty back road with some steep downhill sections. I never once felt like I was losing control of the car. I did feel a bit of wheel spin once or twice but it was very manageable. Overall, I would say that the M3, without regenerative braking and with wheels slip, handled just as good as my AWD Grand Cherokees ever did. Having said that, the best thing you can do to avoid problems while driving in snowy/icy conditions is to really learn how to drive under those conditions and that includes minimizing the use of your brakes. That's why it's important to turn off or minimize regenerative braking. When I was a kid and shopping malls (remember them?) were closed on Sundays, I would go to the mall lots and deliberately let the car (a 57 chevy Bel Air) spin out, then try to regain control. Learning how to drive in the snow is just as important as these other tips. Of course if you hit black ice there is absolutely nothing you can do other than pray.
 

Rhytid

Member
Dec 3, 2019
65
32
Maryland
I bought my M3 LR AWD in September. I live just a few miles below the VT border in Western MA. While it wasn't a brutal winter, we did get plenty of snow, sleet, and freezing rain and some of the dreaded black ice. Since 1990 all but two of my cars have had AWD (2 were Jeep Grand Cherokees). One Sunday morning we were in the middle of a beautiful snow storm - about 8 inches on the ground and more to come. So I took the car out just to see how it did under those conditions. The car has a set of Continental all season tires on it - not snow tires. The first thing I did was to turn off the regenerative braking and put the car into wheel slip mode. Then I hit the road, driving north into VT and then back home. It was a 44 mile round trip on two lane country roads. Not all the roads had been plowed or salted. In fact, on my way back I made first tracks on a very twisty back road with some steep downhill sections. I never once felt like I was losing control of the car. I did feel a bit of wheel spin once or twice but it was very manageable. Overall, I would say that the M3, without regenerative braking and with wheels slip, handled just as good as my AWD Grand Cherokees ever did. Having said that, the best thing you can do to avoid problems while driving in snowy/icy conditions is to really learn how to drive under those conditions and that includes minimizing the use of your brakes. That's why it's important to turn off or minimize regenerative braking. When I was a kid and shopping malls (remember them?) were closed on Sundays, I would go to the mall lots and deliberately let the car (a 57 chevy Bel Air) spin out, then try to regain control. Learning how to drive in the snow is just as important as these other tips. Of course if you hit black ice there is absolutely nothing you can do other than pray.
I assume when you say you “turned off” regen braking, you mean you turned to “low”? I don’t think you can turn it off completely? I did not use wheel slip (?slip start) as I thought that was really for very low speed or from standing.
Definitely used to do donuts in parking lots when it snowed. Had a security guard chase me away in my 2001 Audi S4.
 

Shelburne

Member
Mar 9, 2021
118
106
Shelburne Falls, MA
I assume when you say you “turned off” regen braking, you mean you turned to “low”? I don’t think you can turn it off completely? I did not use wheel slip (?slip start) as I thought that was really for very low speed or from standing.
Definitely used to do donuts in parking lots when it snowed. Had a security guard chase me away in my 2001 Audi S4.
You're right on both counts.
 

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