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Model S IS perfect for the Winter

Discussion in 'Model S: Driving Dynamics' started by SCW-Greg, Nov 23, 2013.

  1. SCW-Greg

    SCW-Greg Active Member

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  2. Mario Kadastik

    Mario Kadastik Active Member

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  3. Hybris

    Hybris Member

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    Rearwheeldrive is never perfect for the winter... good marketing though... But trust me in real winterweather AWD and spikes is king. Been driving BMWs for years and they are masters in rearwheeeldrive in bad winterconditions...,still AWD is king...

    But with the global warming winter is gone so no problem... ;-)
     
  4. SCW-Greg

    SCW-Greg Active Member

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    Mods feel free to move this to Doug's post from earlier this morning.
     
  5. SwedishAdvocate

    SwedishAdvocate Active Member

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    and in another part of the TMC Forum…

    :frown:
     
  6. patp

    patp Member

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    I think they went too far by saying AWD isn't required. It is false for true winter conditions. After a so-so last winter with my Model S I've decided to store it and I'm using an AWD car this winter. See you all in March.
     
  7. jerry33

    jerry33 S85 - VIN:P05130 - 3/2/13

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    It appears they tested where it was very cold (-20 or lower). Ice and snow are less slippery when the temperature goes below -20. In many places the temperature is warmer and so there is a film of water over the ice, which makes it very slippery. In those conditions the best thing to do is to increase tire pressure so that the water is squeegeed away. AWD does make a difference at temperatures closer to freezing, although the ice day accidents I see around here are mostly AWD vehicles. I suspect that's because AWD gives the driver a sense of false confidence.
     
  8. stopcrazypp

    stopcrazypp Well-Known Member

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    Saying it's not required is different than saying it's better. I'm pretty sure there's plenty of RWD vehicles safely driven in winter conditions. I think probably the right tires and careful driving is far more important than AWD.
     
  9. William13

    William13 Member

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    I drove the Model S through the last winter. It is great for a rear wheel drive car but AWD and even FWD can work better in the snow.
     
  10. patp

    patp Member

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    Totally agree. Same for me. Got in many dangerous situations with my S last winter (okay in really bad conditions but this is normal life where I live). I think Tesla shouldn't have hyped expectations that much for winter driving.
     
  11. huntjo

    huntjo Member

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    Had no problem driving on ice and snow last winter on the Pirelli sottozero's. Of course I drive slower in inclement conditions because I understand there is more room for losing traction. Vast majority of the time in winter I am on fairly dry pavement just cold temperatures. When there's ice, I'm in no rush. But I haven't driven our 4 wheel drive car except for times when my wife needs the tesla to drive longer distance.
     
  12. Ocelot

    Ocelot Member

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    I just do not understand why they have to say its the perfect winter car. Why...oh why???? It's a fantastic car. But RWD and winter do not go hand in hand..as evidenced by the multiple aforementioned comments and the ton of threads about this last winter.


    Also I hope that Norwegian tire issue gets sorted. I completely agree its a bit absurd to have a car on order for a year and no one secure a line of tires. Someone dropped the ball completely there.
     
  13. Al Sherman

    Al Sherman It's about THIS car.

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    What are "Winter Wheels?" IS this just a language thing? Or, are there different wheels for severe Winter weather? Are we just talking about 19" wheels?
     
  14. Mario Kadastik

    Mario Kadastik Active Member

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    I think in general we're talking about a separate set of wheels for winter. So if you ordered your car with 21" wheels you probably want 19" wheels for winter :) There is however a distinct difference in the tires :)
     
  15. jerry33

    jerry33 S85 - VIN:P05130 - 3/2/13

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    Generally winter wheels are some not-so-fancy wheels that you don't mind getting banged up and salted. Also it's better to have a separate set of wheels for each set of tires because each time you mount and demount a tire you risk damaging it.
     
  16. Ven Rala

    Ven Rala Member

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    I understand how AWD would be better in the winter (4 driving wheels instead of 2) but FWD is not necessarily better than RWD for the Model S. For an ICE FWD is better because it is heavily weighted to the front (due to the engine) therefore more weight to the front tires. But since the S is well balanced front to back, FWD would not give it an advantage in winter driving. Is my understanding correct?
     
  17. donv

    donv Member

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    All the people saying that RWD is fine in winter live in the flats-- where I imagine it is fine. If you live on a hill, AWD is what you need.
     
  18. stopcrazypp

    stopcrazypp Well-Known Member

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    That's my understanding. In most RWD vehicles the weight distribution is front biased because of the engine (which is why sand bags in the back help during the winter). The Model S obviously does not have that problem (it's 48/52 rear biased).
     
  19. Zythryn

    Zythryn MS 70D, MX 90D

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    Personally I do feel the RWD Model S is the best winter car I have ever driven, and that was with the all season tires on it last year.
    Please note, I am not saying that is the case for everyone, but for me, it is subjectively true.
    I have driven AWD sedans and SUVs, many FWD cars with and without snow tires.
    I drive in suburban/city conditions in gentle hilly/flat terrain.
    I don't off road and don't drive through mountain passes or through more than 6" or so of unplowed streets although have my fair share of punching through driveway and street intersection snowplow mounds.

    I find the low center of gravity, well distributed weight, mass of the car and the phenomenal traction control all help make it the best winter car I have driven.

    For even more safety, I have put winter tires on one of our cars this year.

    As for the love affair people seem to have with AWD, I agree for off roaring/driving through unplowed deep snow it is good. But the funny thing is I tend to see, in MN, more AWD vehicles off the roads in the winter than not:confused:
     
  20. Doug_G

    Doug_G Lead Moderator

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    #20 Doug_G, Nov 24, 2013
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2013
    I'll give you my honest opinion here. The Model S isn't "perfect" in the snow, but it's pretty good. I've driven many different RWD vehicles in snow, and the only one that is comparable is... the Tesla Roadster. (You wouldn't think it, but the Roadster is pretty amazing in snow. Go figure.)

    Last year I switched from an Infiniti G37xS AWD to a Tesla Model S just as last winter was kicking in. We had a horrible winter last year, with lots of snow and ice. We even had three days with inch thick ice on the road and a dusting of snow on top. I honestly can't remember the last time we had conditions like that - ludicrous conditions.

    I should mention that I have Tesla's standard "performance winter" tires on the Model S, which are really not the best choice for Ottawa. But the comparison is pretty valid considering the tires I had on the Infiniti weren't any better. If you live in a place like this you should really have "real" snow tires.

    The AWD has an edge accelerating out of stop lights. Once you're rolling there's really no difference between the two. AWD doesn't stop you any better, which is why a surprisingly large fraction of cars you find in the ditch are AWD. The driver gets a false sense of security from being able to accelerate better than other cars, and they end up sliding off the road.

    AWD and especially 4WD vehicles tend to wallow around corners, but the Model S doesn't do that. It doesn't understeer any more than other cars.

    Model S could climb slippery grades, but in extreme conditions I had to switch off TC because it was being so aggressive that the wheels wouldn't turn. (I'm certain Tesla can fix that with a firmware fix - if they haven't already done so. Also I'm told "real" snow tires don't do that.) Except for that extreme case, the TC works very smoothly.

    In comparison, the Infiniti's traction control was, well, brutal. You'd try to accelerate out of a corner, and a wheel would slip, and - ugh - you'd completely bog down for a few seconds. I found it to be a bit dangerous when you're trying to merge into traffic. The Model S handles this situation much better. The TC can be a bit physical as the wheel transitions back and forth from ice to pavement, but it doesn't simply give up like that!

    The only other area where a FWD or AWD car is better is when you're totally stuck. The back end of an RWD car tends to kick out sideways if you're trying to push yourself out of a snowdrift, and the Model S is no different here. It does help to be able to point the driving wheels on a FWD or AWD car. Last year we had a huge snowfall that all came down in three hours, and none of us could get out of the office parking lot. It took a few more minutes to get my car out than the FWD cars... but we're talking about a few extra minutes out of a two hour digging session (the snow plow didn't show up until 3 am, so we were on our own! We had ONE shovel.).

    Back when I first started driving, pretty much everything on the road was RWD. Nobody had ABS or TC or SC. You developed serious winter driving skills, or you got in trouble! Actually, you got in trouble anyway. I've driven RWD cars that went half-way up a snowy hill, then turned sideways and slid back down to the bottom. You'd have to keep bags of kitty litter or something in the trunk to weigh down the back, and then you could throw it under the wheels when (not if) you got stuck. The Model S is in a different league altogether. It has decent weight on the driving wheels, it has ABS, TC, and SC. It's quite drivable in the winter.
     

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