TMC is an independent, primarily volunteer organization that relies on ad revenue to cover its operating costs. Please consider whitelisting TMC on your ad blocker or making a Paypal contribution here: paypal.me/SupportTMC

Model S - Range in winter and Driving dynamics in snow (Prospective Buyer)

Discussion in 'Model S' started by Aphysician, May 3, 2013.

  1. Aphysician

    Aphysician Member, Michigan Chapter

    Joined:
    May 3, 2013
    Messages:
    298
    Location:
    Metro Detroit, MI
    Hello Tesla owners, this is a great forum for owners and future owners. I joined the forum for some help with my EV purchase. I had decided on Leaf, but after consultation with Leaf owners in cold climate have come to a conclusion, it may not suit my needs. I live in Michigan, with temperature below 30 F for almost 4 months in winter, with frequent dips below 20 F. I have a commute of 50 miles RT, with close to 70% of that on highways. I was told that maximum range that I should expect is 60 miles, with compromises. I may need an EV with Thermal Management System (TMS) or with bigger range. I was browsing previous posts, and was thrilled to see many owners in cold climates and some of them have also taken their Model s out for frolic in snow. These are my limitation with Leaf.


    Limitations for EV use
    - Frigid climate with Temprature below 30 F for 4 months, with frequent dips into 20s
    - Snow covered roads for commute
    - Frequent high wind days
    - Daily commute of over 50 miles RT
    - More than 50% on highways (mine is around 66%)
    - L2 charging overnight at home only, not available at work
    - Cold soaking in parking lot for over 10 hours and sometimes overnight
    - Inability to trickle charge at workplace (to prevent cold soaking and preheat the car for return journey)



    It seems Tesla fits the bill, however I haven't figured out how to pay it's leasing bills. I have contacted Tesla team about new leasing program, but it is still an expensive affair. Recent announcement by Elon has been positive. The nearest Tesla store is in Chicago, IL and nearest Tesla service center is in Columbus, OH. I need to know few things even before I start thinking in that direction.


    (1) How to get the service? Tesla says that they will cover me with Ranger service program and car doesn't even need a service and now the service requirement has been waived off. I just wanted to ask owners how has been their experience?


    (2) I have seen only one Model S in Detroit, and couldn't catch it with my ICE. But how's the battery performance in the cold weather? It has TMS unlike Leaf, so it should fair better. Most of the Model S sales are still in CA. However Tesla was at Detroit Auto Show, and they clearly want to sell their car in all climates, and are not stupid to make car only for warmer climate. They are pursuing European sales now.


    (3) Other question that I have is, how is it to drive in snow considering it is a rear wheel drive car? Tesla's answer was that, it should not be any problem with traction control system.

    (4) If you could also post your mileage in snow, and how much degradation to expect. I will be keeping my car in parking structure for 10 hours or so, and worried about loosing a lot of range.


    Thank you all in advance.
     
  2. stevezzzz

    stevezzzz R;SigS;P85D;SigX

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2009
    Messages:
    6,062
    Location:
    Colorado
    Welcome to the forums, Aphysician. There is a whole lot of information out there relating to all of your questions; try searching TMC for 'winter driving' 'cold weather', 'handling in snow', etc.

    I don't have time to address your individual questions specifically, but in my opinion you would be perfectly happy with the 60kWh model for your daily driving needs, summer or winter. Just stick with the 19" wheels and put good snow tires on during the winter, and you'll be happy with the way the S performs. The traction control system is great, but it can sometimes be TOO aggressive: some folks occasionally disengage TC in the snow when they need to make a standing start uphill in slippery conditions.
     
  3. toto_48313

    toto_48313 CAN P #5

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2012
    Messages:
    335
    Location:
    Montreal suburbs
    (3) Other question that I have is, how is it to drive in snow considering it is a rear wheel drive car? Tesla's answer was that, it should not be any problem with traction control system.
    With good winter tires and flat road as they are in Detroit metro area you'll have no major problem. You can disable traction comtrol i f needed


    (4) If you could also post your mileage in snow, and how much degradation to expect. I will be keeping my car in parking structure for 10 hours or so, and worried about loosing a lot of range.
    Expect 25 % less range when driving in the 20s or below. Park it in cold, expect about 2 miles / h a charge loss.
     
  4. Aphysician

    Aphysician Member, Michigan Chapter

    Joined:
    May 3, 2013
    Messages:
    298
    Location:
    Metro Detroit, MI
    @stevezzz

    Thank you for your reply. I will sure search posts from other members on this topic. Nice to know Model S will be fine with winter driving. I was also thinking of 19" wheels. Good point on turning traction control off. Model S seems to be even greater possibility with recent leasing announcement.
     
  5. Joel

    Joel Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2011
    Messages:
    1,164
    Location:
    Michigan
    I live in Michigan too. I received my Model S in October. After going through a fall and a winter, you will not have any problems. Send me a private message and I can answer all your questions in detail. You can even test drive mine (if you haven't been for a test drive yet).
     
  6. MichaelS

    MichaelS Member

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2012
    Messages:
    226
    Location:
    Hayward CA
    Having owned a Leaf for almost 2 years I can strongly state the the Leaf WILL NOT WORK for your situation!

    I have a 30 mile round trip and I was not happy with the range.

    One other factor that can significantly affect your rang is rain. It takes a lot of energy for the tires to push the water out from under the tires.

    My biggest beef with the car besides range was the really crappy regen design. The car utilized very little of the regen available.
     
  7. LazMan

    LazMan Member

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2012
    Messages:
    123
    Location:
    Toronto
    Aphysican...from anotherPhysician...

    Here in Canada it get's cold. My experience driving in normal city traffic is that it has been easy to get rated mileage at 0c (32F) and easy to get 10-20% better than rated in warmer weather. There were just a few days at -5C that used maybe 5-8% more power than rated.

    That being said, if you drive like a maniac, you can use 40% more power than rated.
     
  8. CanuckS#69

    CanuckS#69 Member

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2012
    Messages:
    175
    Location:
    Sutton West, ON
    I've done 20k km this year and it just got warm this week. The traction control works admirably with snow tires, although the Tesla-offered Pirellis aren't the best choice. I plowed my 500 ft driveway once over the winter and just drove through the snow the rest of the time. As has been said already, you will lose some charge in cold weather. The pack heater kicks in when you start and uses a LOT of energy. However, once the pack is brought up to ~10c, everything works as it would in warmer weather. I've driven longish distances in -20c to -10c and although range is reduced, it is fairly predictable. My work commute is 70km one way and my wife's derby practice is 90km one way. If you are at all concerned with range, the Tesla is the only way to go. It is also a *completely* different car than the Leaf. Driving a Tesla is a mind-blowing experience, even compared to many amazing ICE cars.
     
  9. ModelS1079

    ModelS1079 Member

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2012
    Messages:
    837
    Location:
    Suburban Boston
    And more from A-Nother Physician -

    Several thousand miles in the winter (Boston, mountains of New Hampshire). Really not an issue - drives well in snow (better than our Toyota Highlander, and I didn't even buy snow tires), loss of range limited to cold battery and is temporary, improving over the first 20 min of driving. Defroster on driver's side window lags a bit but not a real issue. Heat plenty warm and much quicker than an ICE car. Mobile app indispensable for both heating car (sweet) and warming battery, which I would do when parked outside in c-c-c-cold weather in New Hampshire - prevents temporary attenuation of regenerative braking, which occurs with cold battery for a while. . Many sub-zero days and car performed very well. Snow Driving: B+, Range in Sub-Zero Weather: B if not hooked to charger for long time, B+ if still hooked up to charge just before leaving, Defrost: B- on left side driver, Cabin Heat: Straight A. Now at 8,600 happy miles. Enjoy.
     
  10. Aphysician

    Aphysician Member, Michigan Chapter

    Joined:
    May 3, 2013
    Messages:
    298
    Location:
    Metro Detroit, MI
    @toto

    Thank you for your reply. It is very helpful as we live in areas with similar climate. I will make a note of winter tires and traction control. Range loss in winter is similar to Leaf, however with bigger battery, should not be a problem in winter.

    - - - Updated - - -

    - - - Updated - - -



    Hi Micheal,


    Thank you for your reply. Getting a reply from an EV veteran like you carries a lot of weight. I saw the original documentary "Who killed the electric car?" And have been following EVs and PlugInAmerica since. However first was school and then residency, could afford only a small hatchback. However finally in a decent job, so now can afford a nice car. Still felt Leaf would be ok with most commute, as it turned out basically it won't work for 4 months. MI gets lots of snow, rain, cold and wind, I had not factored those into calculation. Folks at MyNissanLeaf were excellent in updating me with cold weather range. TonyWilliams, Zythyrn and many other are also on this forum. I am happy to learn that though Model S will face similar issues, but still can pull through my commute.


    Hari
     
  11. Aphysician

    Aphysician Member, Michigan Chapter

    Joined:
    May 3, 2013
    Messages:
    298
    Location:
    Metro Detroit, MI
    Hi Doc (LazMan),


    Thank you for your reply. It is helpful, as Canada is same weather. I am really impressed with Model S performance at 0 C. I have been in Toronto for ACP conference, and traffic is awful, so getting that range certainly is impressive. I can deal with loss of 10% or so. It will certainly require some change in habits, as I drive quick nimble Golf. I will send you a PM with more details. Thanks again.

    - - - Updated - - -


    @ CanuckS


    Thank you for your reply. It seems there are many Model S, just across the border from Detroit. Your winter experience definitely matters a lot. It is good to know Model S is not impossible to drive in snow, in fact it seems fun to drive. Things should be good with traction control. I have been driving in snow since last 5 years in OH and MI, so it shouldn't be terrible. All I wanted is a way to predict the range, even if it is lower. It seemed that with Leaf, there was no way to be sure after 50, so that was difficult. I should be ok with Model S as my commute should not be more than 60-70 miles and I will be installing L2 charger at home for overnight charging/preconditioning. I hear Model S will be different than anything I have driven, Leaf and Model S are tackling EV mobility from completely different approach. Leaf is certainly a capable EV within its limitation, whereas Model S does it with some style, such that even nicer ICE cars looks like a commuter cars in comparison. Yet to try one, but he fully soon. Thanks again.
     
  12. huntjo

    huntjo Member

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2012
    Messages:
    543
    Location:
    Fort Collins, Colorado
    A-nother-physician here in Colorado.
    As my colon-spelunking colleague above has indicated, the HVAC system will keep you nice n warm, but it does make a noticeable dent in the battery for the first 10-20 minutes. You can preheat the car while it is still plugged in and it will warm the battery pack as well as the cabin, and draw most of that energy from the wall, so you don't lose too much range by the time you leave.

    When I park overnight at the hospital unplugged, of course preheating the car is just for my comfort, because any energy used to preheat the pack just whittles down my range. (Of course I only live a couple miles from work:wink:)

    Drives well on snow and ice even in the mountains, with the caveat that of course you can't do anything a regular car couldn't do, so don't drive 35 on a twisty icy road when the posted dry weather limit is 30. Traction control does help keep you going the right direction, but it can't defy physics. Made it up and over a tall mountain pass in a snowstorm a couple months ago without any real worries.

    Summary: you need to test drive and you will be hooked. This car will serve well as a daily driver, and in my awe is the only car I need, even for average size road trips. To go more than 300 miles a day, you just have to plan. Your charging stops and accept that it takes a bit longer than refilling a gas tank. Search the forums for ChadS's road trip tips.
     
  13. Aphysician

    Aphysician Member, Michigan Chapter

    Joined:
    May 3, 2013
    Messages:
    298
    Location:
    Metro Detroit, MI
    @models1079


    Thank you for your reply. Feels good to know that I can depend on the car on snowy/cold days. As long as the loss of range is predictable I can deal with that, so I can plan my journey. Commute is just 50 miles, so even 60 kwh model should serve well. If the loss is temporary, that's even sweeter. What i was afraid with other EVs, that it required good amount of guesswork whether I will make it home or not, certainly cant deal with that after a long shift. I can't tell how many days I have passed in my Civic waiting for heater to kick in during my 25 min commute, and when it kicks in it is too much and I am home. The best part of the EVs is, you can walk into a toasty car, instead of waiting for it to warm. I was driving old high mileage cars in residency, so this will certainly a big step up. The start-stop function and regen breaking is awesome, it now feels stupid that why we were wasting so much energy all these years. I won't have access to charger at the hospital, but will install a L2 charger at home. I will contact parking administration, though dont hope much, still pretty low in my division. Thanks so much again. Hoping get one soon. I will send you a PM as well.


    Hari
     
  14. wshepherd

    wshepherd Member

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2011
    Messages:
    26
    Location:
    Larchmont, NY
    Live in NY. Not as cold as Michigan, but some snow/cold.

    Would definitely recommend snow tires. Car handles well with them, but not so well without in snow/ice conditions (high torque rear wheel drive is not a recipe for winter driving success with all seasons).

    Range depends more on how much you pre-heat and leadfoot it vs temp, in my experience. In any case, even with a 60kwh battery, very low exterior temps and aggressive driving you'll have zero issues with a 50M rt commute and lots of side trips.

    if you have the dough, would recommend the 85 kwh battery for the extra comfort factor (ie. you can forget to plug it in for a couple of days and still be ok).

    if you want to save money, consider skipping the charger and just put in a 40a/240v 14-50 outlet. in my experience, it's more than enough (I have an 85 kwh battery).
     
  15. Aphysician

    Aphysician Member, Michigan Chapter

    Joined:
    May 3, 2013
    Messages:
    298
    Location:
    Metro Detroit, MI
    @huntjo


    Hi Doc,


    That was funny. I am very happy to see many docs here, I need not tell much. You know exactly what I am looking for in an EV, a no fuss car. If you own it and have used it, then I can blindly follow your recommendations. Preheating is amazing comfort, and with bigger battery I will have enough juice left for commute. Parking overnight was my biggest concern, I have converted parking at one hospital, and ground parking at other, but there won't be a problem. The winter performance is amazing, it seems it performs almost close to a AWD. Ofcourse some caution is always needed, I just wanted to know that it doesn't start sliding as soon as it snows. My rationale was that as the motor is on rear wheels, it's handling will be like RWD cars in winter. Michigan with its flat terrain should be fine. I just had a ride in one today, from a fellow member, and sold on it. I will be placing the order soon. Hopefully with supercharger network cross country trips will be done soon. Thanks again. I will send a PM with my full info.


    Hari

    - - - Updated - - -

    @wshepherd

    Thank you for your reply. NY has been getting a lot of snow last few seasons, so your experience is very helpful. Changing tires is a small inconvenience, as long as the car can be used in winter. Other EVs had range problems, but it seems I shouldn't have those with Model S. Just finished school, so 85 kwh will be a stretch, but I will sure crunch the numbers. I was even thinking of 40 kwh, now that's not an option. Hopefully Tesla launches an battery upgrade program. I drove a Model S today, of a fellow member and he also explained about the separate line from utility. Hope to place a reservation soon. That's again.
     
  16. dsm363

    dsm363 Roadster + Sig Model S

    Joined:
    May 17, 2009
    Messages:
    18,235
    Location:
    Las Vegas, NV
    Good luck. Would also recommend the 85 kWh as this will likely be a car you'll keep a long time and you have a fairly long commute. I'd even delay reservation a little in order to save up the difference for the 85 kWh. The 60 would still work for you though.
     
  17. Aphysician

    Aphysician Member, Michigan Chapter

    Joined:
    May 3, 2013
    Messages:
    298
    Location:
    Metro Detroit, MI
    @dsm

    Good suggestion, it is best to go with the highest range. I will crunch the numbers, though most likely it will be 60 kwh. I will update the members as soon as I place the reservation.
     
  18. dsm363

    dsm363 Roadster + Sig Model S

    Joined:
    May 17, 2009
    Messages:
    18,235
    Location:
    Las Vegas, NV
    Sounds good. Check this out from Chad S
    Putting some numbers on the factors that affect range

    Assuming you charge to 90% each day (standard charge) then with the math above the 60 kWh might be cutting it close a few years from now in bad weather. The 60 kWh would work fine for many years especially when the weather is good but just something to think about. Or if you had a place to charge at work it would never be an issue for your commute.
     
  19. Aphysician

    Aphysician Member, Michigan Chapter

    Joined:
    May 3, 2013
    Messages:
    298
    Location:
    Metro Detroit, MI
    @ dsm


    Thank you for forwarding that awesome post by Chad. Took me a while to read it, but brilliantly written. Still going with 60 kwh, had to draw the line somewhere. Hopefully we make it out of Michigan soon and off to somewhere warmer. I hope to see improvement in charging infrastructure. Charging to 90% should be good for battery health and will solve my range issues. I noticed the model number of your roadster and model S, change of just last number in model s, coincidence?
     
  20. dsm363

    dsm363 Roadster + Sig Model S

    Joined:
    May 17, 2009
    Messages:
    18,235
    Location:
    Las Vegas, NV
    Yeah, just worked out that way with the reservation numbers. Charging to 90% should make everything fine for your commute. If you can arrange plugging into a 110V outlet during the winter then you really wouldn't have anything to worry about but you will be fine driving 50 miles a day for many years regardless of weather in the 60 kWh version.
     

Share This Page