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MSLR 2023 Winter and Hill Driving Review

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Drove from the Bay Area to Lake Tahoe this past ski week with the family and 2 small/medium size dogs and a bunch of cold weather gear (sleds etc). Here's a quick review of the experience.

tl;dr - the car did extremely well with both hill driving to altitude (8200ft) and weather (15 degree weather, no road clearing).


We started from Cupertino with 95% charge (~385 miles). It was cool (50 degrees) and raining. The only stop was at Placerville for a bio break and a quick bite. We did this leg staying with the flow of traffic around 70-75mph. While the car had enough range to make it South Lake Tahoe without a charge, but we wanted to have 40-50% charge due to expected heavy snowfall later that day and the inconvenience of trying to SC locally after settling in at our destination. So we charged up to 80% at Placerville.


A notable aspect of the drive was my spouse not having any trace of motion sickness that ruined her experience every time we drove to Tahoe previously in the old S, which had coil suspension. We've found that the smart air suspension on this car effectively eliminates the problem for her under normal conditions.

Arrived in South Lake Tahoe (6200' elev) with just under 50% charge and parked overnight outside our Airbnb, leading to the car being buried under over half a foot of snow, but unlike my old 75D, it barely lost any range - about 5 miles - overnight. Nighttime temps were around 10-15. The car still has OEM Continental Procontact RX all seasons. In slip start mode with the car parked on a slanted driveway nose up and tilted right, the tires worked fine, with minimal side slipping . On the evening of the first full day, I charged a short while to about 60% at SLT because of planned day trips.

Ski trips

We drove over to Mt Rose (8200' elev) - a 95 mile round trip - on each of the next two days. Yes I know - it's up in North Lake Tahoe, but it was planned after we booked the Airbnb... The first outing began in solidly R-2 conditions early AM, 20 degrees, no snow clearing with high winds and localized snowfall. Surprisingly the uphill drive in near whiteout conditions only consumed ~75 rated miles for ~48 miles.

Wife noted some motion sickness, through the slippery conditions even though it was barely perceptible. Nowhere as bad as it could be, but she noticed she was a little queasy. We got to Mt Rose and skiied all day, during which time the car lost about 5 rated miles with Sentry Mode on.

The drive back was under better road conditions but still in the low 20s. We made it back consuming a mere 30 rated miles doing at the speed limit. Since the roads had been cleared during the day, wife didn't encounter any motion sickness. I'd originally assumed I'd lose so much charge that I'd need to charge again for the same trip the next day, but with 45% left, I did nothing. By now I was reassured that the car was handling the cold nights parked outside just fine (we've always garaged our cars and the Bay Area is a lot milder).

The second day of skiing started much colder - 10-15 degrees - but no additional snow. The drive wsa a lot easier and faster as a result. More importantly, there was no motion sickness unlike the previous morning. Once again the car was predictable in how it retained battery capacity, and we finally made it back to SLT with ~22% left.


We had a planned stop at Roseville, and I quickly charged up to 75% in SLT before heading downhill, which proved more than sufficient to make it all the way back without any additional charging, thanks to the long downhill regen benefit. Kept with the fast lane traffic all the way down.

* Given the ambient conditions between 10-30 degrees with heavy snowfall multiple days, the car's ability to maintain charge and driving range in hilly areas between 6000-8500 ft elevation was much better than I hoped.
* The air suspension is an enormous benefit to those who have motion sickness especially in hilly conditions.
* The much faster charging speeds are a revelation coming from a 2016, for which charging stops were a logistical consideration. This one can actually treat a charging stop as 10-15 min at the most, which is fine.
* The old 75D was a reasonable touring option for flattish road trips (e.g. SoCal), but into Tahoe it was always a bit difficult because it needed long charging stops and a gentle foot on the go pedal. The 2023 LR can easily do the drive with no charging stops even in winter starting from 90% SoC, and can be driven hard while at it.
Great to hear that. I'm definitely surprised how much better the car is than what I thought were pretty well grounded expectations after owning an older S. This is definitely a very different car in cold weather and high altitude conditions.
Drove up to Tahoe again last weekend. We faced the huge snowstorm at the Donner summit, which thinned out traffic to almost nothing . Once again, the car performed great - the tires seemingly got better after a few minutes over snow. The wheel wells tend to accumulate a lot of muddy snow though - it seems to love to stick to the felt wheelwell cover.

One thing thats a problem is that the AP camera housing tends to fog up in the cold and sometimes this means AP/TACC does not work later when the conditions are sufficiently back to normal to be using them.

Another thing that happened repeatedly was the notification that the door pillar camera were blocked or blinded in the rain and snow. Coming from AP1, I've never seen those warnings before.

The range was again pretty good for an uphill (7000') climb in temperatures that started out in the 50s and was in the high 20s when we got to Truckee (225mi) to charge up. Started with just over 90% and we were at under 15% when we stopped there to charge in the middle of a snowstorm, which I thought was excellent, having done most of the flat section up to Auburn at 72-75mph keeping with the traffic.
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