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my S is a different car in winter vs. summer

David in NC

Member
Feb 13, 2019
85
73
NC
I have in the past taken up to 260 mile nonstop trips without hesitation or incident (2018 MS, 335 mi published range, charges to 332). I have never before faced severe range anxiety until yesterday. I knew the car was less efficient in cold weather, but I took a 145 mile trip in the freezing rain, needing lights, wipers and defrost/heat and what a disaster (using range mode too). Granted I only started with 150 miles charge, but I stopped twice for 15 minute partial supercharging and got to my destination with 20 miles of range, scrambling for a level II charger to get to the next supercharger on my way home. This has left an indelible impression on me and more so my traumatized wife. We won't be taking the Tesla on our next winter roadtrip. Summer, no problem, just not the same car.

And BTW, those who say the S charges a little faster at a V3 250 kW supercharger, the answer is no. I find charging random (not definitely correlated with kW rating of the SC or number of cars simultaneously charging. My best SC yesterday was standard 150 kW rating, with other cars charging, yet starting at about 650 mi/hr and never going below 400 mi/hr (as opposed to others starting in the 400s and tapering to the 200s).
 

ThomasD

Active Member
Nov 22, 2019
1,012
436
Breckenridge Co Ky
I'm curious what are the chances that an older Tesla that a person purchased used could handle long distance frigid weather. If it had a 130 mile range could one travel round trip 95 miles on one charge.
 

pabla

Member
Oct 17, 2016
244
141
Vancouver
I have in the past taken up to 260 mile nonstop trips without hesitation or incident (2018 MS, 335 mi published range, charges to 332). I have never before faced severe range anxiety until yesterday. I knew the car was less efficient in cold weather, but I took a 145 mile trip in the freezing rain, needing lights, wipers and defrost/heat and what a disaster (using range mode too). Granted I only started with 150 miles charge, but I stopped twice for 15 minute partial supercharging and got to my destination with 20 miles of range, scrambling for a level II charger to get to the next supercharger on my way home. This has left an indelible impression on me and more so my traumatized wife. We won't be taking the Tesla on our next winter roadtrip. Summer, no problem, just not the same car.

And BTW, those who say the S charges a little faster at a V3 250 kW supercharger, the answer is no. I find charging random (not definitely correlated with kW rating of the SC or number of cars simultaneously charging. My best SC yesterday was standard 150 kW rating, with other cars charging, yet starting at about 650 mi/hr and never going below 400 mi/hr (as opposed to others starting in the 400s and tapering to the 200s).

The newer model S ravens with the G and H pack revisions can go up to 200 or 220 kW btw which you can only get a V3.

As for your range, whenever I do a trip in the winter I always charge to 100% to prevent exactly what happened to you. Thankfully you didnt get stranded!
 

Eikrokei

Member
Oct 24, 2012
52
17
Harstad, Norway
I knew the car was less efficient in cold weather, but I took a 145 mile trip in the freezing rain, needing lights, wipers and defrost/heat and what a disaster (using range mode too). We won't be taking the Tesla on our next winter roadtrip.

Speaking as someone who lives in Northern Norway (well north of the polar circle), freezing rain is a contradiction, it's either rain or it's freezing, but it's not both at the same time. I've frequently taken my Model S on roadtrips in temperatures of -20 degrees Celsius and this works fine, but you have to take into account that your range will be no more than 75% of what you achieve during summer. If you're not aware of this you'll end up in the sort of unfortunate situation you've just described.

As an amusing sidenote, there's a low pressure zone just behind the vertical drop on the tailgate. During long winter roadtrips snow is sucked in by this low pressure zone and can start to build on the back of the vehicle. On occasion my Model S has been somewhere between 30 and 40 centimeters longer on arrival at my destination than it was on departure. Quite the annoyance since it both obscures the rear lights and makes accessing the trunk a real hassle.
 

Zythryn

Model Y custom Warming Stripes wrap.
Mar 18, 2009
2,173
1,191
Minnesota
Sorry to hear you had a bad experience.
One point though, no car of any type is the same in summer and winter.
Freezing rain will suck energy big time. In an ICE vehicle it means more gas stops. In an EV it means higher starting SOC or more charging stops.

Driving conditions affect on efficiency & range does take learning. Driving in cold weather, with freezing rain, is about as bad as it gets. The only things that would make it worse would be a headwind and driving on larger/sport wheels.

My advice would be to always charge extra when driving under knew or unknown conditions. If you have company, or a hard deadline, double the cushion and charge even more.
As you gain experience in different conditions you will become more comfortable. And in that greater comfort, you will be happier, which is what the end goal is :cool:
 

croman

Active Member
Nov 21, 2016
4,690
6,662
Chicago, IL
I am always glad to have my Model S in the winter. It's the best car. The safest car. I don't mind less efficiency but there's a heap of tricks to make sure none of this negative stuff happens but I know I'm willing to deal with the negatives for the major safety benefits of the Tesla drivetrain (esp dual motor).

I was loving the 14 inches we got over the weekend and loving even more that I could drive with confidence.
 

glide

Active Member
Jun 6, 2018
2,953
3,024
USA
I'm curious what are the chances that an older Tesla that a person purchased used could handle long distance frigid weather. If it had a 130 mile range could one travel round trip 95 miles on one charge.
The chances are about 0%. Expect your range to be cut in half during extreme cold.
 
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ucmndd

Well-Known Member
Mar 10, 2016
6,519
12,190
California
... I took a 145 mile trip in the freezing rain, needing lights, wipers and defrost/heat and what a disaster (using range mode too). Granted I only started with 150 miles charge, but I stopped twice for 15 minute partial supercharging and got to my destination with 20 miles of range, scrambling for a level II charger to get to the next supercharger on my way home.

This sounds like it was entirely avoidable and could have been handled completely drama-free with only the slightest behavior modification on your part. Why on earth would you not spend the extra 20 minutes supercharging necessary to alleviate all of the risk and avoid unnecessarily "traumatizing" your wife? Sounds like you had ample opportunity to charge.
 

David in NC

Member
Feb 13, 2019
85
73
NC
shoulda, woulda, coulda, easy for you to say now...
I stopped at a SC 15 min into the trip and topped off to around 250 mile range, my car just burned up the juice
 

BooMan

Member
Oct 28, 2018
79
49
Detroit
shoulda, woulda, coulda, easy for you to say now...
I stopped at a SC 15 min into the trip and topped off to around 250 mile range, my car just burned up the juice
As others have stated, range in winter sucks. Expect ~40% range drop assuming you drive as normal. I live in the upper Midwest so am somewhat used to this. Two rules of thumb for long road trips:1) always leave home with 100% - no exception. If can’t do 100% I simply take the other car (ICE SUV) and 2) if I have to be where I am going ASAP ( and I still want to drive for some reason) I simply take the ice car. I have to make ~600 mi (one way) twice a year and if I need to travel with the wife we either fly or take her (ice) car. The additional +1.5 of charging is not worth the nagging IMHO. Winter just makes that 2x worse
 

2101Guy

Active Member
Jan 6, 2020
1,517
1,334
USA
OP's experience sounds about right. Using seat heaters and lowering the cabin temp to 68 along with keeping the speeds down to no more than the given speed limit (or less if safe) can help some. Also, ensuring you use the cars navigation feature to get to the SC will help ensure the battery is fully warmed/prep to accept fastest charge.

Beyond that, proper planning ahead of the trip to leave with 100% charge and maybe use all of the features of Abetterrouteplanner is best one can do
 

DMC-Orangeville

85D and John Deere 5100E
Feb 14, 2015
941
1,164
Orangeville ON Canada
Speaking as someone who lives in Northern Norway (well north of the polar circle), freezing rain is a contradiction, it's either rain or it's freezing, but it's not both at the same time.

Well, I guess you don't live at the latitude needed to have this occur - and it does.

The most dangerous winter weather is freezing rain. It happens, most frequently, when a weak warm front ( +2C/35F ) pushes in over cold air and ground (-3C/28F ). It rains, sometimes heavily, and freezes on impact. Unsalted roads become instant skating rinks, trees get so heavy that whole forests can fall, and power poles snap like twigs ( see Quebec ice storm 1998 - a bunch of the province had no power for weeks ).

Driving: - Well, cold rainy weather decreases range significantly. In that the rain is freezing when it hits your car, means a heavier car to move, and the defrost has to run at high to keep any visibility. This can be a 50% range eater - as the OP found out. I live in an area where we get a couple of storms like this every winter.....but none so far this season.

As others have pointed out, always leave with more charge than you think you need, and stay longer at the Supercharger along the route.
 
Oct 10, 2019
308
151
So-Cal
Ok so i read this as you didn't plan ahead and left the house with half a charge and didn't stop for a long enough charge when you had the opportunity to do so. This sounds like a 100% user error.

As an amusing sidenote, there's a low pressure zone just behind the vertical drop on the tailgate. During long winter roadtrips snow is sucked in by this low pressure zone and can start to build on the back of the vehicle. On occasion my Model S has been somewhere between 30 and 40 centimeters longer on arrival at my destination than it was on departure. Quite the annoyance since it both obscures the rear lights and makes accessing the trunk a real hassle.

I've had this happen a few times when i drive up around in California during the winter. gotta get the windshield scraper out and clear off the trunk it def gets a ton of snow stuck to it.
 
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Oct 29, 2020
24
30
West Hollywood
I have in the past taken up to 260 mile nonstop trips without hesitation or incident (2018 MS, 335 mi published range, charges to 332). I have never before faced severe range anxiety until yesterday. I knew the car was less efficient in cold weather, but I took a 145 mile trip in the freezing rain, needing lights, wipers and defrost/heat and what a disaster (using range mode too). Granted I only started with 150 miles charge, but I stopped twice for 15 minute partial supercharging and got to my destination with 20 miles of range, scrambling for a level II charger to get to the next supercharger on my way home. This has left an indelible impression on me and more so my traumatized wife. We won't be taking the Tesla on our next winter roadtrip. Summer, no problem, just not the same car.

And BTW, those who say the S charges a little faster at a V3 250 kW supercharger, the answer is no. I find charging random (not definitely correlated with kW rating of the SC or number of cars simultaneously charging. My best SC yesterday was standard 150 kW rating, with other cars charging, yet starting at about 650 mi/hr and never going below 400 mi/hr (as opposed to others starting in the 400s and tapering to the 200s).

The Model S/X did not get 250kW capable charging until June 2020 via a software update, and it is not clear when the hardware related implementation was.
 

Uncle Paul

Well-Known Member
Nov 1, 2013
6,286
6,821
Canyon Lake,CA
My Buick is a different car in Winter vs. Summer as well.

In Summer I can drive quickly around corners, ride with my window open for fresh air and don't need to use the heater.
In Winter on snow covered streets it slides around and is almost uncontrollable, I must close ALL the windows and use the heater as well to be reasonably comfortable :)

As usual, YMMV
 

Hayseed_MS

Who's the Good Doge?
Jan 19, 2021
1,046
3,340
Strongbadia
My Buick is a different car in Winter vs. Summer as well.

In Summer I can drive quickly around corners, ride with my window open for fresh air and don't need to use the heater.
In Winter on snow covered streets it slides around and is almost uncontrollable, I must close ALL the windows and use the heater as well to be reasonably comfortable :)

As usual, YMMV

An obvious defect. How long has GM known about this and still sold you the vehicle??
 

random155

Member
Mar 18, 2019
876
450
NJ
Cut the guy a break. He's just venting about how much more range the car uses in the cold weather, through his experience. Whether he charged "properly" according the charging experts or not, he just venting like a lot of us do.
 

aerodyne

Active Member
Nov 19, 2018
2,536
2,240
Los Angeles
Cut the guy a break. He's just venting about how much more range the car uses in the cold weather, through his experience. Whether he charged "properly" according the charging experts or not, he just venting like a lot of us do.

No one has mentioned the obvious...charge before leaving and precondition the battery. 100% SoC is not needed, and will in fact decrease range on the older cars as all the pumps will run at 100%

With a cold pack below 50 deg F you will loose regen and risk the bat heater coming on and potentially drawing 12Kw.
 
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