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Petition Cal Trans to exempt Model S from tire chain requirements?

Discussion in 'California' started by Andrew, Dec 20, 2013.

  1. Andrew

    Andrew Model S #6151

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    #1 Andrew, Dec 20, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 13, 2016
    After watching this video of the Model S's performance in Norwegian snow, it seems crazy that we'd have to put chains on the Model S.

    We often drive up to Big Bear lake, and if it's snowing on Highway 38, they'll require chains on all 2WD vehicles (it's usually "R2" conditions: 4x4 vehicles with snow tires don't need chains). Anyone know who to talk to at Cal Trans to see about a tire chain exemption for a Model S with snow tires? Maybe we can start a change.org petition? ;)

     
  2. gene

    gene Active Member

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    #2 gene, Dec 20, 2013
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2013
    I believe the car in the video is using studded tires. At min. 3:24 I think I can make out the studs in the tread.

    The California Vehicle Code [Section 27454 (e)], permits studded tires to be used on vehicles between November 1 and April 30 of each year. The number of studs or the percentage of metal in contact with the roadway cannot exceed three percent of the total tire area in contact with the roadway. Since there could be some confusion on this issue, you may wish to write to the CHP. That way you will receive an official response that you can carry in your vehicle. The mailing address is:
    California Highway Patrol
    Office of Public Affairs
    P. O. Box 942898
    Sacramento, CA 94298-0001
     
  3. Andrew

    Andrew Model S #6151

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    Ooh, good eye! I agree, it does look like there are some studs there.

    So does that mean if we got studded tires for our Model S, we could skip the chains? (I know nothing about studded tires...guessing it's not worth it for just occasional snow needs?)
     
  4. TEG

    TEG TMC Moderator

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  5. Andrew

    Andrew Model S #6151

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    Thanks TEG. Looks like studded tires are totally not the way to go.

    I would still think that a Model S with snow tires would probably fare as well as a regular 2WD car with chains... Do you guys agree? If so, maybe we can try to get that exemption?
     
  6. gene

    gene Active Member

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    #6 gene, Dec 20, 2013
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2013
    No is your answer. The traction cable chains give you is extraordinary. I have been in a lot of icy conditions. Many cases such as steep icy inclines, the 4x4 with snow tires makes zero progress yet cables on a 2wd moves up and over with ease. In these cases we actually use chains front and rear on our 4x4's if in dangerous conditions or towing others out of drifts. There is no way you will get the exemption. Tesla's only possible advantage it may have over other cars is its very good traction control to get rolling. This only helps you get going. Once brakes are applied (here all cars are nearly equal), you need chains or studs if you hope to stop on ice. Strong regen may turn out to be quite dangerous on ice, I would set vehicle for low regen. Really, I am a huge Tesla fan but most any 2wd with studded tires would perform as the well studded Model S in the video.
     
  7. tdiggity

    tdiggity Member

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    This seems rather dangerous to assume you can navigate snow without chains or studs.

    If there's a chain checkpoint, then there's probably good reason to have them on.
     
  8. Jason S

    Jason S Model S Sig Perf (P85)

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    What Gene said.

    In my experience the R3 restriction is only briefly before they close the road altogether. If there was a 4x4 with chains restriction where 2wd with chains couldn't run, then I'd be in agreement. However chains do make a significant difference.

    Studded snow tires really suck anywhere where it isn't just perma-frost all winter. Studs on pavement are terrible.
     
  9. Andrew

    Andrew Model S #6151

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    Gene, tdiggity, and Jason - thanks for chiming in. And just to be clear, I'm thinking of R2, not R3, conditions.

    Gene, I understand your point about stopping on ice - but if it's R2 conditions, if some cars (4wd vehicles with snow tires), would be allowed without chains, then I don't see the difference when it comes to stopping. I've also been in plenty of conditions where my 4x4 with snow tires fared far better than a 2wd vehicle with chains.

    I get the impression that you guys haven't actually driven the Model S in snow just yet. I haven't either. So... I'd love to hear from some folks who have actually driven their Model S in snow, ideally who also have experience driving 2WD+chains... would love to get a better feel for the comparison.
     
  10. Owner

    Owner Active Member

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    I think it is hard to compare Norway to California.

    One thing to remember here at least in the Sierras, when it dumps it really dumps. I've been in blizzard like conditions a few times. Hope the rain and snow come again soon.

    We also have tons of traffic on some of the roads, making even a minor slip pretty dicey. Unlike Norway, it isn't as cold so there is less ice and roads generally clear faster if they are plowed.
     
  11. gene

    gene Active Member

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    Andrew, correct, I have not yet driven my S in snow nor ice. I have the 19" wheels so mounting cable chains will be a piece of cake. Even is there was an "exemption", I'd prefer to chain up for extra safety.
     

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