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RWD for rookie RWD-er

Discussion in 'Model S: Driving Dynamics' started by ChooseGreen, Apr 6, 2017.

  1. ChooseGreen

    ChooseGreen Member

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    Ontario, Canada
    I have some advice to ask of experienced RWD Model S drivers. I have searched around a bit here, but didn't come across this.

    I'm likely to get a RWD Model 3 largely due to cost. I live in a snowy part of Canada, but have driven RWD ICE cars with good snow tires before. I feel as though that combined with Tesla's excellent traction control I should be fine. Doing a bunch of reading and following Bjorn's adventures gives me additional confidence.

    My question though is that my wife has never driven a RWD vehicle regularly in the winter; the Model 3 will be our family's only vehicle. Is a RWD Model S (I suppose Roadster too) with good snow tires easy enough to drive and recover from a slippery situation should one occur? It is recommended to put the car's regen mode in 'low' for the winter months such that aggressive regen won't initiate a slide? I'm not sure if the traction control applies to the regen as well.

    Thanks for any input!
     
  2. scottm

    scottm Active Member

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    #2 scottm, Apr 6, 2017
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2017
    Don't worry about RWD electric in snow and ice, car drives fine and is easy to handle. Survived 3 winters in Edmonton, and kept the car straight all this time. Tesla has amazing traction and steering systems for slippery roads even with RWD. It is like magic in action.

    You don't have to manually switch regen to low. Regen reduction works automatically on ice. Meaning that if you hit a patch of ice while regen'ing hard the car instantly adjusts regen lower in real-time (right down to zero) to prevent rear end skid. The effect felt by the driver in these situations is the car not slowing as aggressively as it normally would (on dry road). The car might feel to be "slipping forward" in bursts, some people may confuse this accelerating forward. Rest assured that's not happening. There's just no traction to be gained from the road so it doesn't try slowing - you're coasting.

    This may surprise you! If it does surprise, you could have been driving too fast for road conditions not realizing there was reduced traction available from the road. If you apply brakes in these situations, thinking you can stop you'll find ABS kicking in as it gropes for traction on those same spots. Of course, hammer the brakes whenever you NEED TO to try and stop. Finding any kind of grip to slow down is better than hitting something.

    When I get regen "slip" because of icy conditions it causes me to begin driving slower, anticipating reduced traction and longer stopping distances required.

    One thing you need to know is getting RWD moving from a stop on sheer ice can sometimes be fruitless. Car does not move if there is near frictionless traction... slight slope uphill on sheer ice is a no go! The car does not want to spin rear tires. To get out of this situation, ironically, turn OFF traction control, which allows the wheels to "spin anyway". You need good snow/ice tires in winter (not all seasons) and a light touch on the go pedal and prayers to get some forward crawl going to build up momentum to get underway again. Moral of this story: Avoid coming to rest on sheer ice inclines. At times, I have intentionally not stopped at stop signs but simply very slowly crawled through them at 1 mph just to prevent coming to rest. Big difference between "stopped" and rolling through at 1 mph.

    I suggest carrying a couple containers of grit to toss under rear wheels to get into motion again. Throwing down 500 ml container of grit per side of the car for about a 1m "runway" ahead of the rear wheels is all it would take.
     
    • Like x 2
  3. tliving

    tliving Member

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    I have RWD on my S and its been fine for years here in New England (get good snow tires). But as @scottm said, getting going is the hardest part. Sometimes you just can't move and thats the most frustrating. I've never been stuck but it's been close a few times. I'll be getting an AWD 3.
     
    • Like x 1
  4. ChooseGreen

    ChooseGreen Member

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    Awesome, thanks for your first-hand accounts @scottm and @tliving ! I was pretty sure on this, but it is very helpful to hear of your experiences in similar climates.
     
  5. ChooseGreen

    ChooseGreen Member

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    ...oh yeah, great description by the way! Tesla systems never cease to amaze do they?
     

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