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RWD Winter driving

Discussion in 'Model 3: Driving Dynamics' started by enwhy, Apr 4, 2018.

  1. enwhy

    enwhy Member

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    Hello TMC!

    First post here. Hoping to be a first time Tesla owner as well!

    I am located in north Toronto, Ontario, Canada, and just received the config email a week ago (yay!).

    My question for fellow TMCers is:
    - how would rear wheel drive be in winter driving (with decent winter tires)?

    I've driven mostly FWDs with the occasional AWD, so I have no idea how how it'll hold up with 4-8" of snow and ice at times. I keep hearing about spin outs, but have also heard that it's no different than FWD.

    Thanks!
     
  2. goto10

    goto10 Member

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    I haven't driven a 3 in the snow but I used to drive a Nissan 300ZX Twin Turbo RWD on Blizzaks and the car handled great as long as I wasn't deliberately trying to spin the tires by stomping the gas. Once the rear wheels do break free though it can be a bit scarier with RWD as the back of the car may decide to get ahead of the front, while a FWD spin-out is more of a general traction loss - ability to turn is decreased or lost but the orientation of the car won't change dramatically so recovery will be more straightforward. I assume the traction control on the 3 will help mitigate this.
     
  3. LucyferSam

    LucyferSam Member

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    Drove my 3 in 3-4 decent (4-8") snows this winter plus some icy days, with the stock tires. Handled differently than a FWD would so took some re-learning, but the overall stability was as good as my old FWD Camry in similar conditions.
     
  4. RDaneel

    RDaneel Member

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    I'd definitely get good winter tires, but it will be fine. The car has good stability control. Tesla recommends that you lower the regen from Standard to Low in snow, and you would obviously have to be careful on the electron lever so you don't spin the wheels on launch.
     
  5. Canuck

    Canuck Well-Known Member

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    I've driven a RWD S through four winters now but likely in better weather than what you get. It's not good from a standstill in snow and ice -- the rear tires will spin -- and I have to use chains to get up my driveway at my cabin or plow, salt and sand more than with my 4WD Tahoe (of course), but it's otherwise fine with good winter tires. It's just like a RWD ice as far as I can tell.

    I was in the same dilemma as you and held out for about week after getting my invited thinking I need AWD. But I gave in yesterday and ordered. I really want this summer with the car and life's too short, and AWD isn't that great (I had a D S loaner for a week and enjoy RWD more but AWD is more safe), and I can deal with plowing more, so I took the plunge.
     
    • Helpful x 1
  6. Col127

    Col127 Member

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    I’ve been trying to figure this out myself. I’m originally from Toronto and wanted to know what experiences Torontonians had with RWD Tesla’s. I’d personally prefer AWD but who knows when that’ll actually come out and by the time it does the tax credits will probably be gone...
     
  7. RedSafari

    RedSafari Member

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    I’m also in Toronto and have decided not to wait for AWD, ordered the currently offered config. For driving around the GTA and occasional winter skiing trips up north, AWD seemed like not a necessity.
    I’ve had a RWD BMW 3-Series and it worked well on winter tires. No problems on roads, only occasionally was difficult to start up a hill. I’m hoping the Tesla will do as good or better with its instant traction control.
     
  8. cmaster

    cmaster Member

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    Easier to diagnose and fix a RWD Tesla than a DualMotor.

    I also have a RWD Tesla Model S. Been stuck once. After you are stuck once, you will know right away that you will never be stuck again. How? You know how to park and put your wheels in better places (plan and strategize where to drive and park if it's muddy or snowy). That is all.

    Also, always carry snow chains during the winter. You will know when it will come in handy. If you cannot avoid parking in places, always back in to that sketchy parking spot. This is so you can connect a tow hook to the front easier for pulling it with another car.
     
  9. EV-lutioin

    EV-lutioin Active Member

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    I drove my Model 3 on some snowy/icy roads a few weeks ago with stock all-season tires and it handled as well as my AWD Model X. I think since it's a lighter car it felt more confident around snowy corners than my X, but if you punch it (which is not normally what one would do in the snow) the rear wheels spin a little and you get a slight fishtail before the car adjusts and very assuredly tracks straight again. I have always felt that a well-balanced, good handling car is more important in the snow than AWD and the Model 3 is both. I had no trouble starting from a stop with minimal slippage, but since it is not AWD, you would want to be smart about where you park so that you can use gravity to get going if the snow is deep.
     
  10. AviP

    AviP Member

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    I live in CT and rear wheel drive cars do not fare well if you don't have the experience. Gentle acceleration and high torque are the key. Not sure how light the rear of the M3 feels as that plays a big part as well. It's arguably toughest to drive a RWD car in winter in slow situations like parking lots that may have iced and slope away from direction of travel OR sloping driveways. At higher speeds, I would be concerned about encountering snow/ice around sweeping turns. I'm not a fan of traction control in bad weather as I find it unreliable.

    If you do go RWD, definitely get winter tires like Blizzaks or Alpins. They make a huge difference. And practise countersteering in an empty snowy lot in winter.
     
  11. Graffi

    Graffi Member

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    You can always carry a set of these in the trunk. Portable Tow Truck.

     
    • Like x 1
  12. EV-lutioin

    EV-lutioin Active Member

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    The Model 3 rear is not light at all, 1200 lbs of batteries really helps. :D
     
  13. svp6

    svp6 Member

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    See my initial impression on M3 with winter tires in snow. Since then, one more episode getting stuck in 6 inch snow with the M3, got out without any problem with the Merc E coupe AWD (both on winter tires). I think overall AWD is better in snow conditions.
     
  14. RedSafari

    RedSafari Member

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    Yours was one of the posts that helped me decide on RWD. TMC is an awesome resource.
     
  15. cmaster

    cmaster Member

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    The heavier the car, the harder it is to get unstuck. I have been stuck with the heavier model S in mud, on an incline. Don't think it helped.

     
  16. RedModel3

    RedModel3 Member

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    HAHAHAHAHA!!!! Reminds me of the time I rode my motorcycle directly into a downhill parking space. You only make a mistake like that once! I'm looking forward to ordering my RWD in a few weeks after I close on my new house. Whenever the next snow in Nashville is, I'll be able to do donuts for the first time since high school! Not that I will, of course.
     
  17. Graffi

    Graffi Member

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    For those of you living in cold country who feel it is okay to have the RWD, would you have preferred the AWD for an extra $4k over the lifetime of driving this car in the snow and ice? I am waiting on the AWD and I live in San Diego, LOL.
     
  18. cmaster

    cmaster Member

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    I think I'm okay with any. I know you would have leverage with AWD, but, it doesn't add greater benefit of getting out of being stuck. It does help, but, not to the level of a Jeep Wrangler.

    And, usually in a year, there are only a handful of days where you could benefit from having AWD anyway. So, for those handful of days, I can choose to stay home and not drive, or use my gas 4WD to handle emergency errands.

    4k$ more or $1K for a beat'em up 4WD :) . Whatever rationale, everyone has their strategies for dealing with those situations.

     
    • Like x 1
  19. S3XY

    S3XY Active Member

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    So I got my first "winter" driving experience with a Model 3 on my way home from picking it up in Mt Kisco last week. So it obviously was all stock. I thought it handled really well in the snow using just the all weather tires. On twisting two lane highways I never felt a slip. I did back off on my speed but that was just taking it down to the speed limit. The only slippage I felt was when I was on the side streets near my house and that was when I was turning onto another street. I felt the rear wheels lose grip but the traction control immediately responded, I was never even close to losing control of the car. I originally had planned on getting AWD but I'm quite certain that my RWD with snow tires on it will be all that I need. But if you live in a hilly area or where icy roads are common you may find it useful.
     
    • Informative x 2
  20. Dr Gez

    Dr Gez Member

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    I got my invite today and live in Ottawa. Really torn what to do given the amount of snow we get here. I doubt I will get the invite for the AWD until end of year and I think our $14K credit will be gone by then. Don't know what to do. I currently drive a Chevy Volt so have FWD and have no issues but I keep hearing that RWD and snow don't mix. I would get winter tires .
     

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