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Thoughts on expected Model 3 RWD Snow/Ice Performance?

Discussion in 'Model 3' started by kwest2, Jul 30, 2017.

  1. kwest2

    kwest2 Member

    Apr 28, 2017
    Boston, MA
    Given the wait required for AWD, wondering if anyone could assuage my concerns that a Model 3 RWD would be inadequate here in New England for winters. Have many small hills/slopes, including into my driveway. I understand Model S RWD is a good performer with snow tires, but since Model 3 weights 1,000 lbs less, wondering if that will still apply for Model 3 RWD.

    I know the low center of gravity, ~52% weight in rear, and electronic traction controls support better snow/ice performance. But still having trouble convincing myself to order the RWD version instead of waiting for the AWD version and possibly losing part of the federal tax credit in the process. Thanks in advance.

    (As an aside, right now my FWD 08 Jetta does "ok" getting up and down my driveway with Conti DWS tires - hoping for at least equal performance on a Model 3 RWD).
  2. Thomas Edison

    Thomas Edison Active Member

    Apr 3, 2016
    I've seen mention of Tesla being great cars in the snow with RWD. I can drive pretty much anything in the snow, so I don't doubt they are great. But I live on a large hill and all the chit chat I've seen about RWD model S in snow didn't specifically address hills. Can somone chime in on that please.
  3. mcghee33

    mcghee33 Member

    Feb 17, 2016
    Saint Louis MO
    I have driven a RWD MS 85 in the rain and I can tell you that it was less than great in my experience.. I had to be very mindful of how I accelerated because the wheels would easily spin if not careful. I am in the same boat living in the Midwest where we see all of the elements and I am trying to make the same decision. I know that I need AWD but may take RWD for now and order a second M3 with AWD
  4. dhrivnak

    dhrivnak Active Member

    Jan 8, 2011
    NE Tennessee
    My Roadster is RWD and it does quite well in the snow with all weather tires.
  5. CarlitoDoc

    CarlitoDoc Member

    Mar 31, 2016
    Yakima, WA
    check out Tesla Bjorn's blog/youtube. (sorry I butchered his last name)
  6. Carl

    Carl Supporting Member

    Jan 12, 2013
    My previous Tesla Model S RWD (with winter tires, of course) glued to the snow "fascinatingly" better than my previous BMW 5-series RWD (which was a nightmare) or even my previous Lexus RX AWD. I never understood how Tesla made that possible but it was really true. Of course my current AWD Tesla S does even better uphill - but then I am only referring to getting up l'Alpe d'Huez or so in a snowstorm without snow chains. In all other cases it would probably not matter at all. I'm seriously considering going back to RWD (less motor whine, more sporty feeling upon acceleration) for my next Tesla.
    • Like x 1
  7. treesandmore

    treesandmore Member

    May 30, 2017
    I'm wrestling with this question too. I'm used to driving a four wheel drive and I'm very unsure about this topic. I posed these questions and did a bit of research on another thread:

  8. skitown

    skitown Supporting Member

    Dec 28, 2015
    Central Idaho, U.S.A, Earth
    My experience: We always put winter tires on our cars where we live; even our previous Subarus. I was astounded at how well my S85 did last winter even with 3 season old Michelin ICE Xs. Very positive experience. That said, I upgraded to an 85D this summer and I expect it to be the best snow car I've ever driven. I will still run it with a studless winter setup however because we live in a ski town and I think they are worth the hassle to be safe. To try and answer your query: I think that the Model 3 will have similar (good) driving characteristics as the Model S in the snow.

    In a non-AWD vehicle, I personally, would definitely want driving on ice and snow to be the exception vs. the norm if I were not going to have a winter setup. And that feeling would probably be significantly magnified in a Tesla I loved that has more torque than is necessary in the winter. Heck, my WRX was similar, even though it was AWD. Perhaps you should go for the RWD variant with the promise to yourself that you'll get a winter setup if you feel its necessary. (?) Good problems to have, I suppose. M2C.
  9. Phillip L

    Phillip L Gas Passer

    Mar 31, 2015
    Owen Sound, Ontario, Canada
    Honestly, I have a dual motor Model S and it is great in the the snow (and do we ever get snow here). But I have had other ice cars with rear wheel drive and AWD and they did fine as well. The real deal is to have excellent snow tires, to me that is the game changer in snow. That is where the rubber meets the road/snow. Swear by the Michelin X ice 3's.
  10. alpinebum1

    alpinebum1 Member

    Apr 22, 2017
    Take the money you'll save by getting the full tax credit while ditching AWD and purchase a second set of rims with snows. I saw first hand the power of the snow tire in an Austrian ski village 6 years ago. My rental FWD (with all-season tires) didn't make it 50 feet up this 3 mile hill while a RWD BMW 3-series (driven by a friend of mine) with snows blew by me and made it to the top without issue. I had to spend $150 to buy chains on that trip :-(

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