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We need "Off-Road Assist" for snow driving

cstork

Supporting Member
Oct 29, 2018
141
166
Colorado
My Model 3 is a bit frustrating in the snow. Even though I have AWD, it sends too much power to the rear axle and the rear slides out. The traction control kicks in eventually, but not soon enough.
However, my Model Y has "Off-Road Assist" driving mode which is much better in the snow. Since the cars are so similar, why can't Tesla bring the "Off-Road Assist" to the Model 3??? Since Tesla was able to bring "Slip-Start" to the Model 3 via software update, I would think it could also bring ""Off-Road Assist" via software update?
 

camalaio

Active Member
May 28, 2019
1,483
2,095
Vernon, BC, Canada
Ugh, I know, right?

This continues to be probably the one largest regret I have about this car. I thought I bought an AWD, not a RWD. Not even having the option to make it perform like "true AWD" like the Model Y now has... yeah, honestly, I'm upset.

Pre-emptive:
- "But Bjorn showed it uses the front motor too!" - yeah, when mashing the throttle hard. I don't drive like that on public roads. Driving gently results in only using the rear. After a slip occurs, it may send a tiny amount of power to the front, which is both too late and not enough.
- "Maybe they can't do it for the Model 3" - dyno mode applies 50/50 power, and the Model 3 does have a dyno mode.

Anyhow. Yeah. I was really hoping they were waiting for winter to roll around before offering it on Model 3s. Apparently not. This car would be amazing with Off-Road Assist. Instead my front motor is basically only used as a heater for Supercharging.
 

GtiMart

Member
Nov 13, 2019
869
701
Quebec City, Canada
Yes, but no :)

The model 3 isn't good in snow, I agree. However, it doesn't slide its back too much , it doesn't slide it enough. As soon as you give it power, when the steering is even just slightly turned, power gets cut and traction control and stability kick in. When the steering is straight you might feel the back slide a bit but that's fine, the car will never let the back slide significantly.
So yes, we need better tuning of stability and traction systems in snow. No, we don't need it even more toned down and bland than it already is. It's borderline dangerous now as the car just won't give you power when you need it.
 
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grmdl3

Member
Apr 21, 2020
154
106
Oregon
Haven't had mine in snow yet, but this is disappointing if true. I also thought I was buying an AWD vehicle. If it doesn't really respond well in low traction, I'll be bummed.
 
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dsgerbc

Member
Jun 4, 2019
502
348
Michigan
Last winter, I found the 3's AWD quite adequate in the snow with proper snow tires. It certainly didn't let me play and aggressively cut power/used brakes to squash any hint of a slide. I'm looking forward to using the track mode v2 extensively this winter.

Soooo, what tires are you guys rocking while experiencing the mentioned behavior?
 

camalaio

Active Member
May 28, 2019
1,483
2,095
Vernon, BC, Canada
Last winter, I found the 3's AWD quite adequate in the snow with proper snow tires. It certainly didn't let me play and aggressively cut power/used brakes to squash any hint of a slide. I'm looking forward to using the track mode v2 extensively this winter.

Soooo, what tires are you guys rocking while experiencing the mentioned behavior?

Nokian Hakkapeliitta here.

Aggressively cutting power (which it does, after slipping) is not the same as making effective use of the front motor (which could help prevent slipping in the first place).
 
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dsgerbc

Member
Jun 4, 2019
502
348
Michigan
Nokian Hakkapeliitta here.

Aggressively cutting power (which it does, after slipping) is not the same as making effective use of the front motor (which could help prevent slipping in the first place).
It's only cutting power if there's some steering input. It's adding the front motor if you're pointing the wheels straight.

While I would certainly appreciate some sort of regular driving mode that allows for more slip/more front motor engagement while the steering is turned, I never found the current setup unsafe on proper snow tires. Never had to use slip start or track mode to get unstuck. Now, I have not had the chance to try anything more than 6" of snow. Maybe in deeper snow it's not adequate.
 

GtiMart

Member
Nov 13, 2019
869
701
Quebec City, Canada
I had a WRX before and used the "traction mode" that raised the limits of the traction and stability systems. It made it fun in the snow but never dangerous.

I'm saying my Tesla is not very safe only in specific situations where a good driver would make the difference. If you arrive at a street corner (on snow) a bit fast and try to turn right, the car will only plow straight... There is nothing I can do to make it turn.. Now imagine a car is arriving at that corner from the right. I will plow right into it. If I could rotate the car with some rear power or a handbrake, I could turn. Instead I have to drive slower than I'm used to just in case. It kills the fun. :(

In fact this behavior of cutting power when the steering is turned made it dangerous in summer too. I was stopped at an intersection and knew I had plenty of time to turn left, crossing oncoming traffic, as the awd is fast. You can imagine my surprise when the car decide to give me like 10% of total power... I made it but barely. I would gladly take a setting to reduce this "nanny" setup
 

Kirbster

Member
Dec 21, 2019
61
88
Denver
My Model 3 is a bit frustrating in the snow. Even though I have AWD, it sends too much power to the rear axle and the rear slides out. The traction control kicks in eventually, but not soon enough.
However, my Model Y has "Off-Road Assist" driving mode which is much better in the snow. Since the cars are so similar, why can't Tesla bring the "Off-Road Assist" to the Model 3??? Since Tesla was able to bring "Slip-Start" to the Model 3 via software update, I would think it could also bring ""Off-Road Assist" via software update?
What does off road assist mode due in the Y? Is it splitting the power 50/50 or at least engaging the front motor all the time.

I completely agree with everything you said about the 3 it’s a RWD car until it slips and you mash the throttle. It also amuses me to no end how every time this issue gets brought up someone has to argue how great the car is for them and thus my experience is wrong(I had an A4 for a decade before the 3. Now that’s good AWD) or get the right tires(I have hakkapalitas) or use chill mode(maybe if you are driving in ski boots and can’t modulate the throttle).
The issue is the car has a lot of torque being sent to one axle. I paid for two motors I want it to use them versus sliding everywhere on i70 in stop and go traffic heading up a pass. If that means I have to stop and charge so be it.
 

Kirbster

Member
Dec 21, 2019
61
88
Denver
Sounds like a weather where 50% of other cars on that road would be using chains.
No just a snow storm in Colorado. You might slide a little with real all wheel drive(Audi, BMW, Subaru) and snow tires but not constantly like the Model 3 which only engages the front motor after the rear wheels have lost traction.
Yes @GtiMart we need a snow mode but it seems Tesla is unwilling to create that so I’ll take off road mode, track mode or whatever they want to call mode so that it uses both motors all the time when that mode is engaged.
 
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Kirbster

Member
Dec 21, 2019
61
88
Denver
Sure, but you'll also need a reduction in the stability and traction control systems (reduce their action, let the car do its job a little bit more) otherwise it won't be much better
If both motors were engaged when starting from a stop to 20-30mph I don’t think they will need to change much. The car is fine once moving but then again most cars are and all cars are four wheel stop I just want my dual motor model 3(which is marketed as AWD) be all wheel drive.
 

camalaio

Active Member
May 28, 2019
1,483
2,095
Vernon, BC, Canada
What does off road assist mode due in the Y? Is it splitting the power 50/50 or at least engaging the front motor all the time.

I completely agree with everything you said about the 3 it’s a RWD car until it slips and you mash the throttle. It also amuses me to no end how every time this issue gets brought up someone has to argue how great the car is for them and thus my experience is wrong(I had an A4 for a decade before the 3. Now that’s good AWD) or get the right tires(I have hakkapalitas) or use chill mode(maybe if you are driving in ski boots and can’t modulate the throttle).
The issue is the car has a lot of torque being sent to one axle. I paid for two motors I want it to use them versus sliding everywhere on i70 in stop and go traffic heading up a pass. If that means I have to stop and charge so be it.

Off-road assist basically does a full time 50/50 torque split, yes. I haven't seen a lot of data or evidence of that though.

I agree with basically everything else you said, but Chill does help beyond what you can do with your foot. It eases in throttle input in a way you don't have the resolution to with your foot (it's not just a limiter): this prevents sudden slips of all sorts, especially on icy starts. It also helps not have to be 100% precise all the time - we want to enjoy driving, not be on trial for ultra-precise foot modulation. I think we can agree that level of precision is not required in most other vehicles (probably partly because their ICE vehicles with more drivetrain momentum).

If both motors were engaged when starting from a stop to 20-30mph I don’t think they will need to change much. The car is fine once moving but then again most cars are and all cars are four wheel stop I just want my dual motor model 3(which is marketed as AWD) be all wheel drive.

So, the really funny thing about this is Model 3 is a two-wheel stop car if using regen, not four-wheel. Similar to your frustration in the previous post, I'm really frustrated by those defending regen as some ultimate smart braking system for traction. It's not. Especially since switching to any amount of friction brakes (4 wheel), even lightly, first engages full regen (2 wheel).

But I absolutely agree it's mostly fine once moving. A lot of "4WD" cars behave similar: all wheel up to some speed, then FWD onwards.
 
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GtiMart

Member
Nov 13, 2019
869
701
Quebec City, Canada
Oh, I might have not been quite understood then camalaio. I am one of those saying that regen works very well on slippery surfaces, because it reduces regen instead of completely cutting it when the wheels start locking. Some people are afraid of using regen in winter, and other EVs (like a friend's Hyundai Ioniq) completely cut regen when the wheels start locking. I'm just saying the Tesla is good enough with regen that you can keep it on. Ideally it would use the front engine too for regen, I haven't checked if it did or not. Theory as to why it might not: people are already afraid when the back wheels slip a tiny bit, they feel like they're losing control of the car. I see plenty of threads asking for a further reduction of slippage at the back (which I hope they don't do). If the front wheels slip in acceleration, or block in regen, people will be afraid they lost direction too? Just a theory...
 

Apone

Member
Oct 7, 2020
80
62
Philadelphia Area
also disappointed to hear this. I got this car over others since it was AWD and I live in PA. I've driven RWD cars with winter tires here and it can be done, just a little pucker now and then. I thought this would eliminate the specter of getting my silly sports car stuck and calling the wife.....again. Any cars I've had that had trouble had aggressive or not easily defeated traction control. I am not aware that it can be disabled on this car. So track mode.....in snow.....is my option. Can't wait to try that /s
 

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