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Why I love my Model 3 in cold weather

Discussion in 'Model 3: User Interface' started by StealthP3D, Feb 15, 2019.

  1. StealthP3D

    StealthP3D Active Member

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    I'm an avid snow skier and I've really been having a blast this winter with the Model 3. Here are some of the reasons why

    1) Cabin heats up almost instantly with the powerful electric heater.
    2) Remote control of cabin heater is great on a ski morning or near the end of a ski day.
    3) Winter driving dynamics make the drive on icy roads more secure and more fun and carefree.
    4) No stinky cold starts of gas engine. I hate the smell of a cold start when we're out trying to enjoy the fresh mountain air.
    5) Instant torque makes it easy pass slow drivers.
    6) Other skiers in the parking lot strike up a conversation about using an EV to get to the ski area.
    7) No more scraping the ice off the windshield! Because that can be a tough job around here.

    Recently I had parked my car after a ski day and it was still snowing. Since the car was still warm when I parked it the first snow to land on it melted. But then the car cooled down and it kept snowing. It got down to 19 degrees F at night and the next day it looked like this:
    20190213_103836sm.jpg

    After I shovelled the driveway I brushed all the snow off the car but I noticed the entire car was encased in hard ice:
    20190214_1531sm.jpg
    Rather than open the car to get the ice scraper out and begin the laborious process of chipping it all off I simply used my phone to turn the cabin heat on. Here's a timelapse video of this ice encrusted car melting:



    Notice that the snow/ice in the lower air intake (below the bumper) also melted! I didn't know there was heater down there. The car is backed up a steep driveway so I doubt the warm cabin air made it down there unless Tesla directs some of it there or it has it's own heater.

    It's been nice not having to scrape windows off. Oh, and the doors opened normally, no frozen door seals. It seems the media tends to focus on winter issues like range loss or frozen door handles but not the things that make this car so nice to live with in the winter.
     
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  2. StealthP3D

    StealthP3D Active Member

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    #2 StealthP3D, Feb 16, 2019
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2019
    I should add, the car was reporting 27 degrees F before I turned on the heat so not super cold but, in my experience, that's when ice encrustation is most likely to happen in any car.
     
  3. electrictorque

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    I too love my model 3 in the winter. Better than any other car I had.
     
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  4. ChadS

    ChadS Last tank of gas: March 2009. EV miles: 254,000

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    #4 ChadS, Feb 16, 2019
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2019
    The only Tesla I've had a problem with in the winter was my Roadster; simply because you couldn't use the HVAC system while the car was charging. It was AC charging, so it could take hours to get a charge, and I could get cold if it was late at night and I was just sitting in the car. (I usually didn't do that, but some times there really was nothing else to do). While driving, though, it was really pretty good, although fortunately I never had to try it in deep snow.

    The others, RWD and AWD alike, have been awesome. We just got about 30" of snow over 10 days (with no warm or rainy melting days in the interim; although there was some compacting, so the total depth on the road maxed out at about 24"); that's twice as much as I can recall seeing in the last 50 years. After about a week a snowplow tried to clear our street; after getting stuck four times, they left without plowing. I've seen lots of cars abandoned on hills in the past, but while out snowshoeing this was the first time I'd seen cars abandoned in the middle of a flat road. And we saw a tow truck coming for them - but it was stuck too. The governor declared a state of emergency, and yesterday my wife saw the National Guard shoveling snow down the street. I know there are places that regularly get more snow, but this was absolutely not typical for around here, and we have a LOT of hills.

    But even before the snowplow made its valiant effort, we had gotten out in our X and got some groceries. (We were the second car to traverse our street after the biggest dump; the first vehicle that left tracks on the road was something very large, judging by the tire width and height of the snow in the center). Of course I could feel the tires constantly slipping on the ice, but the car quickly and quietly corrected - driving was simple and I felt confident the entire trip. All modern cars have electronic monitoring of wheel slip, but EVs have electronic control as well, and with good software can do a better job. My main concern was keeping out of the way of the other cars that weren't doing so well. In fact, at one point if I hadn't been able to back up quickly, another car would have slid in to me. The next day I took my P3D out; while it made a lot more scraping noises as it has less clearance than the few cars that had been out before it, and it very briefly got half high-centered and half stuck on ice as I was moving from my sloped driveway to the road over a big patch of piled snow and ice, it did great too.

    The main snow/ice consideration in any vehicle is the tires. Both of our cars currently have Pirelli Sottozero 3. That's a "winter performance" tire. They do better in snow and ice than any summer or all-seasons that I've looked at, but are not as good as most snow tires. Here in the Pacific Northwest we often have winters with no snow; and when we do get it, it is typically a few inches that disappears in a day or two, so the Sottozero is generally a great choice for us (it's great on wet or dry roads with temperatures in the 30s and 40s, which is mostly what we get) but wasn't the best pick for this past storm. But the cars took up the slack and I was really pleased with how well I was able to get around. We carried traction devices with us, but I was never saw any reason to put them on.
     
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  5. hcsharp

    hcsharp Active Member

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    We live where it snows a lot. The frozen door handles and windows on our 3D have been a little annoying a couple times. The fantastic traction control makes up for it. It's way better than ANY ice vehicle - beats AWD Subaru, Audi. The lack of battery heater is a bit disappointing. We almost never have regen and scheduled charging doesn't work very well. It often doesn't finish before you have to leave for work, even when charging all night on a 48A charger.

    My Roadster is much more reliable charging on cold nights, although it's harder to pre-heat the cabin. It also has great traction control but I wish for AWD once in a while like our M3 has. The seats are also slower to warm up than the M3. Ground clearance is terrible on both.

    IMG00016.jpg
     
  6. Chickenlittle

    Chickenlittle Active Member

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    What I am most fascinated about in the initial picture is that despite being off overnight the upper windshield by the front camera is free of snow. It continues to heat the camera with the car off
     
  7. mzairboy

    mzairboy Member

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    This is the second photo that I've seen with the snow melted around the camera area. Interesting for sure.
     
  8. electrictorque

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    Looks like you guys found a source of vampire drain... Hopefully Tesla monitor these thread..
     
  9. StealthP3D

    StealthP3D Active Member

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    I'm glad it does this. The cameras for AP are mounted high on the windscreen for safety reasons (best view of the road) but this is the area is some distance from the defroster vents and the camera shroud prevents the warm defrost air from fully reaching this critical area. So Tesla has wisely prevented this area from icing over to begin with when the car is plugged in.

    You will notice in the second photo I posted the tiny area in front of the cameras is the ONLY spot on the entire windshield that is NOT encased in ice!

    Just one more feature in this well thought out car. Anyone who says Tesla engineers are all from warm, sunny Cali and that they don't understand real winter has just been proven wrong!
     
  10. StealthP3D

    StealthP3D Active Member

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    LOL! I hope they have more productive things to do with their time. They didn't get to be the best selling luxury car in America by hanging out on the Internet forums listening to people who know less than they!
     
  11. Sophias_dad

    Sophias_dad Member

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    Notably, since that other thread about the camera rectangle remaining clear, I've occasionally checked my 3 after a cold winters night before I wake it up. It sits in our unheated garage, and so far I haven't seen a temperature difference between the camera rectangle and the rest of the windshield.

    I use an infrared thermometer doodad, and aim it at the inspection sticker and various other opaque areas of the windshield to compare against the camera rectangle.

    Maybe its just not cold enough in our garage lately(readings of windshield around 27f), as its been a pretty lame winter overall. Or maybe the camera is on all the time, and doesn't engage the rectangle-heater until it sees actual flakes accumulating.

    I'll continue to monitor....
     
  12. Nocturnal

    Nocturnal Active Member

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    Agreed. Range hurts a little on long drives but the benefits outweigh the costs.
     
  13. StealthP3D

    StealthP3D Active Member

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    I'm not sure how it "knows" when to be "on" and when it doesn't. In any case, it's clearly more intelligent than some give it credit for. Particularly those who seek to malign a valuable feature as if it's some kind of fault!
     
  14. StealthP3D

    StealthP3D Active Member

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    I was plugged in, it didn't affect the range at all. The time-lapse video in the first post makes it look like that little spot that wasn't frozen helped the entire windshield defrost a bit faster as if it gave it a starting point.
     
  15. AlanSubie4Life

    AlanSubie4Life Active Member

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    This should not be too surprising. That's where the radiator is. It seems that the battery warming was also active, in addition to the PTC heater element for the cabin. One would think that it would not tend to want to be routing coolant to the radiator in this case (at a first glance, it seems like a waste of heat), but there may be some flow, or maybe the valving of the Superbottle is such that it has to cycle coolant there. (I haven't closely looked at the available diagrams.) It's also possible they want to make sure the radiator is free of ice for whatever reason (not sure why they would care at these temperatures, but maybe just to prevent build up).
     
  16. StealthP3D

    StealthP3D Active Member

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    Good points, I hadn't considered that. I have had that area completely packed with snow and ice (from driving through deep snow) and multiple drive cycles had caused a big ice dam to form there. The next morning it was 15 degrees F outside and as I was heating the car I could hear the servos trying to open the radiator vents.

    I was like, o_O wtf, why does it want to open the vents at 15 degrees F? But it gave up after a few tries.
     
  17. AlanSubie4Life

    AlanSubie4Life Active Member

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    Well, that is definitely a good reason for them to be cycling the coolant through the radiator in sub-freezing conditions. Probably best to not have too much ice in there (I had forgotten about the radiator vents) - could cause damage. This is not a problem I am familiar with of course.
     
  18. Nocturnal

    Nocturnal Active Member

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    I don't mean vampire drain while parked but rather driving in bad/cold weather.
     
  19. StealthP3D

    StealthP3D Active Member

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    That's funny, I viewed it more as a curiosity rather than a "problem". I was thinking how the car is so smart it measures the current to the servo motors and the temperature outside and knows that it must be frozen shut. So it stopped trying (so as not to burn out the motors) made a "mental" note of the condition and probably cycled warmer coolant through the radiator after my next drive and gave it another go.

    It's almost like a pet robot there to serve me the best it knows how to. One that keeps getting smarter as the "mothership" teaches it new lessons. It's like it's alive. Speaking of which, when do we get the "follow" mode (where it follows you around like a pet)?:)
     
  20. AlanSubie4Life

    AlanSubie4Life Active Member

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    Did not mean it in a negative sense. Just in the same sense the car sees it...it’s an identified problem and it responds accordingly if it is programmed to do so.

    I meant: I do not have the problem where I end up with snow and ice jammed into my front bumper because I live in San Diego. That situation is strictly speaking a “problem”, but it may have limited or no consequences.
     

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