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Winter Driving Experiences

kevincwelch

Active Member
May 13, 2012
2,060
99
Chicagoland
Driving in snow

Hi, everyone.

First post here. Will be reserving a Tesla this coming weekend most likely.

I live in the Chicago area. Does anyone have sense regarding who the Model S will perform in snow? Is there any direct data or data from the Roaster?

Thanks
 

jerry33

(S85-3/2/13 traded in) X LR: F2611##-3/27/20
Mar 8, 2012
19,626
22,235
Texas
I live in the Chicago area. Does anyone have sense regarding who the Model S will perform in snow? Is there any direct data or data from the Roaster?

Tesla did cold weather testing on the Model S this winter. Unfortunately, they did not release any details so what you see in the video is all the information there is. The Roadster is quite a different vehicle (lighter, different battery placement) so it doesn't really have any bearing on how the Model S will handle.

With vehicle stability control, traction control and the weight of the battery being even on both axles, the winter ability should be quite good (probably better than many 4x4 vehicles) if proper tires are installed. The main concern is that Tesla chose to equip the Model S with 19" and 21" wheels rather than more sensible 15" or 16" wheels. The 19" tires should perform satisfactorily if proper tires are chosen but had they chosen 15" or 16" wheels the Model S would eat up almost every other vehicle out there. The 21" will be quite poor in winter conditions, so don't get those.
 

Zythryn

Model Y custom Warming Stripes wrap.
Mar 18, 2009
2,169
1,189
Minnesota
Our Roadster performed very well over two winters (Minnesota).
While there are a lot of difference between the Roadster and the Model S, one thing I expect will be the same is:
The traction control is the best I have ever experienced. It is simply phenomenal!
Most of the time I would not even be aware it had engaged unless I noticed the TC light on the dash.
These guys are Masters of software, which is exactly what traction control is I guess;)
 

rabar10

Model 3 >> Focus Electric
Dec 3, 2010
1,455
186
Indianapolis, IN
While there are a lot of difference between the Roadster and the Model S, one thing I expect will be the same is:
The traction control is the best I have ever experienced. It is simply phenomenal!
Most of the time I would not even be aware it had engaged unless I noticed the TC light on the dash.
These guys are Masters of software, which is exactly what traction control is I guess;)
With an electric drivetrain, the ability to quickly and precisely adjust torque is the key. That said, you do need great control software to take advantage of it. By all claims, the end result in the Roadster has been superb, no reason to think it will be any less on the Model S.
 

dsm363

Roadster + Sig Model S
May 17, 2009
18,278
151
Nevada
Ahh, snow. Remember what it looks like almost. It did ice over here during the Super Bowl so I did drive my Roadster on a small patch of ice before it melted. Not sure if that counts.

I agree with everyone above. I don't see why the Model S would be any different and likely better with its traction control. Tires have a lot to do with it so if you can switch to winter tires during the winter (19" rims) then you should be fine. Welcome as well.
 
Last edited:

Doug_G

Lead Moderator
Apr 2, 2010
17,881
3,347
Ottawa, Canada
A few months ago I got caught in a blizzard in my Roadster. It handled the conditions very well. As others have mentioned the traction control is amazingly good. I'm sure the Model S will do as well or better.
 

hcsharp

Active Member
Jun 7, 2011
3,379
1,340
Vermont
Tesla did cold weather testing on the Model S this winter. Unfortunately, they did not release any details so what you see in the video is all the information there is. The Roadster is quite a different vehicle (lighter, different battery placement) so it doesn't really have any bearing on how the Model S will handle.
I think you might be a little misinformed Jerry. There are a number of similarities to the Roadster that shed light on how the S will do in snow. Electric drive combined with good sensors and software will beat a similar ICE vehicle hands down. Quick response time, ability to turn wheels extremely slow, continuously variable torque based on available traction independent of speed, no jerky motion to initiate slip (such as transmission shifting) are all qualities that are shared with the Roadster and contribute to great winter handling. Having said that, I think the Roadster will perform better in some cases because it has a higher percentage of its weight over the drive wheels. And in some instances the S will perform better because the suspension will not be as stiff. You'll notice this advantage on uneven ground.

With vehicle stability control, traction control and the weight of the battery being even on both axles, the winter ability should be quite good (probably better than many 4x4 vehicles) if proper tires are installed. The main concern is that Tesla chose to equip the Model S with 19" and 21" wheels rather than more sensible 15" or 16" wheels. The 19" tires should perform satisfactorily if proper tires are chosen but had they chosen 15" or 16" wheels the Model S would eat up almost every other vehicle out there. The 21" will be quite poor in winter conditions, so don't get those.
Larger tires actually help with winter traction. It's only a problem if you are restricted to very low profile tires which might be the case. But really that's a body problem, not a wheel size problem. I agree with your other comments in this paragraph.

I'm looking forward to the adjustable air suspension to raise the Model S when it gets deep. That would have prevented me from plowing snow a couple times in the Roadster last winter!
 

jerry33

(S85-3/2/13 traded in) X LR: F2611##-3/27/20
Mar 8, 2012
19,626
22,235
Texas
I think you might be a little misinformed Jerry. There are a number of similarities to the Roadster that shed light on how the S will do in snow. Electric drive combined with good sensors and software will beat a similar ICE vehicle hands down. Quick response time, ability to turn wheels extremely slow, continuously variable torque based on available traction independent of speed, no jerky motion to initiate slip (such as transmission shifting) are all qualities that are shared with the Roadster and contribute to great winter handling. Having said that, I think the Roadster will perform better in some cases because it has a higher percentage of its weight over the drive wheels. And in some instances the S will perform better because the suspension will not be as stiff. You'll notice this advantage on uneven ground.

Okay, that sounds reasonable.


Larger tires actually help with winter traction. It's only a problem if you are restricted to very low profile tires which might be the case. But really that's a body problem, not a wheel size problem.

I guess we need to define larger. That was my fault for being imprecise. Larger overall diameter tires with the same tread width will perform better because the angle between the contact patch and the free radius is smaller. This helps keep the tire from digging in if the snow is soft and allows the tire to conform to the road surface if the snow is hard. If the tread width is wider but the tire is the same diameter, forward and braking traction will be reduced because there are fewer traction pieces (blocks and sipes) on the ground lined up one after another (like cleats on a tracked vehicle) and the tire will tend to hop and slide over irregularities rather than conform to them.

I'm looking forward to the adjustable air suspension to raise the Model S when it gets deep. That would have prevented me from plowing snow a couple times in the Roadster last winter!

Me too.
 

dj905

Member
Jan 16, 2010
213
40
GTA, Canada
I am interested in hearing about real world experiences with the Model S in cold weather, and snow. Now that we are in December, someone must have encountered some inclement weather. We've had a bit of snow in Ontario, Canada, but no Model S deliveries yet.

David
 

jerry33

(S85-3/2/13 traded in) X LR: F2611##-3/27/20
Mar 8, 2012
19,626
22,235
Texas
I am interested in hearing about real world experiences with the Model S in cold weather, and snow. Now that we are in December, someone must have encountered some inclement weather. We've had a bit of snow in Ontario, Canada, but no Model S deliveries yet.

Sorry, can't help:

Record Report
Statement as of 12:41 PM CST on December 02, 2012

...Record high minimum temperature tied at Dallas Fort Worth...

A record high minimum temperature of 64 degrees was tied at Dallas
Fort Worth yesterday. This record was previously set in 1933 and 1982.

Record Report
Statement as of 4:50 PM CST on December 01, 2012

...Record high temperature set at Waco...

The high temperature today at Waco Regional Airport was 83 degrees.
This broke the old record high for December 1st of 81 degrees which
was set in 1970.
 

William13

Active Member
Mar 19, 2011
1,003
86
South Bend
No snow accumulation here yet. Just melting variety so far. Very warm today in the mid fifties.

I am waiting impatiently to see how my over powered electric car drives in the snow.
 

mikevbf

Supporting Member
Feb 11, 2012
1,856
4,331
vermont
RWD Model S Winter Performance Reports

I know that it has been well established that the Roadster with its TC plus a good set of tires does an admirable job climbing slippery roads. I assume that the Model S would perform as well if not better in these conditions. Now that winter is setting in I thought this would be the ideal time to start collecting Model S owner reports/videos of how the the car performs on slippery climbs of driveways and mountains. Please include which tires you are using in your report. Thanks.
 

FlasherZ

Sig Model S + Sig Model X + Model 3 Resv
Jun 21, 2012
7,024
1,013
No snow/ice reports yet, but I can confirm that with 30-35 deg F ambient (-1 to +1 deg C), I have had no problems with the 21" performance wheels on my model S on wet roads. Traction control has kicked in but I feel comfortable with it even though I can feel tires spin very rarely.
 

Laumb

smrtass.
Oct 9, 2012
326
16
Lost in Norway
Have had a test drive In Oslo.
-8*C, fresh snow, slippery conditions and 19" wheels. Not sure About the tires as its their demo car, but its not Nokian Hakkapelliita, I rememver that much.

Personally i think the Traction control is awesome! I tried a zero - 60km/h kickdown going uphill ( started In the middle). It went absolutely fine! No drama! Just a slow(er), easy, smooth acceleration. Car didn't seem nervous at all. Had a few 0-60 runs aswell on average snow covered roads, performs superior.

On normal driving you will notice that it is a rear wheel drive vehicle, and you certainly do take notice its a beast on batterymunchies- yet i feel as comfortable In it as In my Saab!


_____
Tapatalkin' from iTalatut.
 

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