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Winter handling Subaru vs dual-motor model Y

Snow Drift

[Off-Road Assist] Activated
Feb 10, 2016
2,170
1,711
Long Island
Are there any videos showing the split when Off-Road Assist is enabled? That would be really interesting to see.
Not that I have found. Some roller tests exist and the fronts get more torque sooner.

good question. Seems like this would be a simple solution by adding a snow mode with the proper torque distribution to maximize traction in winter conditions. Even my Grand Cherokee has a snow mode.
Well, your GC is mostly just reducing throttle input, maybe more torque to the secondary axle, and preventing the traction control nannies from kicking in sooner. That exists on the MY with Off Road Mode and Slip Start.
Thanks, I know Bjorn, but I didn't watch in this detail. So at low power, M3/MY are RWD, and S/X are FWD? Sheesh, I like my Crosstrek more now.



Yeah, a simple F:R slider would help here. Or maybe a fixed 30:70 or whatever.
Well, RWD or FWD when cruising, but once there is slip or cornering, etc the secondary motor kicks on and the speed is a lot faster and more controlled than a mechanical differential. I have had Subarus for 19 years and I like the 3/Y in the snow/rain etc.

The M3P Track Mode allows that. You can set it to 20/80, 30/70, etc.
 
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Do you happen to know what's the difference in behavior between off Road and Slip Start? Very interested to know.

@masotime as is often the case, this info can be found in the owner's manual:

  • Slip Start is designed to make it easier to dislodge Model Y when stuck in mud, snow, ice, etc. Turning on Slip Start allows the wheels to spin, making it possible to rock Model Y out of a situation in which the wheels are stuck.

  • Off-Road Assist is designed to provide overall improvements when driving off-road. In addition to allowing the wheels to spin, Off-Road Assist balances the torque between the front and rear motors to optimize traction. Off-Road Assist improves traction on rough and soft surfaces where one side of the vehicle may lose traction while the other side still has traction. When Off-Road Assist is on, the accelerator pedal provides more gradual torque, which is useful for crawling at low speeds (for example, over rocky surfaces). When enabled, OFF-ROAD displays on the touchscreen above the driving speed.
 
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@masotime as is often the case, this info can be found in the owner's manual:

Thanks! I guess it's still unclear to me what's the difference between "allowing the wheels to spin" versus "balancing then torque between front and rear motors". Does this mean that Slip start doesn't balance the torque? Or that Off-road assist doesn't allow the wheels to spin?
 
Thanks! I guess it's still unclear to me what's the difference between "allowing the wheels to spin" versus "balancing then torque between front and rear motors". Does this mean that Slip start doesn't balance the torque? Or that Off-road assist doesn't allow the wheels to spin?

@masotime the answer to both your questions is in the quoted blurb where it says "In addition to allowing the wheels to spin, Off-Road Assist balances the torque between the front and rear motors to optimize traction." In other words: both modes allow the wheels to spin, while only Off-Road Assist also balances the torque.
 
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Ok that's interesting. I assumed that allowing the wheels to spin requires torque anyway, so if Slip start is spinning the wheels without "balancing the torque" I assume it's using torque in some non-balanced way?

Regardless it sounds like off-road assist is what you want to use in most circumstances, since it appears to subsume slip-start?
 

Snow Drift

[Off-Road Assist] Activated
Feb 10, 2016
2,170
1,711
Long Island
Ok that's interesting. I assumed that allowing the wheels to spin requires torque anyway, so if Slip start is spinning the wheels without "balancing the torque" I assume it's using torque in some non-balanced way?

Regardless it sounds like off-road assist is what you want to use in most circumstances, since it appears to subsume slip-start?
Slip Start is for one moment in time. As in, you are stuck when parked in deep mud/snow and just need to free yourself. SS will reduce the intervention of the traction control, and prevents power reduction, so that the wheels slip to gain traction (sometimes grit is needed, not control). This will continue to allow the car to determine which motor is active, could still be RWD if that works. This is similar to just about all cars that have a VDC/ESP off button.

Off Road Mode is for an extended period of time, especially driving off-pavement. ORM activates the front motor also, more frequently (or maybe the whole time?), plus reduces throttle input for crawling, and it may even induce braking to allow "side to side" traction.
 
Snow Drift - Now I need to try ORM just to see the difference. I don't have any real issues in the snow/ice in my Y compared to other AWD vehicles I have/have had... I do have studded winter tires that help a LOT. I have a few slippery streets that I may run it on in different modes just to see the difference. And I have one of those low end user situations of a steep snow/ice covered driveway, steep windy, banking, off canter turns where I see vehicles in the ditch often... The Y handles these fine.

I also agree it is hard to know just how good or bad one car handles vs. another - because we all expect different things and have different experiences. Almost anything handles better then my F350 in 2WD, even with studded snow tires.
 
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Snow Drift

[Off-Road Assist] Activated
Feb 10, 2016
2,170
1,711
Long Island
Snow Drift - Now I need to try ORM just to see the difference. I don't have any real issues in the snow/ice in my Y compared to other AWD vehicles I have/have had... I do have studded winter tires that help a LOT. I have a few slippery streets that I may run it on in different modes just to see the difference. And I have one of those low end user situations of a steep snow/ice covered driveway, steep windy, banking, off canter turns where I see vehicles in the ditch often... The Y handles these fine.

I also agree it is hard to know just how good or bad one car handles vs. another - because we all expect different things and have different experiences. Almost anything handles better then my F350 in 2WD, even with studded snow tires.
I have used ORM and I notice that the throttle is greatly reduced, requiring you to go deeper into the pedal than normal (they did this for rock crawling to reduce wheel spin). It definitely changes things.
 
I have used ORM and I notice that the throttle is greatly reduced, requiring you to go deeper into the pedal than normal (they did this for rock crawling to reduce wheel spin). It definitely changes things.
Yeah - it seems like leaving the car alone is good enough for me. If I get into a tight spot it seems like it may help. I've gotten pretty good at having a light foot though. Not even a fan of chill mode.
 

Snow Drift

[Off-Road Assist] Activated
Feb 10, 2016
2,170
1,711
Long Island
Yeah - it seems like leaving the car alone is good enough for me. If I get into a tight spot it seems like it may help. I've gotten pretty good at having a light foot though. Not even a fan of chill mode.
Agreed. I have never used Chill Mode. I just adjust the amount of pressure on the throttle and reduce steering inputs in low traction situations.

Slip Start is for starting off in deep snow, if normal mode doesn't work.

ORM is for doing silly things.

I would like Track Mode to manually adjust the torque distribution f:r.

But, again, normal mode works 99% of the time without issues.
 
Agreed. I have never used Chill Mode. I just adjust the amount of pressure on the throttle and reduce steering inputs in low traction situations.

Slip Start is for starting off in deep snow, if normal mode doesn't work.

ORM is for doing silly things.

I would like Track Mode to manually adjust the torque distribution f:r.

But, again, normal mode works 99% of the time without issues.
inergen makes a plug in module and you can control tq split with it. However, It's probably a warranty voiding thing. Even though it's "removeable" - FWIW, it's the same company that can give you either 50HP or all of the performance upgrade on the Y without going through Tesla. Just in case you REALLY wanted it.

IF it was an issue I'd consider it. But it just hasn't been an issue.
 
No, not what is happening. Again, this is trying to get up a steep windy driveway in slush or wet snow, full throttle. Basically a hill challenge. Not about coasting or regenerative braking. Off canter banked turns. Starting from stopped. Etc.
Do you have the same width tires on both cars? The original wide Tesla tires are not ideal for snow/ice as, say, a 225 width tire like that guy in Alaska is running
 
TLDR: Model Y handling in winter conditions not nearly as good as Subaru

So bit of background.. I come from driving a subaru in the canadian interior mountains for the past 10 years. Prior to that was a FWD Honda. I ski and drive over mountain passes frequently and consider myself experienced in winter driving and variable conditions, as we're frequently above and below freezing, back and forth, with lots of precipitation.

I can now say after having been in a few snow storms now with the model Y, that it's handling is no where near as good as a Subaru. I had an outback and an impreza previously. My wife still drives an outback. With the subaru, we rarely ever felt fishtailing, slipping, or loss of control, even momentarily, while cornering. With the model Y, there is fishtailing with almost every cornering attempt if there's snow, packed snow, slush or ice. Going up hill, the subaru would charge up snowy and slippery conditions with confidence and mostly a straight path. With the model Y, there is quite a bit of deviation to straight, and there is some struggling in regards to keeping speed etc.

I do notice that with the off-road assist, it does help getting up our steep and windy driveway. In normal driving mode, there may have been some days I couldn't get up to my house very confidently. There are frequently FWD cars that can't make it to our house in the winter.

I should note on both cars I use studded nokian hakkapelitas. So tires are not the difference.

I did a lot of research on subarus AWD in the past, and tried to review the Tesla AWD experience from previous owners before purchasing, and was hoping it would be better than I have found it to be, is based on previous reviews. That being said, although the slipping and fishtailing are concerning, I do have confidence in the AWD system keeping me safe because it kicks in very quickly to get the car back on track, it's a very brief amount of time before the car is back on track.

So, there are going to be times when it is very slippery, that if I'm taking a corner, I will have to slow down more and be more cautious about a loss of traction, because the slightest fish tail could send me spinning in circles. In the Subaru, I knew that as long as other cars were driving on the road, I was fine no matter what the conditions. I will be more cautious and aware in the Tesla. And as my wife said, this might actually be a good thing, as in the Subaru we never truly knew the road conditions as we never felt the loss of traction. Literally, we would sometimes step out of the car and fall down as our feet couldn't get traction on the ice we were just driving on, but never felt the ice in the car. Now I know when it's slippery and when to drive more cautious.

Love the car, and I sorta expected going in it wasn't going to match the Subaru in this regard. Why would it, it's not their focus. It doesn't change my love for the car, and I still feel much more safe than most cars on the road, and certainly much better than a FWD car or a truck without any weight in the back. But for anyone wondering, I can confidently say, it doesn't match a Subaru for winter driving. I'm only writing this because I would have liked to see a review like this before purchasing, even though I would have still bought it.
Hi - just wondering how you feel after a couple of winters with your MY? Just got MY MY LR AWD in Dec and it definitely doesn't handle as well as my 2018 Forester (with studded Hakka 9s). I had forgotten was fishtailing felt like (I live in QC so lots of snow and ice). With the studs, the Forester is a tank on the roads. Nothing to look at, that's for sure, but I can't imagine a safer car for rough winter conditions.

My MY doesn't have studded Hakkas (but Hakkas nonetheless). It handles well on snow and ice but doesn't have the same grip by any means. So I guess I'll drive the Subaru in poor winter conditions or when hauling around sports equipment that would dirty up my beloved MY.

Prior to that, I had a Ford Freestyle that would fishtail in a light breeze.

Anyone else driving a MY and a Subaru in northern climes?
 
Hi - just wondering how you feel after a couple of winters with your MY? Just got MY MY LR AWD in Dec and it definitely doesn't handle as well as my 2018 Forester (with studded Hakka 9s). I had forgotten was fishtailing felt like (I live in QC so lots of snow and ice). With the studs, the Forester is a tank on the roads. Nothing to look at, that's for sure, but I can't imagine a safer car for rough winter conditions.

My MY doesn't have studded Hakkas (but Hakkas nonetheless). It handles well on snow and ice but doesn't have the same grip by any means. So I guess I'll drive the Subaru in poor winter conditions or when hauling around sports equipment that would dirty up my beloved MY.

Prior to that, I had a Ford Freestyle that would fishtail in a light breeze.

Anyone else driving a MY and a Subaru in northern climes?
I don't think you're doing a fair comparison with your cars since the studs on the Subaru will make a big difference on ice but we have a 2020 Forester and a 2020 MY and the Forester is definitely better.

You need to be very conservative with the Y on curves because it will fishtail very easily. It's never difficult to get under control (actually, I never feel like I lose control, it's just a bit squirrely, not solid like the subaru.) I think a big part of the difference is the tires - the MY has 255mm width tires vs 225 for the Subaru. Wide tires are nice in the winter but they act more like skis in the winter.
 
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I don't think you're doing a fair comparison with your cars since the studs on the Subaru will make a big difference on ice but we have a 2020 Forester and a 2020 MY and the Forester is definitely better.

You need to be very conservative with the Y on curves because it will fishtail very easily. It's never difficult to get under control (actually, I never feel like I lose control, it's just a bit squirrely, not solid like the subaru.) I think a big part of the difference is the tires - the MY has 255mm width tires vs 225 for the Subaru. Wide tires are nice in the winter but they act more like skis in the winter.
Yes, I agree that a a studded vs. non-studded comparison is inherently unfair. I think our studded hakkas have a crazy ice rating of 13/10 (or something like that). The wider tires will also play a role in road grip (I'm looking forward to seeing what it's like to drive on wider tires in non-winter conditions - it'll be my first time). Squirrely is a good description. By "conservative on curves" do you mean take them a little slower than usual?
 
Yes, I agree that a a studded vs. non-studded comparison is inherently unfair. I think our studded hakkas have a crazy ice rating of 13/10 (or something like that). The wider tires will also play a role in road grip (I'm looking forward to seeing what it's like to drive on wider tires in non-winter conditions - it'll be my first time). Squirrely is a good description. By "conservative on curves" do you mean take them a little slower than usual?
My analysis is this:
  • Compared to an ICE vehicle, an EV's center of gravity is further back. That means there's relatively more weight on the rear tires
  • EV's also tend to be heavier due to the battery
  • As I mentioned, the Model Y has wide tires which are great on dry pavement in the summer but not so great on snow and ice
  • The rear motor in the Model Y is a more efficient motor and it has a rear bias in the power distribution
  • The MY and EVs in general tend have a fair amount of low end torque
The end result is the rear tires are more likely to skid to begin with, there's more lateral force on them and when you start to accelerate half way through the turn you're more likely to overcome any grip the tires have.

So yes, I take the corners slower and also don't accelerate until I'm almost all the way through the turn.

On the flip side I'll say that when going straight the car has always been stable and I've never had an issue with tires spinning, nor have I ever felt out of control on turns, just not as stable as in the forester or the A4 that I used to drive.
 
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As I have posted on this thread before, my Model 3 has been rock solid in slippery and snowy winter conditions. I have experienced only occasional wiggles in the back end, which the traction control has corrected immediately. Maybe the narrower tires make a difference for the Model 3 as compared to the Model Y, although I would not think it would be that much of a difference. And certainly I have a good set of winter tires on. Anyway, I have been very pleased - the Model 3 has been even better on snow and ice than the Subaru that we owned.
 
My MY doesn't have studded Hakkas (but Hakkas nonetheless). It handles well on snow and ice but doesn't have the same grip by any means.

I'm curious if you'll experience better handling if you turn on Off-road assist? That forces power to all four wheels, which for me makes the handling more stable although the car "feels" slower because you have to push the acceleration pedal harder for the same effect as without Off-road assist.
 
I'm curious if you'll experience better handling if you turn on Off-road assist? That forces power to all four wheels, which for me makes the handling more stable although the car "feels" slower because you have to push the acceleration pedal harder for the same effect as without Off-road assist.
That's an interesting thought. Might be worth a try.
 

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