The following is a little story of my recent experience driving to Toronto. I was going there to meet up with Kent Rathwell of Sun Country Highway; he wanted some technical input at a couple of meetings. Spoiler: I hit some severe weather... Part 1: Icy I figured I'd leave early in the morning so I could take my Model S. Then I get an email address from Tesla Service asking if Eli can work on my car that day in Ottawa. Uh, I'm going to be in Toronto. So they invite me to Toronto Service. Well, that will be a change, service at Tesla. Sure, why not? Since the J1772 doesn't reach the Model S when parked in the garage (buttoned up Roadster in the way), I put it in the driveway and plugged in for a Standard Mode charge. My plan was to wake up at 5 am and hit the Range Mode switch on the App, hit the cabin heat, and head out at 6 am with a toasty, fully charged vehicle. So the alarm goes off at 5 am. I lean over and squint at the phone. -22C outside. Great. I hit the Range mode and cabin heat, and start prepping myself. Fifteen minutes later there is no increase in range - obviously still heating up the pack. Current is increasing though... okay, so I will leave half an hour later. No biggie. I had planned plenty of extra time in my schedule for this sort of thing. At 6:30 I hop in the car and drive. Destination: SCH charge station at the Cobourg Best Western, 300 km away. I see there's a regen limit, and I can tell the pack heater is still on. Okay so I'll use a bit more power at first. Nasty cold. "At first" turned out to be an hour. Wow, I guess parking outside wasn't the best idea, really didn't help. Quite a bit of extra range got gobbled up, and I'm soon to get on the faster 401 highway. It's time to be conservative and stop at the Kingston Best Western to charge instead of going all the way to Cobourg. Shouldn't affect the trip time more than a few minutes, right? Part 2 - ICE-y New problem: I'm ICE'd!!! First time that has happened to me. Attempts by the hotel staff to find the owner fail; they appear to have left the hotel without their car. I don't even ask about kicking the SUV out of the wheelchair spot; it's got a legitimate permit. So I go over to the nearby Ambassador Hotel, but I know from previous overnight stays that it only provides 30A. I spend an hour there, with half the time spent just recovering the distance to/from the highway. It's warming up, though, so maybe I could squeak it to Cobourg. But first, let's check out the Best Western again. No dice. No sign of the owner. I give up, get in the car, put it in Drive... and a lady climbs into the wheelchair spot SUV! She drives off slowly, and I'm charging before she's out of the parking lot. Hotel staff says it's okay to stay there, as there are lots of wheelchair spots around front. I stay for half an hour charging at full power. I figure I have enough and head out. Unfortunately I've also burned a lot of time. No "range anxiety" here, but I've got "schedule anxiety". Part 3 - Not so Icy Temperature has come up quite a bit, -16C, and the car is warm and happy. It's definitely doing better range. I start driving at 100 kph, right on the speed limit. Lots of cars zooming past, but a surprising number aren't. I must have joined the senior citizen crowd or something. After a while a big-ass tandem tanker truck passes me, and I slip in behind him. Not crazy close or anything, but closer than I'd normally drive. He's averaging 107 kph. Let's see if I can drive that fast behind him without using more power. 10 km later I can't believe what the Energy App is telling me. I'm getting "Rated Range"! I've only ever driven the car in winter... I've never seen that before. I guess drafting really works! With this baseline I start experimenting a little. I try turning off the heat for 15 minutes, then turn it back on (in Range Mode) again, and look at the effect. I can't tell the difference. Apparently the effect of small elevation changes is WAY bigger than having the heat on low. So I leave it on and stay toasty. This is SO much more comfortable than the Roadster! Part 4 - Now I'm Toasty I arrive for my originally-planned Cobourg Best Western charging stop hours late but with a LOT more power in the pack than expected. Go figure. I plug in and head into the restaurant for some soup (I always try to make it worth the charge station owner's efforts). It's looking likely that I'm going to miss the first meeting. Fortunately the second one is the important one. There's still a chance I can make the first meeting, so I put in just enough to get to my destination, the Town Inn Suites hotel in downtown Toronto (CS-90 charger!), and head out. But 20 minutes later Kent calls, and we decide that it's too late and I'll just head for the second meeting. Why don't I take my car directly to Tesla Service; they've got a rental for me. Uh, okay... if I had known this 20 minutes ago I would have put in enough power to do that... New plan hatched - drive to the Tesla Yorkdale store and charge there. This is getting complicated. Just as I arrive it starts snowing. I spend an hour chatting with salespeople at the store. They were quite excited to have four customer cars downstairs at the same time. The mall was oddly quiet, though. They have the highest foot traffic of any Tesla store, but it sure didn't look it today. I checked the weather... reports are sounding VERY ominous... Off to Tesla service. Snow is getting heavier. Traffic is horrible - but that's normal. Part 5 - ICE World I drop the S off with Lisa and Eli, and Enterprise comes to pick me up. I'm back to the world of ICE, in more ways than one. By this point the roads are horrible. Naturally they give me an ancient Ford Fiesta with summer tires. No, I am not kidding... this is the only car they have left. Let me tell you, I am no longer complaining about the Pirelli snow tires! This thing drives like it has bald plastic disks for wheels. I'm really missing my S. I'm particularly missing the lack-of-utter-terror. The storm is also messing up our plans. The venue for the meeting shifts to a hotel near the airport, so one of the guys won't miss his plane (if it's not cancelled!). Unfortunately Kent doesn't have snow tires for his S yet, so he wants me to go back over to pick him up. Okie-dokie. I'm sliding all over the place in this ****box. A Toyota Echo blasts past me at a stop light. Everyone does. Would it really hurt Enterprise to plunk down for All Seasons??? Somehow I manage to keep the car intact, but I completely miss the Tesla entrance. No, I didn't drive past it... the car did... by about 30 feet. We make it to the meeting... eventually. I'm definitely not going home tomorrow. Good news, I'm told, another important meeting has just popped up in Cambridge for tomorrow! Oy... if you know Kent, this sort of stuff happens all the time! At this point the snow is tapering off, the side streets are awful but the highways are fine... off we go! Part 6 - ICE World: The Sequel There's very little snow around here, and nothing falling. We park at the hotel and head inside. They don't have an EV charger here... but we didn't bring an EV. Next morning I get up, head downstairs. Start eating breakfast. Glance out the window, and do a double-take. OMG!!! It didn't just snow... it SNOWED! Am I even going to get out of the parking lot??? Short answer: eventually. We're just a few kilometers from our meeting. Unfortunately I come to my first turn, and it's six inches deep on that road. We wouldn't go three feet. Eventually we arrive at our destination, by a circuitous route of barely passable roads, and we get stuck 10 feet into the parking lot. It took another 10 minutes to get parked. Two hours later the meeting is over and there's even more snow. Here we go again - stuck only half-way out of the parking spot. I've probably already cycled the transmission forward/reverse more times than it's last 55,000 km. Getting out of there took some serious effort. Part 7 - The ICE World Hoth I don't want to relive the horror of the 401. I've never had a worse drive in my life. Once we were on it, there was no turning back - the off ramps were too deep! Kent slept through most of it. Call ahead. Enterprise is closed. They can't even get out of their own parking lot. Probably they all have summer tires. They tell us to leave the car at Tesla. Last minute change of route - too late! Wham into a snowbank. Had it back on the road in 30 seconds. I have developed mad winter driving skillz. But I am exhausted - I just want this to be OVER! Finally arrive at Tesla. I get out my phone. "Hi Eli, I have jammed this stupid car into the entrance of your parking lot, as planned. Any chance you could help?" I didn't mention that he wasn't going to get home otherwise, since we were blocking his only way out. Mark has been made Service Manager in Vancouver, so Eli has a "loaner" Ranger. It was quite humorous at first watching this California dude try to shovel snow. He got the hang of it quickly, though, with only one or two pointers from me. Eli used an Old Jedi Mechanic Trick that really helped. Eventually I jammed the thing into a parking spot. Enterprise may need a tow truck to retrieve it. I gave Eli the keys saying, "I never want to see that thing again!" Part 8 - Escape from the ICE World Suspension to Very High. Check! Reverse gear. Check! Back out, tuck in tight to the building to avoid the snow drift. Check! Forward. Stuck! Two Rangers, One Shovel In my experience cars don't move very well when the snow is higher than their chassis. The Model S is no exception, I'm afraid. That said, getting out of service wasn't nearly the same ordeal as getting the Fiesta in. We had it out in a few minutes. Kent's Model S sprinting out of service - NOW he has snow tires! Off we go. Obviously going to stay the night, but where? Would be good to juice up. Town Inn Suites is full. Delta Chelsea has room, and a "snow rate"! They also have a Sun Country station. Unfortunately it's in valet parking, so it's a $39 parking charge. The doorman says, "Your car has beautiful lines, what is it?" "Tesla Model S". "Who makes it?" "Tesla Motors"... oh nevermind, you know how this goes. Needless to say he was very impressed that it was electric, had no engine, and yet looked gorgeous. I got him a flyer out of my Frunk (he thought that was hilarious). Slept in the next morning, gee I wonder why? Thanks to the App, I went out to my fully armed and operational, uh, fully warmed and charged Tesla. (How did I get into this Star Wars theme? Oh yeah, the Ice World.) The same doorman was on duty - he told me that people were looking at the car all morning, taking pictures, asking him about it. He said we should have parked it up front by the door, too bad we didn't have an extension cord. I should have given him more flyers! He said the one I gave him before lasted 10 minutes. I gave him another, and took the car away so he could keep it this time. The trip back home was pretty uneventful. Sunny and not nearly as cold, -5C most of the way. I charged at the Best Western in Cobourg, and made it home with 32 km of range remaining (planned for 30), exactly on my planned ETA (6:00 pm on the button!). The driveway had a foot of snow, so I unfortunately had to use some gasoline to snowblow it. Essie is once again tucked away inside my garage, happily feeding on electrons. Afterward - Some Observations By now it's well known that the Model S (and the Roadster) drops a fair bit of range (perhaps 20%) between +3C and -3C. What I hadn't realized before is that there's another drop, perhaps 10%, a bit below -20C. I believe this is the point where the pack heater is operating constantly. I suspect the Roadster might have a range advantage in extreme cold, as it has a less exposed battery pack. On the other hand, the Roadster has intrinsically less range to start with. Plus it is far less comfortable to drive in the cold! When hypermiling the Roadster in the cold, I needed long johns, extra sweaters, gloves, and I still felt chilled out after a few hours of that. In comparison the Range Mode heat keeps the Model S comfortable with minimal power draw. I needed no extra clothing in the Model S, was quite comfortable the whole time, and yet still had a little more range than the Roadster in the same conditions. So the Model S wins hands down. Yes, driving in the winter requires a little more planning and flexibility than in the summer time. But it's a pretty pleasant experience overall.