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Winter Tale.... Extreme drive

Discussion in 'New England' started by skboston, Jan 30, 2015.

  1. skboston

    skboston Member

    Aug 30, 2014
    Wilmington, MA
    I was wondering if I should post about this, but the more I thought of it and shared with my friends, the more I wanted to share with the community and share my experience about the handling of the Tesla during crazy weather conditions.

    Before I begin, I should say that I wasn't expecting to experience what happened to me and you should be careful when you go out and try something stupid with your Tesla.

    It all started when I decided to stay over the weekend in NY and later learned about the upcoming storm Juno in the area. If you wonder why I didn't know about it, I'd have to say that I don't watch the news, listen to the radio or follow the trends on Facebook and Twitter or believe what the Meteorologists say.
    Upon arrival in NYC on Saturday afternoon, I found out that a huge storm is going to hit the entire North-East and I should be prepared to extend my stay with a couple of days, which was fine by me, I have place to stay at and many friends I haven't seen i a while, so I figured... great I get to visit my friends I haven't seen in a while and we can enjoy a long weekend together.
    My weekend started great, "fueled up" in W. Hartford and then Darien, CT before I entered NY, so I don't have to worry about charging while I'm visiting. I had a chance to show the car to a lot of friends and people interested about Tesla and it's capabilities during the weekend and since I knew the storm was coming in, I decided to stay until Wednesday and let the storm pass.
    Tuesday morning comes and I wake up and see that weather isn't suppose to be what the news said it will be: Sunny, temperatures in the 30's and snow no more than 12" and at that point I was like.... the news and Meteorologists exaggerated once again. My car was parked outside in Astoria, where parking is something nearly impossible and there are no covered or underground garages (at least none to my knowledge), I went outside to see what my car looks like. The picture surprised me to be honest, there was not much snow, street was clean and the plows have spared my car or they just haven't had enough snow to clean in the first place.
    It took me no more than 5 minutes to clean the snow from the car (I turned the heat remotely twice an hour before I went to check on the car) and did move with few feet in both directions to make sure I can go out and at this point I came up with the brilliant idea to go home that day.
    After I cleaned the car, I went back in the place I was staying at and had breakfast, turned the TV on and watched the news about the weather and how people complained that NYC decided to shut down for this "big storm" and how the Meteorologists have missed their predictions, which only made me want to go home that same Tuesday night, instead of Wednesday morning.
    My only regret at that point was that I should have checked what CT and MA are dealing with :)
    After I have already made my mind, 2.30PM comes and my friends have to go work as all transportation services are resumed and businesses open once again, I decide to leave NY and head home to Boston. At this point I feel amazing, weather is perfect ~30F, sunny and with plan to first stop in Darien, CT to charge up for the entire trip and planning for a quick stop in W. Hartford or Auburn, depending on road conditions.
    Well, it all started well with my stop in Darien, where I decided to charge to about 200 miles rated miles and just stop in either Auburn or W. Hartford. As soon as I got out of the car, I noticed that the sun is now gone and the temperature have dropped to 19F with wind going strong and I wasn't realizing what's to come.
    As soon as I hit the 200 mile mark on the display, I hit the road and drove with the traffic, ignoring road signs that CT ban was in effect, thinking it's already lifted and signs aren't changed yet as there are hundreds of cars on the road along me. It turns out, driving towards New Haven, the wind was getting strong, temperature fell to 13F and I realized a stop in W Hartford or Auburn is a must and going straight home is impossible... weather conditions were deteriorating.
    I opted for W. Hartford in the last minute approaching I84 since the navigation said I'll have 3% battery remaining(thanks to new update) by the time I hit Auburn SC and decided not to take the risk of getting stuck in the middle of this storm with nobody around to help.
    To my surprise the chargers were cleaned up, regardless that the entire mall was closed and crazy amount of snowfall in the area. I plugged in and charged to about 200 miles again, figured I'll have enough to get back home no matter what the conditions were as the distance was ~100 miles, well I couldn't have been more wrong about what me and my car are going to go through.
    As soon as I left the SC (around 6PM), the weather was getting worse, dark out side, winds going over 30MPH against me and snowing heavily I knew I was screwed, but sort of excited as this is the perfect opportunity to the capabilities of the car. I don't think it's needed to mention that by the time I hit 84 outside Hartford, I was one of the very few cars on the road.
    Long story short (it turned out to be much longer story than I thought it would) the distance between Hartford and my house is about 100miles and took about 3 hours to travel. I'll leave the pictures speak for themselves, but I have to say I was very surprised how the car handled the nasty road conditions with 40-60MPH during the entire trip between W Hartford and Wilmington. I had to stop in Auburn just to be safe in case I got pulled over for driving during the travel ban or get stuck in the crazy road condition, not to mention the wind and low temperature were eating my battery like termites going through wood. I only wish the charging cables were a little bit longer as the area around Auburn mall wasn't very well cleared and SC wasn't an exception and it took me a a little bit to get my car in a position I can plug it in.
    I don't think I've ever driven before in such conditions, nor I was expecting them. It just happened and if I knew that storm was still going strong in CT and MA, I would have never left NY and stayed there an extra day. I can say that I'm extremely happy of the outcome and glad I wasn't pulled over during the travel ban in MA, it was the first time I see the toll plazas closed and going through them without having to pay either with EZ Pass or cash.
    Let the pictures speak for themselves and for those that didn't enjoy reading, well I'm not so good of a writer :)

    This is at Darien, CT and my first charge.

    This is I84 near MA line, it's hard to tell from the picture, but I could barely see. I was driving about 45-55MPH and average energy usage was about 580wh/m due to the wind and low temperature.


    Passing a Semi truck with snow plows nearby, that's right before I hit the Mass Pike entry toll plaza in Sturbridge.


    Charging at Auburn before I hit the road for the last 50 miles. It took good few minutes to figure out a way to position my car and decided the best way is to use "force" and move the snow out of my way. I tried parallel parking, but the snow was too deep and I couldn't reach the hose to connect, no matter how close I was.

    More shots at Auburn

    You can clearly see how much snow I had to move, so I can charge :)

    ....and the aftermath


    I hope you enjoyed the story, I had a great time ignoring the fact I had to charge 3 times between NY and Boston and it took a little ove r6 hours to come home.
    Don't try this, unless you really need to :)
    I guess I was trying to say that even with rear wheel drive, this car handles the road perfectly :)
  2. tga

    tga Active Member

    Apr 8, 2014
    New Hampshire
    What tires are you using?

    If anything like this happens again, I'd suggest posting a "Help! I'm stuck out in the storm" message from your phone while charging. I'm sure some nearby kind soul will take pity on you and offer you shelter.
  3. cinergi

    cinergi Active Member

    Sep 17, 2010
    Driving with snow on the ground is what really really kills your range. Yes cold and wind will get you into the 400's. Snow on road nails you even more. I had that same issue where trip said 14% left but as I drove it quickly went to -2%. It wasn't that cold or windy - just snowing and snow on highway and I was going 45 MPH!
    It's like walking in the sand. It's a lot of work to do that. It's a lot of work to push the snow aside.
    And yeah that was a crazy storm here in MA. bad idea lol. Glad u made it.
  4. Cottonwood

    Cottonwood Roadster#433, Model S#S37

    Feb 27, 2009
    Glad you made it. Closely spaced Superchargers really help in cases like yours. Imagine doing that trip needing to charge at a 30A L2 at one of your stops.

    Pushing snow and slush out of the way can really kill your mileage. The worst that I have seen is "breaking trail" out of my house in 6 inches of unplowed, wet, heavy snow. That used 900 Wh/mi.

    The other thing that really "sucks" the battery is having to run the front defroster in "high" to keep the front windshield clear. ICE's have a lot of waste heat that can be diverted to the heat and defrost. In an EV, all you have is the battery...

    It's more of a sprint than the marathon that you did, but here is a video of my P85D going up my steep driveway in Pagosa Springs, CO: Winter Driving Experiences - P85D Video.
    You may want to put a link to your write up in that thread.

    Be safe!
  5. Nikxice

    Nikxice Member

    Oct 31, 2014
    Hudson, NH
    Thanks for the story and the pics. We travel that route at least once a month. With Auburn being out in the mall area boondocks, I wondered how it would fare after a good snow dump. I suspect that many plow drivers are unaware of how short those cables are. I think now I'll look into getting some type of fold up shovel, just in case.

    Glad the new chain of SC worked out for you!
  6. skboston

    skboston Member

    Aug 30, 2014
    Wilmington, MA
    My tires Pirelli Sottozero, I think what comes standard when you purchase them from Tesla with the wheels.

    The snow really drives the energy usage, I was averaging at about 500-550wh/m and running defroster, heat and speed at about 45-55mph most of the time.
    It was an exciting experience for sure and I hope I won't have to do it again and follow @tga's suggestion :)

    Having so many SC close to each other certainly helps during bad weather.
  7. tliving

    tliving Member

    Mar 8, 2014
    New England, USA
    I'd have been on the edge of my seat the entire trip good tires or not! I've found that snow/slush/ice on the ground adds increases your energy use about 25%. I got to do some measurements during the same storm here in MA.

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