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Model S Performance in Winter (Canada)?

What cold weather provisions are there built into the design of the model S and how is its Performance affected?
What effect does cold (Canada ~ -10 to -25 Deg C) winter have on battery life / mileage range?Especially with Winter items ON such as interior heater, rear window defroster, heated seats, etc?
In other words, if I am driving in winter with the interior heater and rear window defroster on, what % loss of mileage distance / range should I expect? My guess ~25% reduction in mileage?

How does the cold weather effect the Lithium Battery charge / performance.

(Note: I live in Toronto, Canada and have a Reservation for a TESLA Model S, Performance)

Thanks, Currie

Your guess is as good as any others. Tesla has designed the Model S to function in both the hottest areas (via cooling the battery pack) and the coldest areas (via warming the battery pack when necessary). However, until Tesla provides results of real-world testing, nobody knows for sure.

A critical question: are you plugged in when you start?

Suppose you are, with your car happily sucking juice off the grid while you suck java out of your mug over the morning paper. You've used your smartphone to get the car up to temp, defrost the windows, warm up the battery pack, etc. Now when you head off, all the car has to do is maintain the warm state. That's pretty cheap.

If, though, you're not plugged in, all that "0-60" energy for warming has to come from the battery, rather than the grid.

The Tesla systems keep the battery in a stable thermal environment, so that shouldn't be adversely affected -- again, provided you're starting from a plugged-in state.

The battery info from Panasonic only goes to -10C. At his tempature the battery still gives about 70% of it's power. Please note that as the battery warms it will give more power. By the way, the incremental energy is lost but not the unused energy. By that I mean if you have 100kWh in the battery at 25C you would only be able to draw out 70kWh at -10C. If however you only used half of the energy ie 35kWh at -10C, you would have 50kWh left at 25C. Luckily the battery heats itself up as you drive even if you don't have the car plugged in. Unfortunately I don't know what happens to the battery at -30C.

Thanks!... That's great insight... Did not think of it that way!

The good news is that my company is also providing Class 2 complementry charging stations!

It would be good to know what the W/H load is as you use the Winter heaters, etc while driving (and A/C), then you could calculate the reduction in range as you go (also knowing 300 w/h/mile).

Note that in cold climates snow does reduce mileage quite a lot. Bad road is much worse mileage killer than temperature effect to battery.

Compensated, except wrt mad Norsemen, by the generally slower speed of driving on bad or snowy roads.

Just found this, thought you might be interested (the last minute is the most interesting):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kdWtFk4xu7Y

There's a lot to be found on youtube if you look for "Tesla Roadster winter" and similar keywords. No, this does not answer your question with regard to range, sorry.

That's a great video! I'm especially impressed with the lack of drama when he stops on the incline and then starts back up again. It also looks perfectly planted in all of the bends. It's safe to assume that he's equipped snow tires, right?

They have to be winter tires. No way would summer tires get up that slope from a stop.

Thanks... Not too worried about the Winter driving in Toronto/Ontario, Canada

The battery charge affect / range is the issue.... all the more reason to play it safe with the 300 battery.

Agreed. Then you'll be able to set the temperature in the car at any time without having the worry that the battery might get too low.

I think the preheating can't possibly run the battery down much. Consider the power/heat from 1 kwh. A hotplate on your range on red heat for 1 hour!

And that's a small fraction of the charge available.

I've had my Tesla Roadster out in -26C weather, and in many ways it tolerates it better than most ICE vehicles. If the car hasn't been plugged in, so the battery pack is cold, you have a bit less power (not that you'd notice it unless you floor it). Also the regenerative braking is disabled at first.

While the battery is cold it's a bit less efficient. Once it warms up the car behaves normally. You might lose 10 km range during the warm-up period. At highway speeds you will see a little more wind resistance, and driving through snow will probably reduce your range as well.

In extreme cold the heater consumes at most 5% to 10% of your range; the latter number would be at lower speeds where you have much more range to begin with.

I would plan on 15% loss of range; it's probably less than that in most real-world situations. I don't think there's any effect on range when the temperature is above freezing.

Douglas;
In practice, did you find that driving thru snow was a net loser, considering that you're (necessarily) doing lower speeds (= more efficiency)?

Brian,

I've generally avoided driving my Roadster on snowy days; I don't like to muck it up with all that sand and salt, and it's a pain to hand-wash the car in the winter. So I have limited hard data on driving in the snow. But I can definitely confirm that the range increases dramatically at slower speeds, so it would compensate for the added rolling resistance. I suspect you're right; in most situations you'd probably end up with more range, not less, assuming you don't drive like an idiot.

I've also had people say, aren't you going to run out of juice if you get stuck in a traffic jam? Well, no. If you end up driving at 30 kph then the range almost doubles compared to 100 kph. Even if you're running the heater full blast you're going to gain range, not lose it. Heater power would only be a concern if you were at a dead stop for hours.

Given my experience with the Roadster, I don't have any concerns whatsoever about driving the Model S in the winter. I plan to sell my gas car and use the Model S as my winter daily driver.

Douglas3, great input, thanks for sharing!

It was interesting to see mention of the snow issue - and how the Active suspension will help raise the Model S for snow conditions - I have not seen, however, any notes about the extremely low, front radiator and scoop at the front of the vehicle... this issue which was noted at the Canadian Model S launch, especially for those that periodically hit large chunks of ice dropping from tractor-trailer wheel wells on the 400-series highways, doesn't seem to be going away.

Even with Active suspension lifting the vehicle, that extremely low radiator and thin tube support bar remain a huge concern. Most GT type designs, while keeping a fairly low front spoiler and in many cases, air duct design, move the radiator itself higher up to prevent frequent punctures. In the Model S, the Active suspension will have to lift the vehicle quite a ways up in order to get it's radiator(s) even remotely high enough to avoid these huge ice chunks.

I don't think the real issue is range/battery life or cold weather systems support - sounds like Tesla has handled these. However, the extremely low radiator(s) and relatively weak support/weak mesh at the front of the Model S seems to be the biggest winter driving concern at the moment.

@Douglas3, to add your comments: Remember also that in Model S battery is directly below you, so you have quite good insulation and heat source underneath unlike in Roadster, and roof is solid hard top so less heat loss there. In cold environment insulation means a lot, if you don't lose the heat you need only small amount of energy maintaining the heat. I bet Model S performs better than Roadster in that sense.

@Muskoka;
sounds like the best protection would be another car. Keep some other vehicle between you and the tractor-trailer. Or stay out of the same lane.

Alternatively, shoot a few seconds of video with your phone camera prior to and after the ice-drop, making sure to get the license #. Then sue.

>:)

@Timo, my Roadster has a hardtop, but point taken about the battery. The floor won't be stone cold.

Douglas, have you tried that Roadster floor duct suggestion someone made: block the passenger's vent? It boosts the driver side enough to keep you warm, and the passenger side seems to still stay warm enough.

Douglas3,

Thanks for the Info & Data! Great news!
This is exactly the kind of information & experience I was looking for.

I also plan to sell my Gas car, TL, when I get the Model S and then drive it year round.

BTW... I drive the 401/400 all Winter long and I rarely, if ever, see large lunps of Ice on the roadway that would dammage the car.

Thanks Everyone!

Currie;
I think that happens on snowy or slushy roads, that haven't been cleared. The 400/401 are heavily travelled and kept plowed and salted at all times in the winter, so I s'pose it's less likely to happen.

Brian H,

I've not tried blocking the passenger vent, yet, but I could see how it could help.

CurrieG,

I've driven many times in absolutely horrible weather on the 401, and have never been assaulted by large chunks of ice from trucks. Most ice that comes off vehicles is the slushy stuff that accumulates behind the wheels.

Loved the video. Looked to me like it was using the all season 19' wheels... which makes perfect sense. Despite my desire for the larger wheel, the reality is the Model S will be my every day car, and in CT (NY metro) we get snow.

The brief glimpse of the tires looked like deep snow-tire treads. Love to see the X on the same course.

Yes, it would be interesting to see how different they perform in a side by side on this and other challenging courses. I would guess the model X would do a worse on cornering and obstacle avoidance due to higher center of gravity and better at accelerating with the two motor AWD option, especially uphill if they tested that.

Once the Model S has AWD it should test better on everything that does not require clearance. I really do hope they maintain 8" + clearance going into production with the Model X to maximize its suitability for drivers in different conditions from each other. It would be nice to be able to have enough clearance without the complexity, cost, and limitations of an active air suspension.

Yes, it would be interesting to see how different they perform in a side by side on this and other challenging courses. I would guess the model X would do a worse on cornering and obstacle avoidance due to higher center of gravity and better at accelerating with the two motor AWD option, especially uphill if they tested that.

Once the Model S has AWD it should test better on everything that does not require clearance. I really do hope they maintain 8" + clearance going into production with the Model X to maximize its suitability for drivers in different conditions from each other. It would be nice to be able to have enough clearance without the complexity, cost, and limitations of an active air suspension.

arg double post. I got an error on the first attempt which is why I reposted. If someone actually administers these threads, they are welcome to delete the second identical post as well as this post.


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