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S Performance in Snow/Ice

Does anyone have experience with the 'S' in snow/ice/adverse driving conditions? Being a rear wheel drive immediate concern is that it will not behave well in these kinds of driving conditions.........apparently mitigating factors are that the weight distribution is better than other gas powered vehicles but I remain unconvinced at present.

Here's my experience so far (living in one of the snowiest place on earth)

... Already went thru one snowstorm with Model S. So far, the car is doing okay in the snow but not amazingly well. We're far from any comparison to AWD. I really miss driving my AWD in the snow. Spinning wheels is something I did not encounter in my last 10 years of driving Audi's Quatro. A friend of mine has ordered a Model S and I will have to test climbing his driveway (he lives at the top of a ski station) as I'm not sure this will work for him. (He currently has an AWD Toyota Highlander). He may have to wait for an AWD Model S or X.

So far, my high level evaluation of Model S in the snow is similar to a normal traction car but way off any AWD car. Not counting fogging and heating issues....

Anyone care to comment on how badly the cold affected your range?

We did surprisingly well in the snow on Christmas day with our 21" wheels. I thought that we'd end up having to wait it out on the shoulder due to the grade we were on. We maintained a decent speed and made it over the short pass without incident.

I'd have to say that the Model S is "okay" in snowy conditions. I had expected it to be a bit better given the Roadster's quite good performance. Most of the time it's just fine, but in certain conditions it needs some teaks. It backs off power too aggressive starting from a standstill, and is perhaps a little too permissive at higher speeds. The settings are probably great for warm, dry pavement... it needs a "snow mode" I think.

Today I was stopped on a mild uphill but glare ice, nicely polished by previous traffic. This is the sort of stuff where you'd fall down if you stepped on it. It would have given any car some trouble, but any car should have been able to climb it with some difficulty. When I hit the throttle the wheels started moving, then stopped and only applied enough torque to keep the car stationary. The car simply did not move. At all. I considered turning off TC, but instead I just backed up until the wheels were on a better surface, then started it forward again. Now with a little momentum the car carried on and slowly climbed the hill.

TC should never just stop the wheels from turning. What it should have done is keep the wheels moving slowly but steadily.


@mscheuller - I am assuming your living in SLC with your Telsa if you were driving up to Park City?
Have you made any trips to Vegas or other long trips from SLC?
How has the service from Telsa been seeing how there is no dealer in the area?

We drive to the Sierra Nevada from the SF Bay Area every week in our MS85 with 19 inch Michelins. This weekend we encountered 6+ inches of snow on the unplowed, hilly, winding roads into our house. The Tesla fared at least as well as our (now sold) BMW 328xi. Took it slow on the turns and downhills, kept air suspension on High (or Very High where we saw berms or ice chunks), and used the goose pedal to power us up icy hills with no problems. Overall I am much happier with this car.

Well it snowed in Oregon on Friday. I estimate about 10 inches. I shoveled the drive so I wouldn't pack the snow by driving over it and my wife and I headed out to try the Model S and the 4 Nokian Hakapeletas in the snow. None of the local roads had been plowed, nonetheless, I can report the car and tires were great. I had no problem anywhere. Saw many cars stuck and many having trouble pulling away from stop signs because of ice. The Tesla had no such problems. Our house is at the top of a 19% grade. I made a point of driving up slowly so as not to use any momentum to do the climb. No problem at all. Not even any spinning or invocation of traction control. The car was confident and capable in starting, braking and turning. I was impressed and my wife is now confident with the car. She was a little worried since our last vehicle was 4 wheel drive.

Good resurrection.


A6 looks really nice. I wonder if there is an enthusiast's forum where you might find people that would get jazzed talking about it?


Quite the gaping maw that thing has on it:

Quite the gaping maw that thing has on it:

This thread sure gives me uneasiness about a Model S or X. I have a steep driveway that has, at times, defied a front wheel drive sedan that had traction control. Pack snow on my driveway and I simply would not guess that a Model S could make it. Some stories posted here, however, certainly sound as if the describe conditions I have. One thing's for sure: I cannot buy a car that cannot make it to my house when it snows. That's why, without a demonstration, I believe I need the Model X.

@Brian - Not only does it have a gaping maw, it has bags under its eyes too.

@Panoz - How often do you have to deal with foul weather? What do you use for foul weather now?

The Model S is superior to any other 2 wheel drive vehicle I have used before in the snow. I was insisting that my next car would be AWD until the Model S came along. I took a bit of a gamble, but I was impressed. It is all about the weight distribution, the regen, accelerator control and the stability controls. The regen makes a big difference on hilly terrain when trying to control your speed. It is the best foul weather vehicle I have driven other than the little 5 speed AWD car I had.
Have you seen Bjorn's videos?

My two cents worth!

We finally got our first snow here in southern Norway. I've been looking forward to the day I could test the TMS in heavy snow conditions. The TMS is fitted with 19" Nokian R2 studless tires.

I started early Sunday morning before the roads were cleared of snow. There was about 3-4 inches of light snow laying on an icy road surface. Generally, I am very pleased with the overall performance of such a heavy rear wheel drive car. The traction control and anti-spin kept the car predictable in all situations.

While climbing up a hill, locally known to be slippery during the winter, I caught up with a WV Passat that had a really hard time getting up. I finally had to stop because the WV was barely making headway. When I stopped, I though "that’s it.. this heavy car will never manage to climb again from a full stop in the middle of the hill"… Was I wrong! Incredibly the TMS slowly crept up the hill. On the way down, I meet a Toyota Avensis with brand new snow tires that had given up. So, the TMS can climb hills as well as other 2WD cars. I also tried the same hill after the snow had been cleared- The TMS rocketed up the hill without any problems.

Also experimented with the TMS on curvy roads covered with snow and ice! The speed was around the speed limit, or maybe a bit under (approx. 40MPH speed limit). With the given conditions, I would probably take the corners at 25mph max during normal winter driving. It was loads of fun! The car over steered just enough to give you a grind when you whipped around the bends. Again the electronics ensured that you have control. Sometimes the technology takes a little too much over and reduces the available power and slows the car down fast. When the car did loose control, it generally gave me a bit of understeer.

Changing lanes is also a challenge when there is lots of snow and ice on the road. The TMS tackled this very convincingly. It felt very stable compared with lighter cars.

In my opinion the TMS is better in snow conditions that my old BMW. It is a heavy car and you feel that the electronics are taking control, with the end result that it feel predicable and comfortable to drive. I will not be afraid to that TMS over some of our mountain-passes this winter.

@Captain_Zap: I don't actually get much snow where I am, but when I do, it has stopped some of my cars on my driveway. I already own a RWD convertible that I dare not take out in the snow...I can't have ANOTHER vehicle that can't make it up my driveway. The somewhat-local Tesla salesman offered to drive a Model S down to my place on a snowy day to test it out, but when we had that snowy day he was somewhat less enthused (and I don't blame him - it's an hour drive, one way). And I'm sure he'd expect me to sign on the dotted line right then and there, which I'm not prepared to do.

The Tesla salesperson also wasn't able to tell me the name of any local MS owners who might be willing to visit my home on a snowy day and see if their MS makes it up my driveway, and I understand that as well. We can't have MS owners stalked by potential buyers.


See this thread for more reassurance:

I would think with snow tires you'd be in good shape. The Model S is my first non-AWD car in 15 years. I haven't had to drive in snow yet, and I am getting winter tires put on this week. With all the snow experience reported, I am no longer worried about performance in the snow. You will not regret buying a Model S. Few, if any, do.

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