This weekend my wife and I drove 180+km each direction from West Mississauga to Owen Sound, Ontario. I would estimate the average temperature was -11c and the wind was a minimum of 30+km/hr. (Gusts to 70+km/hr.) We had our young daugther in the car and hence the heat was on at ~24c nearly the entire time. We did the drive after 10:30pm on Thursday night and we just pulled into the driveway about an hour or so ago. (It's about 9pm on Sunday.) This therefore meant we were using full illumination. We used the radio (not too loud, perhaps at volume level 4) and at times used the interior LEDs to prepare the baby's bottles or find a baby wipe, open our coffees, etc. (Obviously the radio and illumination aren't big draws, but I thought I'd be pedantic and include everything...)
We were using about 380-400Wh/km. (Not surprising since there are some fairly major elevation changes on highway 10, there was a headwind and we used the heat. Our speed was approximately 105km/hr on the 403 and the 410. Once we hit highway 10 we initially drove the speed limit of 80km/h but ended up doing closer to 65 or 70 once we passed Shelburne... the weather was, shall we say, interesting. (Blowing snow, (no visibility really), some snow accumulation of about 2 or 3 centimeters was present on the road. Since the snow was fresh it was very, very slick. More on the traction aspect later.)
We left our home with 410km on the dial and pulled into my mother in law's home with almost 160km left. In other words we could've gotten there on a standard charge but since we had the little one with us I felt better having some reserve if we got stuck at the side of the road and needed to keep the heat on until help arrived.
Having nearly finished a range mode charge the battery was already nearly warm enough to remove the clip on regenerative braking. (We left when the charging status indicated 5 mins until completion.) At about a third of the way along our trip the battery fully opened itself up for regen. Given the cold temperature I was quite surprised that the battery was fully functional and optimally warmed so quickly. Let me tell you, I wasn't completely warmed yet but seemingly the car was ready.
As mentioned earlier the roads were atrocious. Amazingly given a normal amount of care the 'S handles perfectly. (Most of us have been warned that rear wheel drive performance sedans are terrible in the winter. Others swear that AWD/4WD are a requirement in winter, particularly outside urban areas. I can't say I felt that way on our trip... the 'S was very well behaved.) On certain parts of the ride acceleration was clearly slowed due to traction control. For mere mortal drivers like me this was perfect and I'm quite certain the abilities of the car kept us out of the ditch. I have driven in Ontario for 13 years but this ride was more than what us GTA'ers are used to.
On a few bends the car warned us it was losing traction and we were able to calmly correct and losing control.
At our destination the car struggled slightly getting up a snowy hill but this was our fault; we need to heed the many warnings we've heard and get winter tires. (Yes, for shame. I will listen now, promise.)
We headed home and hit two streamers coming up highway 10. (Of course) The car handled well and didn't seem to get pushed around nearly as much as some other cars we've owned. (By then the winds had picked up again.) Further south where there was less snow we're pretty sure we hit some black ice. The car appeared to skate for a moment then suddenly decided it found traction again at the other side of an underpass. It was scary but my wife simply brought the car back into the lane and we continued on. (She laughed. By comparison I think I need a new set of undies, a scrub brush and some Tide.) The car is clearly extremely well balanced - other cars might have been easier to get sideways.
All in all I am very glad we took the Model S instead of another car. Even on a non-winter specific set of tires a normal everyday driver can ride in comfort and safety in the winter.
Thank you Tesla for a great car; I will not hesitate to use it during the winter on our next trip.
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