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Winter Climates and the Model S

Has the Model S (which I am very interested in) been tested in colder northern climates? What is the effect on battery life/endurance in sub zero temperatures? Winnipeg has a temperature range from the high 30's (Celsius) in the summer to -40's in the winter. I noticed some posts regarding -20, but it did not say celsius or fahrenheit. In addition, in colder climates, would the battery pack require a "battery blanket"? Lastly, I am wondering that if I was to purchase this car, would I be able to drive it all year or have to park it in a heated garage for 3-4 months? I thank you for your time and await your response.

Can Eng

Thank you Timo.

Just to point out something, I just checked my antifreeze in the garage, it's only good to -27 C- and that's the good stuff. Considering that, I think they are using more or less a standard automotive grade mix of antifreeze.

@WattTheHell - I can see it now:

Q: AAA Towtruck (or CAA as the case may be) - so you need a boost?
A: Yeah, and then just keep the cables attached and follow me please......

There is a retrofitted Hummer for charging electric cars on the side of the road. It has a generator in the back. :)

You only need a tow truck for an electric car if you've smashed the car against something else. Otherwise, when your battery guage is low, just pull up somewhere and ask if you cna plug in for an hour. Electricity is EVERYWHERE.

I would be really interested to hear what a Tesla representative has to say about all of this. Given how much they have tested the model S (I've seen the short video clips of it driving in the snow), there must be some more "official" word or data that can be released on this subject.

This must be monitored by someone...

@cblais, that was probably Roadster you saw in those videos. Model S doesn't exist yet. Not even prototype, just a mockup showcar.

Douglas3 made a really interesting post on "cold" over on the Roadster thread:

"... the Tesla seems to handle winter conditions as well as any other car. Due to poor road conditions I originally took my SUV today, but after stopping for gas it wouldn't crank; apparently the battery is getting old and can't handle the cold. I had to get a boost start so I could go home and get the Tesla. Fortunately even with summer tires it easily handled the winter conditions. The traction control works amazingly well on snow and ice.

Along the way I stopped in at Canadian Tire to pick up a new battery for the SUV. Seemed ironic to be hoisting a lead-acid battery into the Tesla's trunk behind the huge Li-Ion battery."

I live in Bellevue Washington, so the coldest it gets here is about -10 degrees Celsius. More important to me is traction and climbing capability. I live on top of large hill in an already hilly area. When we get five inches of snow with ice underneath, will the car be able to climb a 20-30 degree incline? If not, I am afraid I will have to go with an earth-killing Range Rover.

The car has 6 inches of clearance, so as long as you have traction, it'll be able to climb the hill. If you buy it with the 21" wheels, you might want to rotate out to 19" studded snow tires in the Winter if you're worried about traction.

If you don't have storage for your off-season tires, many tire shops provide storage for about $30 a season and free rotation if you bought the snow tires from them.

I live in Lakewood/Tacoma with no hill to worry about, so I'm hoping to go with all-season tires.

I just checked against the size 245/35-21, the size of the 21" tires and there doesn't appear to be any all-season sets available for it. So I may be rotating out to Winter tires also. :(

Thanks @Mycroft, I can pick up a set of winter tyres out here, no problem. Besides, I probably won't buy it in 21 inch wheels anyway. I'm not too much focused on style, just a nice looking full-size sedan, or a nice SUV that I can depend on. And it's nice to find someone who knows how the weather is here. :)

The latest I have heard about winter testing is that it's gone out (specific locations haven't been given), but I can't find any results. I assume they are still running winter trials.

All season tires are generally a bad idea. Half-baked performance in both seasons.

Isn't the objective behind the adjustable Air Suspension going to allow for a significant increase in the Ground Clearance? When the Air suspension in my Audi Allroad is on its highest setting, the vehicle has more clearance then a BMW X5. Paired with Snow Tires, even the worst Whistler Snow conditions are no problem...and we get huge dumps here!

Boss's problem is the 20 - 30 degree incline. If it's really that steep, he'll probably have to use studs.

Even with studs that steep incline can be real problem to 2WD car, no matter how good grip it has in flat plane. Ice polished by non-stud tires at -10C can be really really really slippery.

Good thing with Model S is Tesla traction control which does not allow wheelspin, and very high torque at very low RPM which allows precise control of tire rotation. This probably makes huge difference between usual ICE car and Tesla EV in slippery conditions.

Still, I hope for 4WD version of Model S (preferably a bit smaller hatchback). That would be perfect to me, and I'm guessing quite a few of others here that have already reserved Model S would prefer that too.

I agree that on an iced slope 4WD is probably your most reliable option. Given that 4WD is not available for the Model S at this point, it may still be reassuring to know that the Model S has much more weight on the driven wheels than your average RWD sedan. In an ICE sedan setup, the engine and gear box is in front and the rear is comparatively lightweight, which can lead to the "typical" RWD winter behavior that some people are afraid of. The 50:50 front to rear weight distribution of the Model S (plus traction control, of course) should mitigate the issue. I am still curious to drive it in person and see how it behaves on different surfaces and slopes.

There have been a couple of other threads that were discussing cold climate issues and rear wheel drive. Maybe worth reading if your are interested in these issues.

If 4-wheel drive is a requirement, then the Model S isn't for you.

Mycroft, that's basically true. However, some drivers who have experienced ICEs with RWD in winter may think that 4WD is a requirement even though that may not be true, assuming that the Model S behaves better than an ICE for the reasons stated. Therefore, if somebody is interested in the Model S but turned away by the RWD, he or she should schedule a test drive and then reconsider.

Right. Even without studs I've found that FWD on an ICE with just all season radials is usually adequate as long as snow depth isn't too great. Of course, the Prius also had a form of traction control. OTOH, I rarely encounter 20 degree slopes, let alone 30 degree.

Roadster owners seem to swear by the TC, and say it handles slick roads very well.

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