Tesla needs to create "Snow Mode" AWD driving mode

Tesla needs to create "Snow Mode" AWD driving mode

The Model 3 does pretty good in snow, but not as well as other AWD cars. I think too much power goes to the rear axle and I'm concerned the regenerative braking can cause a spin.

I think Tesla needs to create "Snow Mode" AWD driving mode and make it easy to activate "Snow Mode". Snow Mode would have power going 50-50 to front/rear, limit regenerative braking, limit acceleration, and perhaps some other features. The car can ask to go in "Snow Mode" when starting to drive if outside temps are below 40 degrees? You can easily get outside temps from the car location.

dmastro | 25. Januar 2019

Just wondering because I don't know - does the AWD adapt to conditions when it senses slippage, so it would put power where needed in snow? Maybe a dedicated snow mode is unnecessary.

Also, doesn't each driver profile individually save all of the settings, including regen, acceleration mode, etc? You could just set up another driver profile for those conditions.

coleAK | 25. Januar 2019

^^^. I’m in Alaska. I fully agree that the ESC needs adjusted for extremely low traction situations: ice, loose snow, probably sand. I’ve mentioned a simulated CDL where front and rear motors spin at same speed would be great, but that mode would not be applicable for typical winter driving. Pretty much extreme conditions at lower speeds for short distances. I have a center diff lock (and rear) on my LX570. On road I use the CDL once or twice a winter and never for long distances. Used it 2 weeks ago to tow a Grand Cherokee (on blizzaks) up an extremely icy hill.

As for the car making changes for you. We have had regen set to low and car in Chill since mid October and I won’t switch it to anything differant until probably some time in May.

ColoDriver | 25. Januar 2019

Someone suggested, probably here, creating a driver profile called Snow with the accelerator set to chill and regenerative braking set to low. If slip start is a per profile setting it might be good to include that too. After my first slick commute I setup that profile so now it's just two clicks away.

coleAK | 25. Januar 2019

And yes regen to full can cause a slide, especially going down hill. I’ve tested it.
@demastro. Yes the AWD does adjust, it’s good I’m not complaining. In day to day driving it is just as good But isn’t as good as the other cars we currently own when in extreme conditions (like on a frozen lake, and yes I tested there): MB e 4matic, Subaru, and land cruiser. The reasons: abruptly cuts all power, favors understeer, even in chill too much torque, dosnt seem to individually ABS break to correct understeer.

Since we are in the theoretical arm chair quarterback world. The more I think about it if I was making the decisions I think “chill” should be normal and default Acceleration. “Normal” should be sport and there should be a “winter” that is more chill than chill.

kcheng | 25. Januar 2019

Until there's a Snow mode, Chill and low regeneration braking, works.

HughManatee | 25. Januar 2019

Yep, kcheng is right. Takes about 20 seconds to turn chill mode and low regen on. If it's really slippery, turn on slip-mode. Also get winter tires if you don't already have them, if you're slipping. I'm in Minnesota where our high will be -8F and a low of -25F (without wind chill) on Wednesday. With these tips, and slowing down, i very, very rarely lose traction. And when i do it recovers immediately.

AWDTesla | 25. Januar 2019

What kind of tires are you running? I can pick between 3 AWD vehicles and I take the M3D everytime.

With the recent dump we got, I set it to chill mode and regen to low. Absolutely love this car in the snow.

AWDTesla | 25. Januar 2019

And slip mode!

mikesimone3 | 11. Februar 2019

I agree there should be a snow mode as well. Compared to my EvoX the model 3 awd is waaaay too tail happy in any mode. Would be super nice to have a snow mode option which chances the torque split between front and rear .

coleAK | 11. Februar 2019

For winter tires on the 3 have Hakka 9. Have other cars currently with Hakka 4, Hakka 5, and Hakka 7. Our 2003 MB 4matic E on 7 year old Hakka 5’s does everything better on ice/old compressed snow than the 3 except for stopping distance that’s where the old tires really have a disadvantage and the Hakka 9’s are exceptional.

Manjushr | 11. Februar 2019

yes +1. Too much fishtailing on corners. Need better balance of power rear-front. For now, it feels car is primarily RWD until they break loose.... then it's dandy.

mikes | 11. Februar 2019

Yes car does oversteer to much under slick, snow covered road conditions, it always seems easy to control for me but my wife does not like it at all. We run Michelin X-Ice. I even had it spin out on the back end while trying to accelerate on interstate to pass on snowcover. There is to much power to rear axle for sure. Have not had any issues with regen, even tested it on ice during freezing rain. It adjust itself super-fast. Always had it on standart setting. A more neutral behavior would be nice.

aperfectecho | 11. Februar 2019

So far, I've been impressed with the electronic differential in the AWD Model 3. My wife's S (rear wheel) had trouble on our moderately sloped driveway, and mine went up no issues. I could feel the front wheels slip a little, then immediately the power was distributed to accommodate. Pretty amazing stuff,

Bill Korea | 11. Februar 2019

Traction conditions can change suddenly in the winter. To get the most out of a vehicle, an attentive driver needs the ability to change the characteristics of the vehicle quickly - through direct mechanical switches. It should be possible to change the maximum level of regen, and it should be possible to turn off traction control. Anything less than this is dumbing-down the vehicle, for you gentle consumer. How about some programmable switches that could be used for this purpose?

mikes | 12. Februar 2019

Since the M3 can see the road it could or even can already adapt for changing road conditions. And it certainly adjust immediately when things start going the wrong direction, and it does it faster then anybody could react!

coleAK | 12. Februar 2019

@mikes. It can’t see the road well in the winter. Mine hasn’t noticed the lines on the roads in months here in Alaska. And when it’s snowing (unless it’s super cold and dry) the cameras all get snow covered.

And per the oversteer discussion. Maybe it’s my tires (Hakka9) but I find it almost impossible to oversteer other than the split second fishtail from a stop on ice. I find the low speed understeer much more scary. I’ve almost ran into my house a few times. I’ve got a downhill right hand turn into my garage and just plow going < 5 mph on solid sub zero ice. Our other cars in the same scenario outside front tire ABS break to stop slow speed understeer.

@aperfect... the differentials are open mechanical type not electric.

Manjushr | 12. Februar 2019

Recommend. Quite timely and informative video on the subject of open differentials and fixed 50/50 torque split on the model 3 AWD from "engineering explained" (Jason Fenske)

kcheng | 12. Februar 2019

"Bill Korea | February 11, 2019
Traction conditions can change suddenly in the winter. ...How about some programmable switches that could be used for this purpose?"

I just saved another driver's settings with low regeneration and chill, and a higher seating position, and called it SnowDay.

howard | 12. Februar 2019

Snow Mode: Tires & Driver

I find the P3D+ to be very tractable and predictable in extremely poor conditions. I run 18” Michelin X-Ice with car in normal driving mode. If overdriven it corrects quickly and effectively. In full regen mode it is easier to control deceleration without taking my foot off to apply brakes. I have two Quattros and a new 4 wheel drive truck. I take the Tesla unless it is extremely deep snow. It is an awesome year round all weather vehicle. If you don’t think so you bought the wrong type of vehicle. You should have bought an under powered Subaru not a performance sedan. The car is designed to be rear wheel drive biased. Front does not kick in until needed. When it does it corrects beautifully.

coleAK | 12. Februar 2019

^^^ in that video is is incorrect about how a locking (he calls it “truck”) center diff works. With a locking center (or front/rear) diff the torque ratio is fixed 50/50 on both sides of the diff. So the front and rear axles spin at the same speed and are locked together. This type of diff is only really usable in loose surfaces like deep snow, sand, and off roading on loose rock. On normal winter roads locked center diffs actually cause more sliding because it dosnt allow for speed differences in the axles front to rear and will cause tire slippage. The only time I use the CDL on my LX (wife drives the 3 mostly) in the winter is if I’m pulling out a stuck vehicle. I would also use it if I got stuck. I’ve said on forums multiple times it would be nice if the Tesla had programming that would simulate a CDL and spin the front and rear motors at the same speed to be used in deep loose snow or if you get stuck.

Also the front and rear diff/axles and break assistance is very similar to what Subaru, Jeep, Toyota (and probably others) use in their most basic AWD system. Much more similar to that then a part time 4wd truck.

DanFoster1 | 12. Februar 2019

Just curious why anyone needs chill mode at all ever? I suppose some people have clunky feet, but geez, my Model S 85D has enough torque to turn the planet rentable itself yet I find it the easiest car to drive slowly I’ve ever owned. While I’m on this rant, creep is ridiculous. I can maneuver in tight quarters with surgical precision, creep makes it worse, not better.

kevin_rf | 13. Februar 2019

Why not, In six months, 11,823 miles, I have yet to take mine out of "Chill" mode. No need for the extra horsepower on the roads I drive. Even when driving "Chill", the car has plenty of pep. No need to race around the highway like my fellow Massholes.

Didn't someone publish an article recently about EV's racking up speeding tickets at much higher rates than ICE vehicles. Chill keeps rubber on my tires and points off my insurance.

Why buy a Model 3 then? 300 miles range, AWD, and the super charger network.

Bighorn | 13. Februar 2019

You don’t have a performance model, so chill mode is less pertinent. Is it even an option for you? I know at one time that it was only available on performance cars.

mikes | 14. Februar 2019

@coleAk You're right it can't see the road well, what I meant to say is that it can see the "road conditions"! Other then the rear camera I had not had any issues with snow covered cameras, the 3 in the windshield are heated to keep glass clear. I have not ever had it understeer! I wonder if the tires possibly have something to do with it, where I seem to loose traction on the rear but not in the front!?

coleAK | 14. Februar 2019

@mikes. I’m on Hakka9’s so it’s not the tires. I can’t get mike to oversteer if I try mu tires are so grippy. The under steering is only at low speeds on super cold ice. My other cars do it also but like I said Kick the outside front wheel ABS to correct. The model 3 dosnt. I only notice it when making right turns in intersections and in parking lots. We’ve had a cold low snow winter here in AK and don’t salt the roads so most intersections and parking lots currently are 3-4”+ of solid clear compressed ice.

I’ve gotten some what used to what I call the “model 3 wobble”. Where when going up hill on solid ice the back wiggles then hooks up then the front wiggles and hooks up then the back...

Red_Falcon | 14. Februar 2019

I have a P3D+ and "snow mode" isn't needed. If you're experience more slippage than expected, well more than likely it's the tires. I switched out the Michelin 4S's to the Michelin AS3+, an ultra high performance all season tire. Drove them in 5" of snow and in a parking lot i tested full throttle from a dead stop; it pulled amazingly strong will barely noticeable backend fish talling. Cornering was also great. Simulated an emergency braking while making a turn at 25mph and got nearly no snow plowing...the car simply tracked around the turn. So I'd question the tires not the software behind the stability and traction control systems. I was in sport mode as well.

pjohri | 24. Februar 2019

So the last time we had a snowstorm in the Denver area, I took out our FWD Honda CRV equipped with snow tires at night. It was still snowing, the roads had not been cleared, probably about 2-3 inches of fresh snow as well. I tried to turn harder than I would normally on snow, brake harder, and tried to change lanes fast. The car was rock solid on snow.

Then I tried doing the same in a Model 3 with non-snow tires, as we well know, it likes to skid and did. Not sure how it will behave with snow tires, but in my experience with my Subaru Forrester (AWD) and Acura TL (AWD) with all season tires - those two cars have far superior performance on snow than the Model 3.

So yes, I agree, Model 3 needs a snow mode of some type.

DanFoster1 | 27. Februar 2019

@pjohri: so, you tested a CRV with snow tires and a Model 3 *without* snow tires, then came to the ‘conclusion’ that the Model 3 isn’t as good in the snow? Why don’t you have snow tires on your Model 3?

Tesla snow mode: get proper winter tires; respect the torque.

ODWms | 27. Februar 2019

@Dan, I’m thinking the same. Not exactly a fair comparison.

Pierogi | 27. Februar 2019

@pjohri - seems like an unfair conclusion to come to when the biggest difference in your testing is the various tires. For example, I used to own an Audi Allroad and when I first got the car it came with Pirelli Allroad tires and the car was amazing in snow. Then when those tires wore out I purchased Michelins (the same that are on the 18" Model 3s now) and the car was awful in snow. Then I got Bridgestone Blizzak snow tires on the Audi and it was unstoppable in snow/ice.

The Model 3 is a performance sports car with tremendous torque and acceleration. It has taken me a lot of trial and error to learn how it handles in snow, but I can tell you from experience it is night and day from the Michelin 18" stock tires and my Bridgestone Blizzak winter tires. Heck, even the Blizzaks are speed and weight rated for a performance sports car - which was not the case for Blizzaks I had on my Audi Allroad. My point being I feel the Blizzaks I have on my Model 3 are spec'd more for performance/speed than handling on ice (I notice less of a difference in stiffness between the Blizzaks and Michelins).

coleAK | 27. Februar 2019

The longer I drive the 3 over the winter. The issues I has is on ice not snow. We don’t salt roads in Alaska and having a lower snow year so lots of ice on the roads. On extremely slick surfaces like intersections with 3-6” of solid clear cold hard ice and making a low speed right hand turn. The stability control seems confused. It just isn’t as seemless and smooth as a traditional mechanical center diff. Also the stability control dosnt correct understeer as well as our other vehicles in slow speed slides on ice.

For tires we run studded Nokians on all of them. And the Hakka 9’s on the 3 are amazing. Snow is a non issue almost like dry pavement. Stopping grab and control is incredible. It’s just the quirks of the ESC in the Tesla on extremely slick... again not bad just not seamless and smooth. Again our other cars: MB 4matic E on Hakka 5, Lx 570 on hakka 7, Subaru Legacy on hakka 4.

AWDTesla | 27. Februar 2019

even with winter tires, you're still steering with the throttle in the snow.

mgama1 | 18. Dezember 2019

Thought I would give this thread a bump... any news on the possibility of snow mode?

coleAK | 18. Dezember 2019

I think Tesla is more concerned with GO mode. Hence the Performance unlock talked about all AM

vmulla | 18. Dezember 2019

Chill mode helps in snow. So the mode you're asking for is already there

howard | 18. Dezember 2019


Chill does not help the front to rear bias. It only lowers/slows the acceleration ramp time. So if you can't control the accelerator well it might help with a heavy foot.

wallbrook | 18. Dezember 2019

Does anyone know if Tesla is their AI to improve handling in slick situations? It would be very interesting to see what "big data" would show about handling different types of skids, hydroplaning, etc; and, most importantly, use the statistics to choose the "best" method of dealing with the potential and/or actual loss of control. With the cameras, rain, temperature, and other sensors, Tesla could get a pretty good idea of actual road condition rather than just wheel slippage.

WEST TEX EV | 18. Dezember 2019

+1 want snow mode!!

1) Decrease max accel slightly
2) Decrease response to accel request quite a bit (change power more gradually)
3) Increase aggression of traction control intervention
4) tighter margin between tire speeds
5) front motor bias (understeer)
6) auto activate based on external temperature
7) notify driver of activation
8) reduce regen
9) slower smoothing to activate regen (when cruise cancelled)
8) more aggressive reduction in speed for autopilot curves
9) increased autopilot follow distance
10) detect snow/ice and make settings more conservative every documented slip

Kirbster | 18. Dezember 2019

This is definitely needed. After last Saturday on i70 in Colorado going uphill to the Eisenhower tunnel on greasy slushy snow wound bumper to bumper stop and go traffic where the rear end broke traction every single time I started from a stop and kicked the back end at least a foot out of line I can conclude it’s a RWD car that users the front motor to go faster not a true AWD car.
When I opened a ticket with Tesla they looked at the logs and said the problem was the tires(Nokia’s Hakapalitta R3) since they weren’t the approved Sottozero. The car stopped from 60-0 for a red light on the same snow with no slippage. It’s not the tire it’s the fact that the car is extremely rear wheel biased.
It didn’t matter if I used chill mode, traffics aware cruise control, or extremely light throttle it broke traction.
The cars around you love it when your read end kicks into their lane in bumper to bumper traffic.

howard | 18. Dezember 2019

I’ll say it again there is no reason my 70k AWD Tesla does not handle the snow/low traction as well as my wife’s Q3 or my past A4s. No reason at all other than Tesla’s head is stuck in the snow. Good grief!!

bp | 18. Dezember 2019


Coming from 13 years of Torsen Quattro on Blizzaks, I’m hoping to not be let down in my AWD M3 on Hakkapeliitta R3s.

Haven’t gotten in the snow yet (possibly tomorrow), but I’m skeptical that limiting regen or acceleration is something I want the car doing for me; I’d prefer to do that myself with my foot. I very much would, however, prefer being able to turn on/off 50/50 torque bias with the tap of the console.

PTdenver | 19. Dezember 2019

how about improving your driving skill and ability? I grew up in the snowiest city in the US, we had no traction control, ABS brakes, stability control, and little to no cars with AWD other than trucks, yet we all survived

HighlandPony | 19. Dezember 2019

Snow Mode with a 50/50 power split, especially while accelerating, would definitely be a good idea.

andy.connor.e | 19. Dezember 2019

I've been driving FWD sedans for 6 years in Central/northern/eastern new york state, and i have never had a problem in the snow. Get yourself THE BEST snow tires you can get and you wont ever have any problems. I've driven through multiple heavy snowstorms in a Toyota Yaris. You spent all that money on AWD, do not skimp out on tires. The quality of your snow tires will make 100% of the difference. AWD doesnt do anything if you are using track tires in the snow.

I will +1 on the driving skills. Teslas have break hold so there is literally no reason to be over accelerating ever.

jordanrichard | 19. Dezember 2019

Everyone does know that all the AI in the world is not going to fix the friction coefficient or lack there of, between rubber and ice/packed snow?

coleAK | 19. Dezember 2019

I figure I have about 10 months driving on winter roads in our LR AWD. On Nokian Hakka9’s. As myself and others have said tires make a bigger difference than any drivetrain on winter roads and I’m running some of if not the best. The difference with the 3 is when the rears lose traction it there is a significant lag in the front wheels engaging. In our other cars (most with Torsten diffs) that is not the case even with no traction control. Where I have a slight issue with this it it should be an easy software fix. Now I imagine with more power to the front it would sacrifice steering feel and probably add a lot of torque steer due to high torque motor on a open diff up front but the ability to switch it to a simulated center diff lock with a 50/50 split would be awesome.

coleAK | 19. Dezember 2019

@jordanrichard yes understand that. But our old 2004 MB e320 is vastly more sure footed on Hakka 7 then our 3 is on Hakka 9. The 3 has the tire advantage.

twizzler | 19. Dezember 2019

This is a small low sedan that is designed to be efficient on paved roads - some of you need a snowmobile.

coleAK | 19. Dezember 2019

@twizzler. Where are you, SoCal? FL? Mid sized cars are the best winter vehicles: Subaru Legacy, Subaru Impreza, Audi A4, MB e 4-matic, Volvo V60 AWD,... trucks and large SUVs are not good in the snow. Heavy and high CG are not good on slick roads.

twizzler | 19. Dezember 2019

I'm from the Pittsburgh area. I'm saying that one car cannot be good for all conditions. I know Tesla folks can pull off great things, but let us be reasonable. I was surprised to see a laundry list of things that snow mode should do. If you want grapes, but you get great oranges instead then you're simply not going to be happy (the analogy is too broad, I know)
With me now?

This car is my most expensive yet - I'm not driving around in winter until the roads are scraped down to the pavement.