Driving on slippery roads

Driving on slippery roads

I was/am wondering how you have to handle the Tesla's while driving on slippery roads.
I know that when you drive a manual car and it starts to drift of you have to push the clutch to get the drive of the wheels and you can get the control back, and I assume that with an automatic gearbox one would put it in neutral.
But since the Tesla doesn't have a gearbox how does that work??

Timo | January 31, 2014

You just lift your foot a little. Car also has pretty sophisticated traction control, so slipping is not that much a problem. Learn to drift, BTW. Sometimes sudden loss of power just makes things worse (pendulum effect). It's also quite fun.

michel | January 31, 2014

I have had an advanced driving course in a manual driven car, and there I learned that when you are about to lose the car you have disengage the drive from the wheels to keep control in case of avoiding an object on the road.
That's why I was asking.
In this course they explaind that in case the car start to spin and you don't want to have power on your weeks so they can get grid faster and easier, in wich case you get control quicker.

spicanspancleaning | January 31, 2014

The traction control system is pretty incredible on this machine. I've drive all types of cars through snow and ice and with the right tyres the model s handles wonderfully. I do disagree with letting off a little on the throttle. TC takes over when you start to slide cutting your power down. If you're on a hill you will regain control but you won't make it up.

ian | January 31, 2014

Just put it in neutral then.

Timo | February 1, 2014

@Michel, spicanspan, I have driven in ice roads and ice race tracks. For inexperienced driver jumping to clutch is easy solution, but it isn't always the best solution. Don't be afraid of small slide, it isn't that dangerous. Train, if you can, to make your car slide on purpose. In addition to make you a better driver it is also really fun.

It's good if you can feel that "car is about to" slide, but for many cars signs for that are not obvious and slide can be rather sudden. Also what they teach you is to turn in direction to slide, and there you introduce the possibility of pendulum, car corrects the slide so fast that you can't turn the steering wheel fast enough to compensate and the other end of that spin will get much worse than first one.

It's better to gain grip gradually than suddenly. You gain control that way faster.

For Model S that becomes really easy really fast, because you don't have to do anything else than just move your right foot up or down a bit (and steer a bit).

Brian H | February 1, 2014

To climb a hill: point uphill; floor it.

michel | February 3, 2014

@Timo, thanks for the clarification. I do love to drift in my own ICE car right now when there is enough snow.
I still didn't have the chance to test a Tesla so that's why I was wondering, my passengers don't always like it when I do it but still :D

I can recall one time I did loos all traction/grip and I needed to disengage the drive, but more than that not really.

I hope to have a go in a model S soon.

Timo | February 3, 2014

[story time]

I remember one time where I was sliding in insanely slippery ice road in kind of semi-controlled fashion (very long curve) when I noticed that there is a log truck coming in opposite way. Narrow road and could not be sure I can make it, so I decided that ditch is softer than truck front. In the ditch I go. Log truck stops and offers help to get me out of the ditch. That truck was equipped with a grappling thing which is used to load logs in, rope tied to that he started to pull my car out of the ditch and the entire log truck slides sideways. Car was not very deep into ditch, so we managed to get it out with just muscle power.

That's worst road condition I have experienced. Insanely slippery. No amount of TC could have prevented that slide, only some spiked tires. Something called torque vectoring in 4WD car could have helped, but even that has limits. Problem with these traction helpers is that when you lose control with them you really lose control. Knowing car limits is important.

slipdrive | February 3, 2014

+1timo. Overconfidence is the enemy of safe winter driving.

Brian H | February 3, 2014

You said the log truck stopped. How did it manage that with zero coefficient of friction, and huge momentum?

Timo | February 4, 2014

It had time. It was going really slowly and there was still quite a bit distance to my car. I had three choices: drift past that truck, try to get car under proper control before truck or the ditch. I chose the safest option: there was an intersection of kind to the field next to road, and that was my target. Should I have hit that I would probably not have even got stuck (my speed was also slow one). Missed it by about half-car width.

holidayday | February 4, 2014

"I was/am wondering how you have to handle the Tesla's while driving on slippery roads."

From the Cross-Country road trip, they used chains on the tires for the high altitude passes where it was snowing. (and likely because it was mandatory in those conditions)

Timo | February 4, 2014

Good winter tires mean a lot more than any TC. Nokian tyres have quite good ones.