Things I would like (coming from someone who lives where it snows)

Things I would like (coming from someone who lives where it snows)

So after getting hit with the snow again this last weekend, I got to thinking. Here are some things I would like to see as options or standard would be even better yet!

Heated mirrors
4 wheel drive
Ability to have snow tires
Heated seats
Heated Stearing wheel
Remote start (hopefully at about a mile or 2 range, I walk to my car from campus and it would be nice to walk to a warm car)

Not sure if it is possilbe but heated windsheild blades would friggen rule as well.

BladeRunnings | 14 December 2010

I agree with the heated mirrors and seats, but I believe the model S will already come with these from the research I've done. I also live in a very snowy area during the winter time (Rocky Mountains), but I don't really care for 4WD as snow tires have always sufficed even on steep snow-covered roads. I believe such an option would be very expensive as well. There is a British car company that is claiming their car will have 4WD, but they don't have anything available yet. Remote "start" may be nice although it doesn't seem like an electric car really starts up. It kind of just turns on when you turn the key. It's very cool! =)

Vawlkus | 14 December 2010

"Ability to have snow tires"??????? Are you serious?
I know the Nissan Leaf has a remote start that can be triggered from a smartphone (like an iPhone for example), but I think that's only available if the car is plugged in, so that it uses socket power instead of the battery to warm the car up for the driver.

Timo | 14 December 2010

Lets change that: Ability to use whatever tires I choose to use, no restrictions (except size of course).

Brian H | 15 December 2010

Remote start is a security hazard. Thieves have readers which listen in and can dupe your signal.

Douglas3 | 15 December 2010

Snow tires are available even for the Roadster, I don't think that will be an issue. It also has seat heaters. So I'm sure the S will have the same.

My wish list would include good cabin insulation and a stronger heater. Maybe a way to use battery heat dissipation to supplement the cabin heat for efficiency.

Mark Petersen | 15 December 2010

remote start is for ICE, I hope for RemotHeaterStart
and I belive Tesla mention that the car would have an Internet connection (3G) so the same app that tell you that the car is charging could activate the heater

Mike_ModelS_P457 | 16 December 2010

Mark, great point on remote startover remote heat! I would prefer either an IP enabled (3G, 4G EDGE, whatever) connection or at least a timer ala enery star type thermostats; set to warm up at 7pm and 7am, etc.

As for tires, I can't imagine there would be tire restrictions. I live in CT, but have a ski house in VT. I put snows on all of my cars for the winter and have never had an issue with any car.

DC | 16 December 2010

I don't think it's possible for a street legal car to not be able to get snow tires. It's just a piece of rubber that goes around the wheel. Tesla didn't reinvent the wheel, just the EV.

murraypetera | 18 December 2010

I second the 4WD/AWD. We have now had full time AWD cars now for 12 years (ML320) 6 years (Toyota Highlander Hybrid AWD) and we never want to go back. We live in Westchester County NY which is not a high snow area but we have very hilly twisty roads with small shoulders to none.

During winter we have lots of black ice and even in summer with the rain the difference is very noticeable. We also spent the last year in SLC and would not dream of driving to the ski resorts without AWD. Many times it was required to have AWD and snow tires to drive up the canyons to get to the ski resorts when it was snowing.

The point of a car is to get you from point A to B safely and the additional safety factor or having AWD is a no brainer in our mind.

Please add this option/feature sooner than later.

Volker.Berlin | 20 December 2010

Plus one for 4WD. There is a point where 2WD just does not cut it, and 4WD does. So it's really not just marginal, like a little more power or a little more range. IMO 4WD makes a significant difference in where you can go with the car (and when ;-).

Regarding heater: There has been an emotional discussion on this topic, but I do not hesitate to bring it up again. It would be very sensible and useful to use GASOLINE (yes, I do not apologize) for heating. You want torque and efficient movement? Use electricity. But if there is one thing gasoline is really, really good for (and where electricity really, really sucks), it is efficient heating.

Tesla seems to be very stubborn in promoting their car as "zero oil". I can understand it to a degree (and of course that is part of the reason why I reserved a Model S), but to rule out gasoline heating in principle for plain political/PR reasons seems to be over-the-top and unnecessarily stupid.

"Zero oil"? Wait a minute. How do you lubricate the drive train? with graphite?? ;-)

Volker.Berlin | 20 December 2010

Ah, and by the way. Once you have a gasoline heater in the car, it is totally understood that there should by a timer for it as well as a remote start (not the car, the heater only). I forgot to mention in my previous post because it is so obvious... :-)

Timo | 20 December 2010

Electric heaters are about as efficient as heaters possibly can, gasoline heaters are not nearly as efficient, even that they are quite efficient.

For lubrication there are a lot of synthetic sources, no need to use fossil fuels, and even if we do that's not burning it, much smarter way to do things.

Volker.Berlin | 20 December 2010

Just to cite one popular after market product, so we get a feeling of what we are talking about:

For 20 min full power (aka "sauna mode") this high-end model consumes 0,21l of gasoline. @Timo, maybe you can explain how much range we have to sacrifice if we want to draw equivalent heat from the battery to heat the large cabin of the Model S (cannot compare to roadster b/c size does matter).

Just to provide a little background where I am coming from: I suppose anybody who has ever owned an electric car and used it as his or her primary means of transportation, is a burned child (no pun intended) when it comes to heating. The experience is that electric heaters quickly deplete the battery without actually providing any cosiness. Driving with scarf and gloves quickly becomes a habit, and gasoline-heated cars suddenly seem so much more attractive... Would be nice if Tesla could prove me wrong, but I suspect that heating with electricity is not a good idea in itself. Would be nice if Tesla would choose the best solution for heating, not (necessarily) the one that allows for the best PR.

Timo | 20 December 2010

For 20 minutes at max power of that thing, equal electric heater would make you lose approx 7 miles out of 230mile battery. A bit less for Model S (it depends of how much energy you need to get that range). The bigger the vehicle the less it is relative to battery size.

qwk | 20 December 2010

Gasoline heaters are a horrible idea. The car is fully electric, so that you get away from burning fossil fuels.

I don't know why everyone from Europe panics about the heater. The car will come with heated seats, and if you are really that worried about losing range, you can preheat the cabin before setting out on your trip while the car is still plugged in.

Volker.Berlin | 21 December 2010

Timo> For 20 minutes at max power of that thing, equal electric heater would make you lose approx 7 miles out of 230mile battery.

Assuming that in winter, when it's really cold outside, which is why you want to heat the cabin, a 230mile battery is still a 230mile battery. According to experience with any existing electric vehicles, it is not. More like a 100mile battery under cold conditions. Except when you heat the battery, which drains more power from the battery, hm.

qwk> Gasoline heaters are a horrible idea. The car is fully electric, so that you get away from burning fossil fuels.

I tried to make clear that I find this argument "horrible". I don't know why "everyone from the USA" (to respond at your level of granularity) is so absurdly strict in either burning oil like crazy (because "every one from USA" drives big trucks ;-) or burning zero oil at all. Life is about compromises but it seems extremely hard to agree on the simple approach, to find the best solution for a problem at hand.

Turns out that driving with electricity is a better solution than driving with gasoline. Fine. I am happy that Tesla has set out to prove it, and that's why I was the first in Europe to reserve a Model S.

But to damn gasoline just for the sake of itself does not make sense to me. You can "get away from burning fossil fuels" by driving a small Japanese car, which burns only a small fraction of what the average American truck burns to get from A to B. It's already a huge step. Or you can buy a Tesla and ensure that the electricity you run it with is not gained by burning oil(!) and that's an even bigger step. But the amount of fuel you need to power an auxiliary heater really is minuscule compared to what the average ICE car burns (in the USA or in Europe, for that matter). And if you do not want to burn fossil fuels, there are a lot of alternatives, like bio fuel or vegetable oil that was used to make your fries and that would be considered waste otherwise. There are lots of possibilities that could be used to power an auxiliary heater -- just that these alternatives are not alternatives for moving cars, due to the sheer amount of fuel you need for that purpose.

I hope you get my point (this time): There is a difference (many differences actually) between auxiliary heaters and engines for moving cars, and the best solution for either of the two is not necessarily the best solution for the other.

Last statement from me on that topic (in this thread, at least): I am not strictly for using gasoline heaters. If electricity is the better (or an equivalently good) solution, so be it. I just think it is silly to rule out gasoline for heating before even seriously considering it.

qwk | 21 December 2010

If one wants a gasoline heater because they are scared of losing a bit of range, they will probably be better off with a plug in hybrid.

Tesla has no business dooing anything that involves an ICE. They even said that themselves a while back. I think a fossil fuel heater fits in the above category.

Ad van der Meer | 21 December 2010

I second that.

A fossil fuel heater would mean an instant cancellation of my reservation.

Klaus | 21 December 2010

"Assuming that in winter, when it's really cold outside, which is why you want to heat the cabin, a 230mile battery is still a 230mile battery. According to experience with any existing electric vehicles, it is not. More like a 100mile battery under cold conditions. Except when you heat the battery, which drains more power from the battery, hm"

@volker I'm suprised you would say something like that as a reservation holder. You should spend some time reading the FAQ concerning Tesla's battery packs and cold weather operations. The battery pack is maintained at around 70 degrees F (21 C)through a cooling/heating system. Thereby eliminating or reducing power loss in extreme environments. Ask any Roadster owner in Canada, Sweden, Germany, etc. Are you not planning on charging your Model S indoors while at home? While plugged in there is no loss at all. The battery pack will all "230 miles" available to you.

Volker.Berlin | 22 December 2010

Klaus> The battery pack is maintained at around 70 degrees F (21 C)through a cooling/heating system. Thereby eliminating or reducing power loss in extreme environments.

I read everything I can get hold of, and I hope for the best. Let me just put it this way: I believe it when I see it.

For one thing, cooling/heating does not come for free and will sure need more energy under extreme conditions. Anything else would be against fundamental physics... But the only relevant question, of course, is whether or not it makes a practical difference. Tesla has proven that they get some things right, so at least there is hope.

Dan5 | 22 December 2010

I agree with Ad van der Meer. If they go with ANY type of gas engine I would also cancel my reservation.
Gas engines are completely unreliable, costly to maintain and fuel- you can blame Ford for my view on them . They completely soured me from ICE engines for the rest of my life. I will NEVER go back to an ICE engine or anything remotely close to an ICE engine.

Klaus | 22 December 2010

@Volker I assume you are somewhere in Europe so I suggest contacting some of the Roadster owners in your area/country for some practical experience with battery performance in cold climates. You can also start a thread on this site and I am sure that you will get plenty of responses from owners. You can also check out The roadster has been out since 2008 and therefore has been subject to cold weather operations for at least one winter. I'm afraid I cannot provide personal experience until I get my own Tesla Model S. And even then it wont do you any good...I live in Florida! :)

Kevin Sharpe | 22 December 2010

i'm a Roadster driver in the UK. We've had several weeks with temperatures below 0 Deg C (it's currently -6 Deg C). My normal 'commute' is ~180 miles and I've not seen any significant impact on range at these temperatures. I appreciate that -6 Deg C is not 'cold' by many standards but think it gives an indication of how good these cars are in the cold.

One other thing to consider is that with all the accessories switched on the Roadster reports a current drain of 10A... If I floor the accelerator I can achieve current drain of 600A.... I think the heating is a small load.

silentrunner | 22 December 2010

Amen to AWD!!! It can't be about good looks and a smart system,.... it's got to be safe as well. Imagine the marketing power when the Model S cruises by that SUV on a snowy road?! Take that road monster!!

Volker.Berlin | 23 December 2010

Kevin Sharpe> My normal 'commute' is ~180 miles and I've not seen any significant impact on range at these temperatures.

I am almost convinced. :-) Thanks for sharing!

And, yes, I am from Europe. Berlin, Germany, to be precise.
Happy Holidays everybody!

Volker.Berlin | 23 December 2010

Just to be clear about it: "I am almost convinced." I mean it. No irony involved. It's just almost too good to be true.

Timo | 23 December 2010

Thing with Tesla Roadsters is that they have something no other EV:s have and that is battery temperature control. Battery pack AC. That makes them more reliable than any other EV in variable temperatures, both cold and hot climates. You could probably drive Roadster in Sahara as well as in Antarctica for battery performance.

Well, maybe not Antarctica, -60C+ is a bit too much for most things made for ordinary people. But with increased insulation, why not? Batteries generate heat if used, and if you don't let that heat dissipate, it requires very little power to keep them in good operating temperatures.

I wonder how well Model S battery pack handles heat dissipation though. Its position at the bottom of the car creates a huge air cooling effect when car is driven, which might help for extracting excess heat, but might be a big problem in cold temperatures.

AlfredG | 23 December 2010

@Volker. Of course winter is not summer, heating does cost energy and so do winter tires. How much that affects your range depends very much on the route considered. On motorways at speeds between 100-120 km/h, heating is a small proportion of the energy used. In town, when you spend most of your time waiting for the traffic to move, it becomes logically a larger fraction.

Examples, as driven in the real world with a Roadster 2.0 :
- At around 0°C, motorway only, steady driving at mostly 100-120km/h, consumption rose from about 160 Wh/km in summer to 180 Wh/km with heating, snow tires and lights.

- Recently driven at temperatures around -7°C, about 240 km of motorway (100-120 km/h) and 60 km of local roads (50-80 km/h) consumption reached 187 Wh/km.

The second sample drive was spiced by some headwinds, salt spray and swirls of snow.
In my experience headwinds are more important for the achievable range on motorways than cabin heating.

As far as leaving the car outside is concerned we may have to wait for the owners manual. For the Roadster plugging in is always recommended and essential below -29°C (according to the manual).

- Alfred

Timo | 23 December 2010

There is also a "winter speed limits" and "summer speed limits" if they apply to you. That can cause a phenomenon where your range actually increases in winter, because now you use less speed for same distance which in turn uses less energy. Dropping from 100km/h to 80km/h increases Roadster (summer) range from around 336km to around 416km.

Speed is significant factor in energy consumption, and even without those speed limit changes people usually drive more carefully in winter slowing down earlier, accelerating less powerfully, driving slower in bad conditions, anticipating things more and so on which all helps conserving energy.

joesontesla | 8 January 2011

I live in a region where we got a lot of snow every year. The only thing I expect from this car is a solid tow hook in front and one in the back. I use them every year on my old volvo. I also expect the floor with integrated batteries can receive many hits from hard ice and rock impact without breaking it. Plus, I hope a traction control system or auto lock differential who is sufficient for me in the snow.

Brian H | 8 January 2011

Tesla traction control is very advanced.

joesontesla | 10 January 2011

if tesla need a beta tester where its very cold very snowy and very salty im the man. good car knowledge included.

discoducky | 11 January 2011

I would want all except snow tires and 4WD since both are not necessary with advanced traction control on maintained roads to maintain a controlled speed (i.e. you'll probably be able to go faster than those with straight up 4WD or AWD without a computer controlliing the spin, or studded tires for that matter.)

jkirkebo | 12 January 2011

I'd definately want snow tires, traction control will not help you one bit braking or turning. Also I need to be able to mount snow chains to the rear wheels if there are no AWD option.

Heated seats I don't need, I hate the stuff. Have them now, don't use them even when it's -18C (0F) outside. Heated steering wheel not neccessary if the cabin is pre-heated. Heated mirrors are a must-have item though.

joesontesla | 12 January 2011

where i im winter tyres are required by the law. electronic traction control or mecanical limited slip differential make all the difference sometimes betwen move or not.

Brian H | 16 January 2011

Check the blogs. From the "A very special Roadster owner" post,
Just a few weeks later I sold my other car, an Audi Quattro Sedan. Not because of monetary reasons but rather because it just wouldn’t be used anymore: The Tesla was even better on snow than the 4WD Audi!

mvbf | 19 January 2011

I also drive in a cold climate with the added bonus of dirt roads. That means mud and ruts in the spring. I would guess by the Roadster's ability to handle ice and snow well, it also might be able handle a bit of slippery mud. My concern would be with clearance and that battery pack on the bottom with the ruts. Would the ability to raise the suspension of the Model S be antithetical to its low center of gravity performance design? If not, that would be near the top of my list for requested options.

Supergreekster | 19 January 2011

AWD would be great... I like the assurance of the car being able to handle more bad weather conditions... Also Nissan leaf will have iPhone/browser app for ac/heater control... Would be a good idea for tesla to do this as well... You could just login to wi username/password and be able to see basic information and control ac/heater... Through wifi/3G to car...

Volker.Berlin | 14 February 2011

There is an extensive discussion of the AWD topic in this thread:

Brian H | 17 February 2011

AWD is excellent for driving off madly in all directions!

Volker.Berlin | 29 March 2011

This is very much what I was aiming at when suggesting a non-electric heater:

Brian H | 30 March 2011

Bah! You'd get alkies breaking into the car just to get the 3+ gallons of pure ethanol! That would fuel a rather large party ...

neroden | 25 April 2011

Good insulation would most certainly be valuable.

Regarding electric heating, there may be some serious confusion, because there are two types. Resistive electric heating, the older kind, is not very efficient. The Teslas use a heat pump (which can both heat and cool) as the primary HVAC system; I have one of these in my house, and they provide a lot of heat, quite quickly, on fairly little energy. (Heat pumps don't work properly below some temperature, -20C IIRC but I could be wrong, so the backup resistive heating would kick in then and probably use battery faster.)

However, if you're losing the heat to poor insulation, then it would still end up sucking up a lot of battery. Insulation is always job one with heating.