Anyone else test drive the S today in the pouring rain in NJ

Anyone else test drive the S today in the pouring rain in NJ

Anyone else test drive it today? I thought it handled amazing in the rain.. was very impressed with the handling and how it hugged the road.. no problems in the rain whatsoever for this incredible car..

bsimoes | July 20, 2012

Hey, maybe you could tell me whether the pano roof would open in the rain!

youlikeadajuice | July 20, 2012

Ha! The car I drove did not have a pano roof, so I sadly cannot comment on that. I completely agree that the car was amazing in the rain! Unfazed through fast turns, never lost grip! I'm so impressed with this car!

adn | July 20, 2012

I posted this over at TMC, but will put it here as well:

I drove the white performance model in the heavy rain today in NY/NJ. I was also a passenger in the other performance model (forget the color). The rain was very heavy at times, and the roads were very slick. The course itself was quite curvy with not a lot of straight ahead acceleration opportunities. Finally, the traffic was heavy but flowing quickly.

Simply put: the traction control is AMAZING.

While I was a passenger the driver accelerated very quickly starting from a stop turning right (off a red). Anyone who knows anything about fast cars knows that doing this on wet pavement with high torque is a recipe for fishtailing at best and spinning out at worst. This car handled it perfectly. Being in the back seat I could hear and feel the rear wheels slipping, hopping, and the power cutting back to them. It was clear that each rear wheel was reacting independently. And, the car still accelerated like a bat our of hell.

While I was a driver I did a straight ahead, from a stop, floor it, 0-60 run. Because of the wet pavement, and likely due to gravel and bumps in the road, again the traction control jumped in and cut power and controlled the launch and acceleration. Interestingly wheel slip was not worst at launch, but at about 30 MPH at which point the wheels skipped/hopped and power was clearly cut to regain control.

I didn't try pushing the traction control in a moving turn (skid pad style), it would have simply been too dangerous.

Other wet driving impressions: the auto wipers worked well in that they seemed to notice the rain and wipe it away. The visibility was reasonable, given prior comments on visibility. Lastly, the rear HD camera had serious issues with water dripping down and obscuring the view -- nothing major, but you kept wanting to go outside and wipe it with your sleeve.

Overall, as I said, the traction control was very good, and the wet weather performance was remarkable. It would be very difficult to spin the car or get it to go out of control.

Timo | July 22, 2012

" It was clear that each rear wheel was reacting independently"

I'm a bit curious how Tesla had done that. There is only one motor, so power transfer between tires is not done using that, it is done in differential. It's probably just ordinary friction lock system with more precise motor torque control than what is possible with ICE, but if there is some electric magic involved it could be interesting to learn what it is.

jerry3 | July 22, 2012

Traction control and other safety systems, such as VSC, ABS, BA, etc., typically work by manipulating the friction brakes individually. When the wheel starts to spin, the brake on that wheel stops it from spinning.

pilotSteve | July 22, 2012

Timo - could this effect be achieved by braking one rear wheel and letting the differential slip, effectively providing + traction to one wheel and - traction to the other?

In fact, would this not be the same problem/solution as most conventional RWD cars have?

Theresa | July 22, 2012

Traction may typically work this way but from my experience with my Roadster it appears it is totally controlled by cutting power to the motor. This would make the most sense with an electric vehicle as it is instantaneous response rather than the lag you get with ICE vehicles. Also it would not use excess power either.

Timo | July 22, 2012

@jerry3, pilotSteve, I assume same as you (did fast research). However apparently there is electrically activated differential lock which (I assume) could be more precise and smooth than braking one or the other wheel, so it is not completely out of the question to have that either.

Brian H | July 22, 2012

Cutting the motor couldn't control each wheel independently. Do you ever experience that with the Roadster?

Jason S | July 22, 2012

A "electrically activated differential lock" could explain it.

Could go surf the Tesla patents. They prolly have one for that.

Mark E | July 23, 2012

Jason S: My 1990 Porsche 928 GT has an electronically activated differential lock - a g sensor in combination with the abs sensors let the diff vary between completely open or 100% locked.

Not new, or requiring an EV to execute - and works amazingly well. It doesn't prevent wheelspin, but does ensure that both wheels get maximum drive.

jerry3 | July 23, 2012


One thing I've learned from the Prius forum is that about half of what we thought we knew when the 2004 Prius was introduced turned out to be wrong--even though we had the NCF manual* and experience with the 2001-2003 Prius. (It took a couple of years to get rid of some of the false information.) I don't expect that the Model S will be any different. We'll be learning new things for quite some time.

* The NCF manual is a great document, but it doesn't cover all of the nuances.

Timo | July 23, 2012

I wonder if Tesla could fit two (smaller) motors between rear wheels, both wheels individually. I believe that could allow even better control for individual rear tires. OTOH when you have one wheel on tarmac and other on ice single (big) motor and differential lock could provide more power to the wheel that is on tarmac. Can't decide which one would be better.

Volker.Berlin | July 24, 2012

Timo, also one bigger motor is more efficient, has less weight, requires less space, and is cheaper. That's not the only argument of course, but it's probably part of the reason why Tesla chose this design.

chrigel | November 20, 2013

First rain for my Tesla. Love San Francisco!!

Wipers were very jerky and only worked well in full speed. Drove me crazy and I went to Fremont Service. They replaced the rubber on the wipers. Great service, love those guys. They worked very smoothly for 20 minutes and then back to the same jerky moves again in slow speed and rain sensor position. It' s like there is not enough water on the windshield but it was really raining hard.

Not sure what else I can do. Any suggestions?

Brian H | November 20, 2013

OptiCoat the windshield? (and car)

thranx | November 21, 2013

1) Rain X or similar application.

2) Let gerbil out of wheel housing in frunk and train it to use very small towels.