Driving in the Polar Vortex

Driving in the Polar Vortex

Would anybody living in one of the states affected by the Polar Vortex care to share their driving stories? Preheating? High watt consumption? Regen? Charging taking longer? Driving in the snow/sleet?

Bighorn | January 10, 2014

This cold snap pre-dated the PV, but here's some info...

Longhorn92 | January 10, 2014

I'm in the Chicago area, and the car worked very well during the deep freeze. That being said, it definitely consumes a lot more energy in cold temps. I usually get low 300s Wh/mi in summer/fall, but this last week it's been more in the 450-500 Wh/mi.

I do preheat the car almost every time before leaving (usually for a 20+ minutes if I think of it early enough). If you preheat for a good amount of time, your regen is usually limited to about 30 kW when you first get in. If you do not preheat, in these temps, the regen is disabled at first and very slowly allows for more regen. Also, when the temps where staying in the negative range earlier this week, I found that my regen limit stayed at about the 30 kW area even after driving the car for over 30 minutes.

I got snow tires about two weeks ago, so driving in the snow was pretty good. You would still have times where traction control would blink (especially in streets with a couple inches or more of snow/slush), but it felt much better than before with the all season tires.

redacted | January 10, 2014

Also in Chicago, no problems. Car is garage kept but sometimes needed to warm the battery for a while before it would charge at all (in winter it seems practical to charge for half an hour or more before you leave, also to warm the cabin). Outside it would probably take longer and use more power, of course.

500s for the power depending on whether the battery was heating or not. Maybe 360s over longer trips when things were warmed.

Electric cabin heat is a wonderful thing.

Jewsh | January 10, 2014

We are in Mississauga and regularly head north to visit family.

We found our car used 350-400wH/km. With preheating things are toasty in the car and you can use the heated seats and some minimal heat in the cabin to keep quite warm.

The car has been great for us, even in the very, very cold.

ITSelectric | January 10, 2014

Other than my heat going completely out on Wed, my 3-week old S85 handled quite well in the cold and snow...better than my front drive Lincoln MKZ Hybrid for sure. They came out to my office to pick up my car and brought it back all fixed up and even washed early that evening.

ITSelectric | January 10, 2014

I meant to add that I'm in the Chicago area too.

Tanchico | January 10, 2014

We had temps hitting -28°C and lower before wind chill. It was as much as 20km into my commute before the battery heating message went off. I found it best to leave regen off. On ice it can send the MS into a bit of a drift if your not careful. I have snows and on track bare to centre bare roads the MS is great. Really hugs the road. The heating system is just OK. Very low volume of air flow without recirculate on and as with all cars it flogs with it on. Air flow on the windscreen much better than the floor. Maybe it's some to have fixed. At cold temps my charge was only drawing 30A. Don't know if it was the mobile connector or the car limiting it. I just love not having to warm the engine and with a preheat cabin just get in and go. Haven't had any trouble starting... ha, ha. I find the washer fluid comes out in a stream instead of a spray which would help on very messy days. On coldest days i was getting about 70% of the rated range, not unexpected and certainly not a problem. Overall though these things are mostly observations, even in extreme cold I still love my Tesla.

Tanchico | January 10, 2014

One more item, my charge port froze shut. Heated it up with a hair dryer.

Brian H | January 11, 2014

The "polar vortex" meme is crap journalism. A PV is a tight high-speed cycle around the pole, and actually keeps cold air from coming south. When it slows and breaks down, it can release a sudden surge, but that has not happened. Just standard winter jet stream stuff.

Just sayin'.

alfafoxtrot1 | January 11, 2014

I'm also in Chicago and mirror what's been said above. I'll add that for the first time in a year of driving my defrost wasn't sufficient to keep my driver's side window clear. I'm heading in for the annual service and hope to find a fix. Approx 8 months ago, there was a hardware upgrade to the defrost vents that I didn't get. Until now, I didn't think it mattered.

williamweiss21 | January 11, 2014

Northern New Jersey - 0-3degrees, 100 amp wall mounted charger (80 amps at the plug), charged at 79 amps. Average Wh/mi was 439, at STP (72degrees) it's about 283-317Wh/mi. So, about an efficiency loss of 22-30% in the real cold. Acceleration off by a bit too, especially when the "battery is heating" message pops up. Wipers good, heat on 65 with the seat heated on "1".
None of this is a problem, it just requires a little more thinking on the front end of a trip.

Biggest problem I have is not with weather; it's the radio reception...

ssarker | January 11, 2014

On the coldest day only (-14F):

- could not operate windows
- side mirrors froze (could not fold)
- needed 2 hours in the garage to thaw charge port flap

bsimoes | January 11, 2014

We, too, hit -30 at night without figuring wind chill. No garage--I am looking into some possibilities because again, my window wouldn't drop when I went to open the car door. I was running late, and the car was operational other than that, so I drove to work with the driver's door ajar. I had to hold it the whole time, and that was exhausting, worrying, frustrating and cold, but the alternative was to possibly have the window smash if I shut the door with the force it would've required. Gotta say, I'm not real keen on the frameless window idea. The manual button on the armrest is dead when I need it. Very aggravating.

Chunky Jr. | January 11, 2014

Not sure how directly this relates to Tesla, but I posted this a month or so ago.

mikefa | January 11, 2014

Take a look at this recent video from someone who drove 375 km/225 miles on a single charge, in Norwegian winter conditions with temperatures below zero.

Jewsh | January 11, 2014

I agree with the posters above; everything works very well save for a very few times that the charge port gets frozen shut.

The gosh darned frameless windows on the other hand...

Brian H | January 12, 2014

Dang, that's the fourth time I've watched Bjorn and the cat! /=)

jkn | January 12, 2014

Silicone (spray) prevents rubber parts to stuck because of ice.

Sailor | January 12, 2014

Same experience as written in previous posts. I' m in Rochester NY and it was pretty cold....single digits and winding as heck for 3-4 days.
Maybe it was just me, but it seemed that the cold made the steering feel looser than I would expect.
Warmed up to the mid 40's yesterday and all seemed well in the world again.

mikefa | January 12, 2014

Brian H,

sorry i couldn't resist! ... that guy cracks me up using his Model S for delivery service in order to make some side money instead of leaving the car sit idle... i still can't believe that plain looking stray cat costs $600!