Rear wheel drive

Rear wheel drive

You may want to rethink the rear wheel drive on the Model S. I guess performance on dry pavement is best with real wheel drive but that is not the case in difficult conditions. Front (and of course all wheel) drive vehicles are sooo much better in snow and ice. I would much rather be in my old Honda or even my old Plymouth van in snow than than in my current BMW. Please reconsider.

ckessel | January 18, 2011

Ugh. I hate FWD.

Douglas3 | January 18, 2011

Try a Roadster in snow and you might just change your mind. The traction control is simply amazing.

msiano17 | January 18, 2011

Yes it is a well known fact that RWD is a little harder to control compared to FWD (and AWD is not a comparison cuz it is obviously the best)

But, if you have ever spoke to any Tesla salesperson or read up on the engineering design of how they are compensating for a RWD car it really does not make a different. First off it is a mid-size sedan coming in around 3000 lbs. which is plenty of weight ... second off, with the giant battery pack being the entire length of the bottom of the car and being underneath all the floor boards it will create an extremely low center of gravity to generate great traction in any condition ...

honestly, i prefer a RWD to any cheap Asian FWD car ... a got a little Lancer right now and the thing is so light, my old BMW (RWD) handled better than it in the snow than my Lancer does...

plus its going to be nearly a 60k car ... should probably drive it more carefully anyway

Discoducky | January 18, 2011

Since the Model S will be well balanced, front to back, there should be little to no ill effects due to RWD. In general, physics will favor RWD for traction, control and handling.

davecover | January 19, 2011

I've driven RWD and FWD cars. I drove a FWD VW Fox for 10 years (220k miles.) Right now we have both front and rear drive cars at our house. Given 2 equivalently powered FWD and RWD cars, RWD is more fun. Nothing like stepping on the gas or powering through a corner and feeling the rear end balance between power and spinout. My electric 944 is RWD with limited slip differential. I'll put that up against any FWD.

OK, I'm not always a sedate driver. But for those of you who are, the FWD/RWD issue shouldn't matter. In snow, a regular FWD car will probably be easier to drive than a RWD. All the engine weight over the drive axle does improve traction. But add traction control and RWD is fine. Almost as good as 4 wheel drive.

Unless you want to do doughnuts! Try doing that with FWD!


rletourneau | January 19, 2011

Why would anyone buy a car for the 7-30 days a year (depending on where you live) that you have to deal with drive affecting snow?

Drivers know that RWD is the only way to go!

Volker.Berlin | January 19, 2011

Actually, I am in favor of 4WD. But anyway, I think we cannot really discuss this before the car is actually there and ready to test drive. You must consider that your past experience does not hold for the Model S. You have never driven a car with a center of gravity so low as the Model S', and with weight so equally balanced between the two axes. Except maybe some pure sports car with mid-engine design.

The battery pack that is located from front to back along the bottom of the car really must make a huge difference. Just imagine: If it was located yet a little lower, the car would actually lean *inwards* when driving turns. This illustrates the quality of the difference to ICE cars in handling behavior, merely due to the fact that there is no ICE engine and instead a battery pack.

So, even if you are a big fan of FWD today, don't give up on the Model S too early. :-)

qwk | January 19, 2011

Did you pull this out of your.....

Here is a comparison of a roadster vs an AWD car. It doesn't take too many brain cells to figure out which one does better. Both cars have snow tires.

Timo | January 19, 2011

I'd say they both stop at similar rate but Subaru accelerates better. Which is no surprise. However that was badly maintained flat road. With good maintaining it doesn't have much difference do you have AWD or 2WD. In order to really see where AWD and 2WD differs you need a slippery incline or off-road conditions. Difference is big there.

qwk | January 20, 2011

You call sliding accelerating better?

Who goes off-roading in a 100k+ supercar? You guys make me laugh.

PeterTenev | January 20, 2011

I'll pass all the comments above and will tell you guys - DON'T make the BMW's mistake !
Never rear (no matter, does or not give better acceleration)

Most of the accidents in this World happened BECAUSE of loosing grip, to much torque ...and most of all - because of the rear drivetrain! Just check the statistics and honestly aplly them here.
And you'll all see how many lives have been lost because of this stupid rear insane !

And the future ? Oh, it'll be bright ONLY when this commercial is valid: "Power without control is nothing", and could even add - IT IS DANGEROUS !!!

So, which type of driven is closer to this goal (more than every other)? The answer is simple - 4WD, Quattro or Xd(i).
I currently use A4 Quattro, and will tell you - if i have to choose i'd choose the same car, same magnificent drivetrain layout, same 4 wheel drive version. It's not a coincidence that BMW started to produce sucha vehicles.

Forget the "battery drain", "inconvenient or complicated technical problems" - LIFE IS MOST IMPORTANT !

Timo | January 20, 2011

You didn't listen the comments driver did or watch the movement? AWD Subaru accelerates faster. However that TC Roadster has makes it exceptionally good as 2WD car in bad conditions. If that Subaru would have same level TC then there would be no competition whatsoever which one performs better.

There is a reason why all rally cars are AWD:s. In slippery surface you can't beat AWD with 2WD car no matter how advanced it is.

qwk | January 20, 2011

My point was that when driving on icy roads, you NEED control NOT faster acceleration. Who races on icy city streets?

Obviously the roadster has quite a bit more control.

You guys compare RWD ICE vehicles, which are horrible on winter roads. AN RWD EV with a good traction control system is a different animal. You really can't compare the two.

Timo | January 20, 2011

@Peter Tenev, you have one word wrong in the sentence "Most of the accidents in this World happened BECAUSE of loosing grip, to much torque"

It should be "Most of the accidents in this World happened BECAUSE of loosing grip, to [too] much speed". It is almost always too high speed to the situation. Almost never too much power/torque. Especially with advanced TC like Roadster the torque doesn't really matter at all.

AWD doesn't stop any better than 2WD, if you lose control in curve due too much speed AWD might actually be harder to get back in control than rear wheel drive car depending how it is made. Four wheel slide is almost always worse than two wheel slide.

LoKi | January 20, 2011

I am very tempted by the S. I am currently in an Infiniti G35x and like the AWD and stability control (snow and ice for a signfificant portion of the year in Wisconsin). Does the S have stability control sufficient to keep the vehicle moving in the intended direction on icy roads? My rear-engined RWD 911 stays parked from OCT-MAR, I do not need another 'garage queen'.

Timo | January 20, 2011

If they don't for some unimaginable reason drop the TC of Roadster out of the window, short answer is yes.

Douglas3 | January 20, 2011

I drive the Roadster daily in the summer, but only during good weather in the winter (I want to keep it pretty).

I plan to replace my winter ICE car with the Model S. Given how the Roadster performs on snow, I have absolutely no reservations about winter driving the S. (And I do have a reservation for the Model S!)

The main problem with conventional RWD is having the rear wheels kick out when you lose traction, and it usually happens on one wheel first sending you into a spin. The Roadster doesn't have that problem at all. You can floor it on a snowy road and it just gently accelerates - no slippage, no drama - quite amazing.

The other problem with RWD cars, losing steering control if the front wheels stop turning, has been eliminated by ABS. And stability control makes it even better in corners.

PeterTenev | January 20, 2011

This is for the guy who argue about "4WD difficulties in winter season":

Enjoy !

And this is for the guy who thinks that "speed" could not be beaten by 4 wheel control (without any silly electronic systems):

Sometimes, man should take a deep breath... before say or write something. So, in your sentence you also made a mistake:
"if you lose control in curve due too much speed AWD might actually be harder to get back in control than rear wheel drive car"

MIGHT ??? Oh my friend, oh mighty one ! "Might" have nothing in common with Sure, and "might" will NEVER be an option :D
Coz only when you see this: ... you might be ready for the Truth.

Let's give a chance the facts to talk about it! With argues nothing good had ever been achieved. There a laws of physics, mathematics, mechanics etc. They talk much more accurate...

qwk | January 20, 2011

^^You are comparing ICE cars. There is a world of difference between an ICE and an EV.

You talk about the laws of physics, yet fail to look at the Model S's center of gravity compared to the center of gravity on some of the comparable ICE cars.

Timo | January 20, 2011

@PeterTenev, I said "lose control". Driver in your video do not lose control, she gets in a slight slide, which is quite controllable. Vicki calls those "understeer" or "oversteer". Get your 4WD car in serious slide in icy road _due to too much speed_ and then come back to say us how easy it was to get it back in control.

Try it. Seriously. You might learn something.

Mike_ModelS_P457 | January 20, 2011

Honestly, I think this is much ado about nothing. No one here can know how the car will perform in snow. It is a totally new vehicle. The power, the weight, the distribution of power and weight, center of mass/gravity, everything is different. I live in CT and have a ski house in VT. I'm pretty low on the list, so hopefully I'll have the car before the end of next ski season. I promise to let the community know how it goes when I take it to VT in a spring storm to steal some turns in the fresh powder.

PeterTenev | January 21, 2011

Timo, my friend... There's NO car on this world that can handle the icy road ! Even with 16 wheels on it.
On ice - only Pike tyres could be an option (but not always, not in all situations)! Not even asymmetricaly designed, not 14" with huge grippers... Nothing will stop you with low or high speed.

But what i'm telling behind the words is - "choose the better, the best layout". Coz 4WD is dozens of times more weight-balanced, many times more accurate (the handling is superb), and it gives you the chance to experience avesome torque distribution. Everyone who has driven sucha vehicle will tell you that ! ( )

p.s. And about "understeer" or "oversteer" - there have been developed so many tech-stuff, so much innovations, that nowadays 4WD cars show really amazing road-performance. Just need to have the eye (and honesty) to accept that fact.

Vawlkus | January 21, 2011

So Peter, an apple is the same as an orange in your world?


Go back and READ what Timo posted, ALL OF IT, not just what you WANT to see.

There is NO comparison between having torque at only specific RPMs and speeds, and having torque ALL THE TIME. That is the key point you keep missing.

PeterTenev | January 21, 2011

Huh, the guy is totally convinced that "speed" is the root of everything. If he just owned a 4WD car, he could immediately check his opinion. And you too...
That's what happening (in conversations), when someone's not been experienced the "ALL TIME TORQUE" ! I little bit silly, but don't take it harsh. One day you'll get the idea. I'm wishing you to buy a 4WD car, and to HAVE all the power of it, whenever you need. Just have to cope with two or three rules of driving, that's all.
Good luck my friend !

Wesley Nygaard | January 22, 2011

Didn't Tesla mention that AWD will be a future option on the Model S?

Timo | January 22, 2011

At one point, yes, but that mention has disappeared from features/options -page. However with that compact powertrain module I wouldn't be surprised if it appears back. It would require some redesigning of the front end of the car for that drive axle, but I don't think that is too hard to do.

If there were 4WD version I would definitely prefer that to 2WD version, especially with Tesla proven TC systems.

joesontesla | January 22, 2011

AWD as a option yes but not now. tesla is now in way to mass produce a car not boosting the price of it. Priority now is not to produce a less energy efficient and expensive option for spoiled child. Tesla niche is high efficiency high performance and high reliability they need to prove the concept of electric car. For FWD dont even think of it no real performance car use it simply go discuss about it on ferari or porsche forum if you want to waste your time. Where i live we receive more snow in a year than most of you can see in a life i drive limited slip rwd on it not because its the best i choose it because its more efficient less expensive and more reliable simply cannot pay for more maintenance more electronic and more fuel. awd can be good for future but priority number 5673.

PeterTenev | January 23, 2011

That mean - i'll pass next models...
Because i want when get a ride - to feel stable (to control the situation) ! Period.

p.s. "There's no striving that goes in vain" Confucius
Which means, no matter where i write or speak to - the main issue of today's that cars are still going limped out of the factories.

Vawlkus | January 24, 2011

I have driven AWD Peter. It gives damn little in terms of control. 2WD be it front OR rear is all you need unless you're driving off road. For close to 20 years I've been driving in snow and ice, and I've never needed AWD to get to where I wanted to go, even with 4 foot snow drifts on the ground. My brother-in-law drives a 4 wheel drive, and he's loaned it to me before. It was no better than ANY 2WD car I've driven.

Keep saying it all you want, AWD is nothing more than a gimmick unless you're going off-road.

Ramon123 | January 24, 2011

If Tesla spokesmen said 4WD would be a "future option" then
maybe it will be. Or possibly he was simply stating the design plan, at that time, and the design plan has changed. I also have the feeling that Tesla didn't want to add more expense and also, perhaps as important, didn't want to have to fiddle with another system while they're trying to get their car up and running and thru all the Fed safety testing. I seem to recall Fisker originally claiming that his Karma would be 4WD and use in-wheel electric motors, but now the specs say it will have rear wheel drive and two electric motors. And nothing about them being inside the wheels.

joesontesla | January 24, 2011

RWD tesla electric car are safer than any other car. not only for people inside the car but for all american, all people and all what can live on this planet. If Confucius had a car i think he choose a tesla.

Roblab | January 24, 2011

Model S is RWD. If you are so in love with AWD Audi, or FWD Honda or Toyota, or old BMW, or wonderful 4WD Jeep, Please, keep on driving what you like. I have not seen a better system than the RWD with TC on the S. But, I want you to be happy. Not everyone is able to handle an EV.

ChristianG | January 25, 2011

Please don't diss people just because they have other tastes in car features than the Model S will have. How the Model S will handle in snow is still to be proven, BUT giving the reviews from the roadsters show that the changes are good that it also will behave well on snow.

As Tesla plans other vehicles with the same base as the Model S a AWD is not out of question in a few years. Just now I guess RWD is the only thing we'll get.

PeterTenev | January 25, 2011

Let me brush up you minds guys :D
Here it is -
That's a gift to the guy with RWD (which in fact has proven as the most incontrollable drive layot EVER!)
And this is for everyone else (who are so reluctant to forget the Truth) -

Enjoy the music !
p.s. I'm not a swellhead Audi fen. I just bought an Audi_A4 2 yrs ago (with over 15 yrs of driving soap-boxes), and after couple of situations (from which no 2WD car woudn't survive or escape) i can guarantee with my Honor - that no two-wheel-drive could compare even in 1/10-th of 4WD !
This system is not only for winter (not ice!), mountain, desert but aslo for open roads. Only those who haven't a chance to drive 4WD (AWD or Quattro) can talk absurds. Please - never underestimate what you don't know, and most of all - NEVER FORGET THE HISTORY !!! ...coz you d'nt make next step(s)... , as we all see it here. You're gazing somewhere in front, but you don't know where (or what) to look at ? Crazy isn't it ?
You're so shy to make next step, to choose the Right Direction, that if you see yourselves from aside - you'd be amazed. How is that possible ?
Well, it is, because you don't allow the Truth to appear, to rise.

When you become brave enough, you'll get the idea ;)
Cheers !

Volker.Berlin | January 25, 2011


joesontesla | January 25, 2011

Who go to work here @150 mph on the desert or on snow with fire on exaust tip.

Vawlkus | January 25, 2011

If you wanna advertise for an Audi Peter, you're on the wrong site.

You bring your AWD to my neightbourhood, and I'll drive rings around it when you get stuck and I don't.

joesontesla | January 25, 2011

i dont think awd gaz car are faster and efficient in this realistic environement - oups i forgot audi can roll on vertical wall sorry.

qwk | January 25, 2011

I don't understand why some people whine about not having AWD. If you like AWD so much buy a car that has it, don't come on a website that sells RWD cars and complain while trying to convince people that AWD is a necessity.

Nobody can manufacture a car that pleases everybody on the planet. That's why we have variety and many different manufacturers.

msiano17 | January 25, 2011

why even argue about car traction and stability until we can test drive the car ... its built unlike any other vehicle with its low center of gravity .. wait until its built to debate

plus Peter .. its a Tesla Model S forum .. if your not advocating it or debating positively about it, why are you on here? go back with Das Auto and enjoy

PeterTenev | January 26, 2011

:D Well, well...
Finally some movement here. Hmmm... Perhaps if someone else come and start sharing different view here, this forum WILL surely become a colorful place.
Don't you see that when you have something to compare with, only then you could enrich the environment, the technology, yourselves.
As i told you - i'm not a frantic fan. Don't even like Audi's shape (especially from 80 - 90's), but - after so many situations (not like this one in L.A.), this drivetrain layout showed amazing performance in so difficult circumstances that many of you wouldn't even imagine to escape !
And if you consider this sentance as a Commercial, then i realy have to think over my visit here.
If you really have problems (like "rush hour" traffic) and they are totally consumed your attention - then Ok, you have the right to focus ONLY on that issue. But if you experience some OTHER level of transportation difficulty (except polution) - then you have to admit that True-Automotive-Technologies are still ahead - way ahead from today's blur.

Take my writings as a different glimpse, nothing more.
Amen :)

p.s. "Nobody can manufacture a car that pleases everybody on the planet. That's why we have variety and many different manufacturers."
...and that's why so many young ppl die each year from RWD, after long striving to handle the oversteer!
And nobody talks about "pleasing everybody" - mass madia made the irretrievable damage over ppls's mind !
But here i'm talking about "pleasing the basic physical laws". Coz when someone dies, most of you don't take it personaly, m ?
But when someone start showing you the flaws in the circumstances that caused the crash - then (as we see), most of you jump like a kangaroo ?
Immature isn't it ?

PeterTenev | January 26, 2011

...and i'm not here to proclame any model vehicle, just want to see you guys - how you manage with future tech. As we all see - muscular power, became INCONTROLLABLE (!), then "Power without control is nothing" slogan appear... then 4WD. That's all.
Those who doesn't see this natural path - it's ready to wake up !
'Coz human's life is many-thousands times more valuable than the greatest most efficient modern technology, and that'll be forever and ever in the future...

Timo | January 26, 2011

I thought that only religious fanatics I need to be careful of are those that worship some god, now I think I need to include car drivetrains in the lot.

PeterTenev | January 26, 2011

Don't worry man, from now on i'll only read... "aphorisms" in this theme. You may start !

ChristianG | January 26, 2011

Well I don't have any experience with rwd or awd. Only that I thought the main difference was that AWD has more grip on slippery roads.. but well. I do what everybody does with no clue.. he posts a wiki link:

I don't really see a connection to RWD to the death of young poeple.. however I do see the connection of young people, fast cars, and driving too fast. If you drive to fast, chances are allways there that you can't react on time. And mostly those situations needs the care to stop or evade an obtect in time.. With both situations I think EBS and ABS and whatever are far more important factors than AWD or RWD.

But then I might simplify this a bit...

Timo | January 26, 2011

AWD doesn't have more grip on slippery road. Only difference between 4WD and 2WD is that 4WD applies power to the road from four points, and 2WD applies it at two points. That's all. In roads pretty much only place where you see that difference in practice is slippery incline. In other places difference depends on TC of the car (if there is any).

qwk | January 26, 2011

If you vary your speed according to road conditions, you will not have a problem.

The problem is the morons in AWD vehicles who think that their vehicle is far superior in slippery conditions, and drive too fast.

joesontesla | January 26, 2011

dont forget tesla is a very small company. are you interested to buy one PeterTenev ? w awd in it ?

Roblab | January 26, 2011

Remember, Tesla has Traction Control. No spinout possible with RWD and Traction Control.
My daughter died from falling asleep while driving. I can't see how RWD affected that.