Anyone drive in snow yet?

Anyone drive in snow yet?

Anxiously waiting but as a New Englander, worried about the rear wheel drive. Anyone have real world driving experience in the snow?


drripps | 5 décembre 2012

I drove after about 2 inches of snow and no plowing on the roads yet. It handled perfectly. I was worried abou the weight of the car but regenerative breaking is surely an advantage in this situation. I had no issues at all and feel more confident about the winter ahead. I have 19" all season tires.

Joyrider | 5 décembre 2012

I think people forget front wheel drive cars track better in the snow because the engine is over the drive wheels. Well, the Model S engine is over the rear wheels, and the weight bias is in the rear of this car. So no reason not to believe it won't be as good as one can expect from a 2wd car in the snow.

Brian H | 5 décembre 2012

Plus almost magical TC, refined in the Roadster but probably even better.

pbrulott | 5 décembre 2012

Finally some real life snow driving info. thanks drripps. don't hesitate to send other info our way. TMS is a heavy car and wonder how the momentum of such a mass will drive on ice/snow

Timo | 5 décembre 2012

@Joyrider, it's not only the weight distribution, it's the fact that you have your steering wheels that drive the car. Rear wheels do not turn. There is a difference. With power it's a bit easier to drive front wheel drive car because you only need to control the front wheels, not the entire car (you just point the wheels where you want to go). A bit more skill and knowledge how your car acts in different conditions rear wheel becomes more fun, you turn the car pointing where you want it to point (which might not be where you are going).

You want your driving wheels keep grip always, front wheel drive or rear wheel drive, IMO slight oversteering is better than understeering. Problem with powerful rear wheel drive cars is that you easily get strong oversteering which just whips you around faster than you can react, and good weight distribution helps with that, not just 50/50 but where that mass is: best is that major mass is at middle of the car and little at the extremes, just like Model S has. Then the extremes don't get momentum to flip you around when/if you get a slide.

Also low center of gravity helps, in turns you don't lose grip from one side that easily.

(home lab test. Take something that weights a bit that you can put about 30cm stick thru, put those weights at the ends of the stick and turn it back and forth with you wrist holding the stick at the middle. Then put those weights at the middle of the stick and repeat the test).

Two inches is about 5 cm. I haven't driven any car that can't handle that, so that's not really a good test yet unless there is something more in the picture. What condition was the road below that snow? Was it icy? Were there tracks underneath? Hills or flat?

DTsea | 5 décembre 2012

Well, I saw the chains for Model S are only about $80 if you want more piece of mind. Here in hilly Seattle, where snow is rare and drivers freak out when they see white, I plan to keep my model S dry in the garage if it snows.... and drive my wife's Volvo to work that day!

DTsea | 5 décembre 2012

I mean peace of mind.

Brian H | 6 décembre 2012

Yeah, wouldn't it be nice to give someone a peace of your mind? Assuming you had some to spare! ;)

P85_Norway | 6 décembre 2012

I had a testdrive here i Norway yesterday, snow and slippery.
The car is great to drive, even in snow :-)

Brian H | 6 décembre 2012

Details, please!

Lasse | 8 décembre 2012

@P85_Norway: Tell us more! :-)

How was acceleration from stand still in these conditions? I'm a bit concerned about the huge torque at low speed. Was it equiped with studded or studless tires? Approx temp?

One of my biggest concernes is a 90 deg. turn followed by a 10-12 % incline.
I guess you don't have a good answer on my problem, but if you have a comparrison with any specific FWD or RWD it would be of great help. Handelig wise, I guess it would at least equal a BMW 5-series, but more info is of great interest.

KeithE | 8 décembre 2012

Has anyone driven the 21" inch wheels with summer tires in the snow or ice? I know it's not recommended but they are the best match for the S and here in NJ I think you an get away year round. Appreciate any feedback from those in th north east especially.

Timo | 8 décembre 2012

Summer tires in ice are bad news no matter what kind of vehicle you are driving. No amount of TC can correct slides with those.

One of my friends once drove all winter with summer tires. He said that to remember what kind of tires he has he did go to empty parking lot, did a small acceleration and pulled handbrake to get slide. After he saw the same building fifth time from the windshield he remembered. Braking distances are ten times (at least) what they are in summer. You need to slow down to crawl in any corners. You can't get up any hills (unless you have momentum).

Volker.Berlin | 10 décembre 2012

Here's a collection of related threads, in case you're interested:

P85_Norway | 11 décembre 2012


It was -14 Deg.C
The car was on studless 19" tesla weels.
The trac.control was working fine.
I currenly have a 2011 Mercedes E-class, and it is wery simmilar to drive in winter conditions.
It was only a short 15 min. drive, but it was nice.

dashrb | 11 décembre 2012


I agree.... In the Washington D.C. area, I had summer tires on my old MR2 (mid engine, RWD). They were horrible in the snow!! I used to get stuck on roads which were so flat that I didn't even realize it was a hill, until I couldn't climb it.

I then bought snow tires on an extra set of rims, and could never again find an unclimbable hill. The difference was night and day.

IMHO, for a few grand, it's worth the expense of buying the extra rims and swapping them out for December - March.

TC and weight distribution is nice, but the rubber is the most important factor, by far (IMHO).

Greg.Frankenfield | 12 décembre 2012

I am in Minneapolis. Have had my S signature perofmrnace for two weeks. I have been driving in some of the worst conditions we have had in Mpls in years. Had a 12” snowstorm Sunday, it was wet snow, temp dropped, got compacted to ice and we have had two days of gridlock with cars stuck on the slightest inclines and accidents everywhere. Salt doesn't work at these temps. I have been driving the S through this with little trouble. Slowly. But little trouble. And I don’t even have the snow tire options. Very impressive. Biggest problem as always is the other drives. Near misses at least three times made me want to park it more than the handling of the car.
For those that care, temperature was 1F, energy usage for 38.89 miles of driving was 24.6KWh for 631wh/mile. I was warm at toasty with seat heat at 1 and cabin temp at 68F.

mpottinger | 12 décembre 2012

I keep reading cabin heat really draws, but 631 wh/mi, seems high.

ronlitvak | 12 décembre 2012

A foot of snow compacted into ice - now there's the test we've been waiting for!

I don't assume much of the 631wh/mile was due to heating the cabin. In heavy snow conditions, the motor has to work much harder to maintain a speed - huge amount of added friction for the tires. Add to this the increased stop-and-go, increased slow-and-go and efficiency drops enormously. (And regen, while nice, cannot make up for the significant losses.)

Those of us who live in places with snow and have ever tracked this know that ICE cars experience a similarly huge reduction in MPG.

Theresa | 12 décembre 2012

From what I have seen it is not out of line with my experience in the cold. Some of the issues are that the regen is limited until the battery warms up, and that the initial warm up tends to draw a lot of power. Also since the car is so heavy in stop and go traffic like I would expect Greg to have been driving in it draws a significant amount of power to get moving. All of this adds to the high number.

Brian H | 12 décembre 2012

And those factors apply to any vehicle, ICE or EV.

KeithE | 12 décembre 2012

Greg, which wheels/ tires do you have on your performance S? 21" or 19". This is key to us trying to decide which to choose. Much appreciated!

Timo | 12 décembre 2012

Are there winter tires with 21" option? Tesla gear in their shop doesn't list 21" winter tires, only Nokian studded and Pirelli without.

Timo | 12 décembre 2012

...both 19 inch. (need edit)

Alex K | 13 décembre 2012

@Timo | DECEMBER 12, 2012: Are there winter tires with 21" option?

I don't think there are any manufacturers that make 21" winter (or even all season) tires in the size for a Tesla Model S.

Kevin Glassman | 13 décembre 2012

I drove the Model S with the stock 21" wheels and summer performance tires in a freak 8" snowfall in NY during the NorEaster that hit NY after Hurricane Sandy. No plows out, and the car handled very well.
No issues of slipping or sliding, and surprisingly stable. With almost 5000 lbs, and rear wheel weight from the motors, very good traction.
I've just switched out to 19" wheels with Bridgestone Blizzak dedicated snow's for the winter, and came back from Vermont, where I encountered some ice and freezing rain last week, and again no issues. Car handled great.
My choice for the Blizzak's vs. the Pirelli's offered in the winter package by Tesla. Most love these Bridgestone tires.