Colorado/Rocky Mountains Options

Colorado/Rocky Mountains Options

A twist on what a lot of us are struggling with and I'd like your thoughts...

What are my Colorado friends ordering with their Model 3s? I like to drive from Denver into the mountains pretty regularly, so AWD is the traditional wisdom for those snowy ascents, but I'm hearing a lot of good things about EV RWD performance in the winter.

As for the battery size, I've read you can lose up to 50% efficiency when the temp gets down to near 0F, which suggests I might NEED that extended range in the cold weather.


matt80206 | 9 août 2017

I was planning on getting RWD and placing snow tires on, however talking to some RWD owners of Model S here in the state say that its only good for moderate snow, not heavy snow (I am thinking like 3 inch or less). So now like you confused. (4k loss rebate is huge) Not to mention AWD will probably cost another 5k, which puts it at 64k maybe? Anyone else??

COrich | 9 août 2017

We have a model 3 reservation that we are planning on converting to an order for the first production units. The estimate for us is sometime in the 4th qtr of this this year. We decided on one of the first production models becaues my wife willl be using this to get from Monument to the northwest side of Denver and then do a bunch of errand running and then return home the next day or 2 later (going up to help with the grand kids). She does not have easy access to charging while she is up there so we decided on the long range version.

There are several superchargers along the I70 corridor through the ski areas. More are planned such as one in Estes Park. The first supercharger outside Denver is in Silverthorne. The next one is in Glennwood Springs.

There is one planned for Aspen and another in Estes Park.

The southern mountains are a different story right now. These are still better accessed with an ICE.

We had to consider the same things when ordering our X. 75D vs 90D. We opted for the more range of the 90D so that we could take it into the mountains without worring about the battery charge.

As far as AWD goes:

A good set of winter tires is much less expensive than all-wheel drive (you should still have a good set of winter tires). Just remember that the vast majority of cars in CO are still either front or rear wheel drive. Most cars don't have the option for all-wheel drive. But, that said, you might want to wait for AWD since your use could justify the additional cost.

rebellion787 | 9 août 2017

Planning on RWD to get the full tax credit. I have a jeep for any heavy snowfall we may get during the winter. The eventual plan will be to trade the 3 and the jeep in for an AWD model Y when that is released. I figured the tax credit will help with depreciation and I can get the Tesla experience that much sooner!

garyrandwilliams | 9 août 2017

The family S has has some issues with deeper snow. (High snow drifts are an issue with the cameras) As my husband and I live within 15 minutes of work, we are getting the first available 3. However, we are also going to keep our Subaru for snow storms and skiing.

suinn | 9 août 2017

I currently have a S85D and so I can wait for the AWD Model 3, although I do wish it would ship sooner. I'm hoping there will be at least a partial tax break by that time. I do plan on getting the larger battery.

AWD versus RWD for driving in winter is constantly debated. Seems like the general consensus is that:
1. AWD with snow tires (best)
2. RWD with snow tires
3. AWD with all seasons
4. RWD with all seasons

AWD does get you a bit more of a driving range and it does help you when Chain Law is in effect (RWD with chains or AWD).

As for driving in the mountains during the winter, it depends more on the altitude change, temperatures, head winds, and how big is the Tesla battery. You can use to get an idea of how much charge you will use. It takes into account altitude and temperatures. Initially I was worried about driving to a ski resort, but now I don't worry at all. There are a bunch of Level 2 chargers in Idaho Springs and theres a supercharger in Silverthorne in case something really goes wrong. Any cars with AWD helps you get going in snow/ice, but it does not help in every situation, especially if you are trying to brake on ice.

12Brent | 9 août 2017

I've posted about this on several AWD threads, but here it is again. I also wanted dual motors but when I saw the timelines I decided that I'd skip AWD and get the bigger battery. This way I get way more range, a quicker car, and I get the car sooner with the full tax credit. By my reasoning, cost wise it will be close to a wash after accounting for reduced federal tax credit and dual motor costs.

I strongly believe that tires are more important than AWD. There is plenty of information showing snow tires on 2-wheel drive is better than all season tires on AWD. You can get snow tires and swap them out in the spring and fall. I did this for 7 years with a manual transmission rear wheel drive Lexus is300. I took that car snowboarding in the Colorado mountains on a regular basis and I never got stuck (I even drove it over Berthoud Pass in a blizzard where they closed the road while I was on it). Snow tires are amazing. Without them I couldn't get over a highway overpass in a couple inches of snow in my Lexus and the Model 3 should be way better because of electric transmission, weight, and center of gravity. You can also get a set of chains just in case it gets really crazy... I did this and I never used them but they'll give you piece of mind. Remember what's important, accelerating or decelerating... AWD will get you going but it won't help you stop. Snow tires will.

matt80206 | 11 août 2017

I just want to say its awesome sauce seeing posters from CO...

12Brent | 11 août 2017

We're we all standing in line together at Park Meadows? I was so irritated that day because I called ahead to get details and the salesperson told me to line up at the wrong entrance. I went from thinking I was 5th in line to being 40th, or so... and standing in the light snow storm until the mall opened. Taking the day off to reserve a model 3 that day was one of the better long term decisions I've made. If you all wait for AWD you can come visit me and be jealous of my LR Model 3 with premium package. :)

rstrouts | 11 août 2017

Along with the concerns mentioned above, what about resale value with RWD here in Colorado?

At the moment, I'm going with the first production LR RWD (Jan/Mar 2018) and will get snow tires and chains because, simply put, I just can't wait until Sept/Nov 2018 (half hour after 3/31/16 reveal) plus get likely half rather than full Fed credit. I just wonder if the RWD factor depreciation is less or more than the Fed credit.

Plus I just can't wait... x infinity! :)

TRC | 11 août 2017

Thanks for all your responses guys! I agree with @matt80206, love to see CO representing =)

I'm feeling a lot more confident about RWD with snow tires because of this thread, some others on reddit, and more online research. I currently drive an AWD Pontiac with All season tires and feel pretty confident in the snow (grew up driving the thing in upstate NY and New England). From what I've gathered, I should feel even more confident with a Tesla RWD with snow tires. If cost were no matter, I would be buying a MS. As cost does factor into it, might as well grab that sweet, sweet rebate from Uncle Sam.

The battery seems like the big winter issue. Making it up those mountains in the cold is going to kill my range, so I've read. Seems like first production is the way to go!

John.cookiv | 23 août 2017

Glad I found this thread! I'm struggling with the same issue. We currently have a old Ford Escape (AWD), that serves as our ski and road trip car and a 2015 FIAT 500e (EV, bought used off lease). Debating whether we can sell the Escape and go full electric (with the LR battery) as the Escape is showing its age. Biggest concern is being able to get into the mountains in a snow storm. But I think we would be fine with snow tires, and chains in the frunk. Also hoping that the TM3 roof rack is released soon.

FYI, the 500e is a great city car (and completely sold my wife on EVs), but I can attest that EV range in the cold dips 20-25% from the rated range (freezing temps in the FIAT gives a range of 65 miles v. 87 rated and 100 best case, in city driving @ 75 degrees F). Range on the LR TM3 shouldn't be an issue, as it's less than 100 miles from Denver to Vail, so even losing 25% it should go over 200 miles. Worst case scenario, there is the Silverthorne supercharger and some over level 2 chargers in Idaho Springs.