Any update on Model S AWD availability?

Any update on Model S AWD availability?

I'm getting ready to replace my E550 and looking at acquiring an S550 but I'd rather buy a Model S but the only thing holding me back is the lack of AWD. I've heard rumors of AWD availability for the Model S in 2014 but nothing specific. I'm really tempted by the 2014 S550 redesign.

And yes, I know the Model X is coming but I prefer to purchase a regular car so Model S is what appeals to me.

And please save any discussions about RWD and snow tires because I'm not buying that. I've been there and done that and will never do that again. I need AWD and it is an absolute must for me. After my E550 with 4MATIC I'm completely sold on AWD.

soma | 10 september 2013

You are probably out of luck. I would be really surprised if they made such a fundamental change to the drivetrain.

LEvans | 10 september 2013

I thought the Model X has a similar drive-train and it has AWD...

Dramsey | 10 september 2013

I thought the Model X has a similar drive-train and it has AWD...

It does, but so what? Tesla's never even hinted at an AWD Model S. Like soma, I doubt we'll ever see one. If you look at the open chassis in most Tesla centers, you'll see that there's AC equipment and stuff that would have to be moved to make room for a front motor. The front trunk, one of the car's most appealing features, would almost certainly vanish to make room for a front motor.

soma | 10 september 2013

I guess the related question is, why would someone driving the Tesla need AWD? Isn't this a street/highway car that's not aimed at AWD-types of use?

toby_wan_kenoby | 10 september 2013

100% there will be an AWD Model S.
Every car company diversifies their line of products over time. Audi, BMW, Mercedes, Porsche ... every single one of them is making AWD versions of all of their models.

Tesla will be no exception.

The big question is TIMING. An there I agree with others that it will take some time. The clear focus is on the roadmap. Model S, Model X, Model E (GenIII)......
But at some time they will have some spare development capacity and it will go into diversification.

Model S AWD not before 2017 would be my guess.

Dramsey | 10 september 2013

Audi, BMW, Mercedes, Porsche ... every single one of them is making AWD versions of all of their models.

Um, no. Not even close. There is no AWS Mercedes SL or CLK, for example. BMW doesn't have an AWD 1-series, an AWD Z series, nor an AWD version of any M car.

Audi...OK, I'll give you that one.

jbunn | 10 september 2013

If AWD is a requirement, you will need to wait for the X.

PaceyWhitter | 10 september 2013


The Model X will be a street/highway SUV and it will have AWD available.


Since the MS and the MX both ride on the same platform, adding AWD to the MS would seem to be simple once the AWD MX comes out.

The only reason I can think that they would not is to distinguish the MS from the MX, but I wiould think the SUV bodystyle would do that.

kback | 10 september 2013

@soma - I suspect you don't live in an area with snowy winters. That's the main reason I would be interested in an AWD Model S.

However, there have been pretty good reviews of how the Model S handles in the snow on the 19 inch all season tires, and switching to winter tires reportedly makes a huge difference. That's my plan. There was no way I was letting the lack of AWD get in the way of owning this car. I've owned only AWD cars since my first Audi 15 years ago, but I have no regrets about buying the Model S. Then again, no snow yet...but I'm optimistic!

polyphase | 10 september 2013

This reply might be along the lines of justifying the status quo, but have you considered how differently the MS handles with the low center of gravity? I can't speak to it personally yet but I am moving from an Infinity FX with AWD and am looking forward to see how the MS handles the NJ winter.

kamingcheng | 10 september 2013

FWIW, my Infiniti FX with AWD does not do particularly well in Boston snow either. I am crossing my fingers with the Model S.

thranx | 10 september 2013

If it's good enough for Norweigian winters....

LEvans | 10 september 2013

Yes but I bet the Norwegians are better at clearing snow and sleet off their roads than the Northeastern states are, especially the DC/MD/VA area where I live.

I have had RWD cars before and event with snow tires I can't get up the driveway that is an at incline to get to my garage. With my E550 and 4MATIC it goes up that incline with no drama whatsoever and this on Conti DWS regular all season tires. I will never buy another daily driver without AWD.

Exotic SL models notwithstanding, about half of all Mercedes E and S class vehicles are sold without AWD and AWD is now standard across most AMG models. This is not happening because Mercedes is clueless it is because there is a demand and need for AWD. I don't want to buy a high-end vehicle and have traction issues in bad weather and most other buyers of this segment seem to feel the same based based on the high ratio of AWD sales.

As much as I like the Model S and was impressed with my test drive I'd rather have a S550 with 4MATIC than a rear wheel drive MS.

I just wanted to know if there was any possibility of AWD for the model S before I move forward with plans to replace my E550 with the redesigned 2014 S550 with 4MATIC.

jonlivesay | 10 september 2013

Call Tesla and ask them, sometimes they give out really cool news a little early. I wouldn't think they will get to AWD Model S until after Model X is out of the box. Need to reconfig their sled but definitely doable and X will be proving ground for it.

LEvans | 10 september 2013

Thanks I'll give them a call. The Model is is the future of the car and sooner or later I will buy one. Lac of AWD is a deal-breaker for me though.

kback | 10 september 2013

@Web_srfr - do some more research before making a decision. Many have posted about their experiences driving the Model S in snow. The low center of gravity reportedly makes a huge difference - it's not like any other RWD car. Use and search the Tesla Motors Club forum. I read a lot about this before buying. There are even some you-tube videos out there demonstrating how well the Model S handles in the snow. Many claim you don't even need snow tires, but I plan to add them and don't anticipate a problem.

This car is light years ahead of the Mercedes. Most who have switched from the S series say they'd never go back. AWD on old, ICE technology may not be better than this groundbreaking car. Keep an open mind.

soma | 10 september 2013

Not to try and squelch your enthusiasm, and of course feel perfectly free to offer them feedback. But also have a little humility about it (and of course you're just one person), but you realize that your wish is kind of asking them to fundamentally redesign and re-cost an entire platform?

It's not like you can just drop in another motor. Weight, balance, power requirements, battery life, space, crash testing, everything would be re-designed. And I'm sure we (or hopefully you) would be paying for those redesigns.

If it's a dealbreaker for you, it may have to end there.

Koz | 10 september 2013

It's not just a low center of gravity and weight that helps the S, but also the inherent advantages of traction control with electric drive. Tesla did a lot of testing and refining in cold weather climates to optimize the traction control for snowy/icy conditions. There is some video of testing and it is pretty impressive.

Koz | 10 september 2013

This is a good blog entry to check out for cold weather handling:

Andrzej1 | 10 september 2013

According to The Verge article the Tesla Model S AWD could come to market early in 2014. See here, .

As for the lack of space up front for a motor, I am quite confident that the Tesla Model S has a pair of wheels in the front in which case it could use Protean's in-wheel electric drive. Each wheel 's motor can produce up to 100 hp and 1000 newton-meters of torque and only weighing slightly over 30 kg. Interestingly enough it is scheduled to enter low-volume production early in 2014. I wonder which EV manufacturer could use such a product in early 2014? See here,

PaceyWhitter | 10 september 2013

I doubt space up front is that big of a concern.

Have you seen how small the electric motor is?

soma | 10 september 2013

I have a feeling that there might be a bit more than just measuring enough space to cram another motor in there....

LEvans | 10 september 2013

I appreciate the responses but I stand by my desire to ensure AWD is in my next car purchase. Having being burnt by RWD cars in the past due to adverse weather driveability I'll never buy another non AWD car to be used as a daily driver.

All that matters to me is that an S550 with 4MATIC will drive better in adverse weather than a RWD model S no matter how well they've tweaked the traction control of the MS. Last thing I want to do is buy a RWD MS to find out it will not go up my steep driveway in snow and have no way to charge it in the garange until the snow melts! I know my E550 handles that incline just fine with AWD but none of the RWD cars I've owned have been able to handle that incline and I've tried both Blizzak and Nokian winter tires.

It's really too bad that Mercedes does not make an all electric car similar to the Model S as after driving the MS, anything offered by Mercedes seems like ancient technology. The whole concept of driving a car that detonated fuel seems like from the era of steam locomotives! I wish the AWD situation is resolved by Tesla soon.

Whether some people on this forum agree with the need for AWD or not, the desire for AWD in the premium luxury segment in the US is very high. Tesla is leaving money on the table by not appealing to as much as possibly half of potential customers who'd otherwise consider buying a Tesla considering the fact that about half of what Mercedes sells is bought with 4MATIC.

I know right now Tesla resources are limited and there is a wait list but sooner or later to grow they are going to have to eat even more of Mercedes' lunch and they need AWD to do that.

I don't have to make my decision before early next year so I will keep an eye and see what happens with any AWD availability for the Model S in the coming months...

I already have an appointment for a follow up test drive of the MS and I'll inquire about AWD again when I stop by the DC Tesla shop.

GoTeslaChicago | 10 september 2013

Web srfr,

Since you have time to decide, perhaps you will be blessed with one of those snowy days that make it impossible for a RWD car to go up your driveway. Put out a call for Tesla owners to drive by your place and do the impossible.

If it turns out the way I expect, you may become a beliver in the Model S traction control!

Bighorn | 10 september 2013

My thoughts exactly.

cfOH | 10 september 2013

@WEB_SRFR: Hey, fellow AWD lover...I COMPLETELY understand your position on this. For the last 9 years, I was in love...LOVE...with my Subaru WRX STI, a 300HP, 300 ft-lb AWD pocket rocket that would reliably get me home from anywhere in the city no matter what kind of weather we were having. I would LITERALLY jump for joy when the snow started falling because it was, as I liked to call it, "Subaru weather!"

So when the Model S was announced, I immediately called Tesla to see if they planned on offering an AWD version. "No plans," they told me back in 2011. I then called them in 2012. "No plans," they said again. Then, in early 2013, I started reading the reports from people who had driven the Model S through snow. I was shocked -- SHOCKED! I tell you -- to read that it does really, really well. I'd never owned a car with traction control or stability control or any other of those digital nanny systems. My last RWD car, the one that convinced me to go AWD, was a Porsche. The night I had to drive my bleeding dog to the vet in a snowstorm and ended up backward on the highway convinced me I had had enough RWD.

Well, long story short (too late, I guess :-), this past June, I pulled the trigger on a P85+ despite it not having AWD. Our driveway is steeply angled (max allowed per building code) and, while I might be in trouble, I doubt it'll be much of a problem.

How often does it snow where you are?

Dramsey | 10 september 2013

AWD is now standard across most AMG models.

As far as I can tell, no current AMG Mercedes is available with AWD in the United States. AMG has announced the availability of AWD in a couple of models for 2014, such as the C class. But it will still be an option, and not standard.

In other words, your statement is completely wrong. In America, anyway.

But getting back to your main point: since there will be no AWD Model S any time soon, you obviously don't want the car.

LEvans | 10 september 2013

Dramsey writes...

As far as I can tell, no current AMG Mercedes is available with AWD in the United States. AMG has announced the availability of AWD in a couple of models for 2014, such as the C class. But it will still be an option, and not standard.

In other words, your statement is completely wrong. In America, anyway.

But getting back to your main point: since there will be no AWD Model S any time soon, you obviously don't want the car.

I didn't realize you are related to Elon or work for Tesla to definitely put this matter to rest by proclaiming that there will be no AWD Model any time soon. Since I'm not as connected as you and about to make a significant purchase I thought I'd ask on this forum about the status of AWD.

As for me "obviously not wanting the car," what kind of an idiotic statement is that?! Yes I have been following this forum for the last 6+ months because I have absolutely nothing to do with my time than waste my time learning about a car that I am supposedly not interested in according to you. You might want to ease off on the condescending BS when potential customers post forum messages seeking information about a car they are interested in. Who are you to question me about my sincerity when all I did was seek information about the car?

And as for you questioning my statement about AMG offering AWD across most of their model line, I'd like to direct you to the Web page referenced below. I might not know Tesla as well but I definite know Mercedes and their lineup as I'm a huge Mercedes enthusiast. I never thought the day would come any time soon when I'd look into acquiring a non-Mercedes vehicle as my daily driver but the MS test drive changed that. It is a testament to Tesla and Elon's vision that they've built a world class automobile right here in the US that is the best car you can buy at any price. I would simply want that with AWD.

Next time you might want to ease off on engaging in idiotic rebuttals for no reason so you don't end up looking like someone who has no idea what you are talking about. And I trust the following link will put to rest and reaffirm my statement about Mercedes including AWD in the AMG lineup.

Hopefully you will find something better to do with your time than question the sincerity of people who are genuinely interested in this car.

Dramsey | 10 september 2013

Hopefully you will find something better to do with your time than question the sincerity of people who are genuinely interested in this car.

Heavy sigh. I wasn't questioning your sincerity; I was questioning this specific statement you made:

AWD is now standard across most AMG models.

No, it's not. The only AMGs you can buy with AWD today are the various SUVs (which I admittedly overlooked). According to links from the Google query you posted, it will be an option on the C-series in 2014 and according to reports:

Going forward, virtually all of the performance division's products will come with standard all-wheel-drive.

Get it? You said "is now standard". It's not. It may be in the future. It's not now.

But you're right: I do need something better to do with my time than point out obvious things that anyone can ascertain with a 10-second Google search. So this is my last post on the subject.

Brian H | 11 september 2013

The videos kind of blur together, but it was IIRC somewhere in the OSLO event that Elon was asked about MS AWD and answered that it would likely be available late 2014. Not certain of the source, definitely recall the statement.

Brian H | 11 september 2013

The Verge article cited above says:
Coming off its first profitable quarter in company history, Tesla is preparing an all-wheel drive version of its popular Model S electric sedan, The Verge has learned from sources familiar with the situation. The new model could launch as soon as early 2014, and may initially be offered in an ultra-premium (and ultra-expensive) trim with performance equal to or better than the current "P85" drivetrain that delivers 0-60 mph in an impressive 4.2 seconds.
And notably, comments by Elon Musk made during Tesla's June shareholder meeting point to an all-wheel drive chassis hitting the market in the 2014-2015 time frame — Musk mentions the chassis separately from the Model X, suggesting that it could find its way into other vehicles.

rainman50 | 16 september 2013

I think some would like AWD for the performance increase. I'd bet the 0 to 60 would be improved. Also, I have seen other threads that stated that going up a snow covered hill was a problem with the Model S even with good snow tires.\

The new 2014 E and CLS AMG's class Mercedes are standard AWD in USA. They realized that AWD improved the performance even under no snow conditions.

Jolinar | 16 september 2013

I am very certain that Tesla will offer AWD for Model S. Timing is what matters...
However I've read more than few articles/topics/whatever that they are full at work on it, so I still believe Model S AWD will be sooner than Model X.

Roamer@AZ USA | 16 september 2013

The Frunk on the S already has the spot open for the front motor. That sguare hole at the back of the Frunk is exactly where the front drive motor on The X sits.

I assume the plan is to develop and test the X chassis and control software. Once that's done the cost to release a super S will be pretty low.

My bet is 12 months after first X delivery there will be an all wheel S.

Can you even imagine the acceleration available if you put front and rear performance drive motors in an S . Zero to 60 in 3.5 . Could be a true super car killer if it is done right.

cloroxbb | 16 september 2013

Isnt "performance" limited by the output of the battery? If the battery stays @85kwh, then having two motors doesn't really increase 0-60 performance as the same limit to power output would exist, right?

nomorebmws | 16 september 2013

I've had RWD BMWs for the past 10 years and live in New York. The key is snow tires (which you really should have with AWD anyway). The only real advantage of AWD is in accelerating on a slippery surface (especially an incline). Braking, turning and general road holding are more about the tires, weight distribution and ABS/stability control systems. I've never had the slightest hint of trouble. I imagine the MS would be ever better due to its higher weight, lower CoG and smoother power delivery.

Audi and Subaru were a bit too successful in marketing AWD, and now everyone in the Northeast seems to think they'll die unless their car is AWD. So please don't automatically dismiss the Model S (or any other car) due to it being RWD.

Jolinar | 16 september 2013

Yes, performance is limited by several factors... battery max output is one of them and probably the most critical during acceleration, so 2nd motor won't make better accleleration times. Except for slippery surfaces.

petochok | 16 september 2013

I'm still scratching my head on this one. If the car is able to lose traction and spin the tires on dry pavement with traction control off, then there is obviously room for traction improvement before hitting the battery max output limit. If power was distributed at a proper ratio between rear and front to take advantage of the available traction at the front wheels when most traction is needed (standing start), it should be possible to achieve a lower 0-60 acceleration time by diverting available power instead of cutting it. Popular advertising slogan is "From the wheels that slip, to the wheels that grip". The point is to take away just enough power from the rear wheels to not cause them to break traction (which is exactly what traction control does in the RWD configuration). Now imagine all that power taken away from the rear being sent to the front instead of not being put to any use at all.
Physics dictates that most weight will transfer to the rear during a hard launch, this is why I don't see the front motor being nearly as large or heavy as the rear one. Added weight of additional hardware would be no different that having a car optioned with the panoramic roof and jump seats vs. one without either option. I'm not saying a 0-60 of 3.5 would be achieved as a result of this. If I had to guess, I wouldn't expect anything better than two tenths worth of improvement from the current 0-60 time of 4.2 seconds.
Here's where it gets interesting though...if we follow the guideline of mentioned future hardware improvements for the car, we can assume that a higher capacity battery may become available soon after AWD is implemented (mid to late 2015?). The higher capacity battery will have a higher max output limit, and thus would allow for a greater current draw to produce the much needed additional power. Final acceleration improvement will depend largely on the capacity differences between today's and the future battery packs.

GDH | 16 september 2013

There will be an AWD Model S.

My guess is that they are probably working on it but want to sell current inventory first.

I would buy an AWD Model S in a heartbeat.

JHM | 16 september 2013

GDH, I'm not sure there's much inventory to sell off. Everything is made to order and sent to the buyer as quickly as possible. :) I'd like to see Tesla make AWD an option asap.

GDH | 16 september 2013

A salesperson from a Tesla store here in Portland told me there was lots of inventory of cars that could be ready in 5 days or less. To me that says that they have cars that they want to move quickly.

Brian H | 17 september 2013

The AWD motor and inverters may not be full size, or identical to the RWD model.

rocketscientist34563 | 17 september 2013

Here's a crazy idea...arrange a test drive of that drive way. Why not? They might go for it. The only thing keeping you from buying their car is you might now be able to get to the charging station in your garage. Tesla doesn't like road blocks and they like showing off. Could happen, you might want to go straight to Tesla corporate and not Tesla store.

Incredulocious | 4 oktober 2013

Another reason for AWD (besides potential improvements in handling and performance) is convenience. Namely, to avoid the serious hassle and inconvenience of putting on and taking off tire chains when chain control conditions are in effect – as we have on mountain highways in California.

I don't need the Model X and I do believe the Model S will be offered with AWD at some point. I bet they're already using Model S's with AWD for testing as they do development on the Model X – same platform after all.

I cancelled my early Model S reservation after the test drives and deciding it's just way too big a vehicle for my tastes, but the lure of AWD might well tempt me to get one after all (while waiting for the personally more ideally-sized Gen III vehicle).

GunnarB | 18 oktober 2013

Actually, when I signed up for a TMS i 2009, Tesla announced it would be available with AWD. I love my RWD TMS, but as a Norwegian, I would warmly welcome an AWD option..

Aleksandyr | 18 oktober 2013

One advantage to an AWD model s is that the regenerative braking would go through all four wheels and would stop the car faster as well as even out tire wear. I was told to leave the car in low regeneration to reduce rear tire wear. Had to replace tires in the rear at 9k. Of course this was multi-factorial, including alignment and camber. Just an interesting thought

petochok | 18 oktober 2013

@Brian H.

The AWD motor and inverters may not be full size, or identical to the RWD model."

If you mean smaller & lighter, then... my thoughts exactly!

The combination of the dual motors would share load duties, so having two smaller/lighter motors & inverters could still potentially yield improved performance results over the single full size unit utilized in the RWD model.

As far as speculation of AWD MS release time is concerned, one would think it'd make more sense to have it become available for order sometime towards the end of summer so most reservation holders are able to take delivery before the start of snow season. So if an AWD MS really is in the works, the real question is will it be available for order by mid 2014 or mid 2015?

David Trushin | 18 oktober 2013

Has anyone thought about the implications of having two motors on the range attainable? Both active and inactive motors need to be spinning at the same rate for a smooth transfer of motive force.