Do I Need AWD?

Do I Need AWD?

The new Model 3 page is up, and it shows the estimated delivery dates for different available configurations. I can get the 310 mile range as early as this coming March! I wasn't expecting it that soon. That, however, is the RWD model. If there are any current Tesla owners out there that live in a similar climate range as I do, I would greatly appreciate your feedback.

I live in the Louisville, KY area. We can have a wide range of winter-type weather. Every 3-5 years we might get a snowfall in the range of 12-18 inches, but mostly we have a couple days a winter where we get 1-3 inches (last year we barely got a dusting the whole season??).

I know Teslas have a much lower CG that is fairly evenly distributed due to the battery pack supplying even weight along the bottom of the vehicle.

If you live in the Ohio Valley (or anywhere in the Midwest, really), do you currently own a Model S? Is it RWD? How does it handle the snow and ice?

Again, any feedback is appreciated.


PhillyGal | 29 juli 2017

No, you definitely do not.

First off, if you do get 12" of snow, you know very well your town/state will shut down. Second, the RWD Model S handles pretty spectacularly in a bit of snow. I live in Philly. It's not the snowiest place in the world but a darn lot more than KY and I won't be getting the AWD. I also know an early MS adopter with well over 100,000 miles on his RWD Model S who lives in WYOMING and still hasn't found it necessary to upgrade to the AWD. He's the current record holder for most supercharger locations visited so when I saw he's been everywhere in his Model S, believe it!

PhillyGal | 29 juli 2017

For context, I also own a RWD Hyundai Genesis Coupe and will not drive it if there is one single flake of snow. My palms get sweaty just thinking about it.
In my Model S however, I accidentally accelerated down a hill on ice once. The car snapped back into place before I even realized I was slipping.

Picture this - you stub your toe. You know it will hurt but there will be a lag bc the pain signals have to travel all the way to your brain. Most (all?) new cars today come with traction control. But if you slip, the signal has to go through the transmission system to react. In a Tesla, the reaction is instant. It's truly amazing. Plus low GC, heavy battery. Drive with caution of course. Slow and steady, leaving adequate room. (I wish SUV and pickup truck drivers around here followed that rule in the snow.)

Innkeep | 29 juli 2017

I think, all things being equal, the few times that you get lots of snow you will appreciate AWD. I have gotten stuck in 3" of snow with all weather tires and RWD. Bought snow tires for the next 2 winters but we didn't get enough snow to see how much better they would work.
I'm in Central Indiana so we get a bit more snow than you would but I didn't like the hassle of changing and storing the snow tires. My new Tesla is AWD. There's also a bit more range. To each his own.

95dawg | 29 juli 2017

Technically, an electric motor can control power to the wheels 10x faster than mechanical ICE. Meaning when car TC (traction control) detects wheel spin and reduces power, EV motor can respond way faster than a mechanical engine.

This is why EVs are better in snow than ICE cars, even RWD M3. :)

jongiacalone9 | 29 juli 2017

Good info all around.


sosmerc | 29 juli 2017

I am beginning to think that AWD will not be offered on the Model 3. That feature may be standard on the Y as it is rumored to be a smaller version of the X. Makes sense, but I was really hoping for AWD on the 3. I won't buy one without that feature. I would consider Front Wheel Drive if that was offered.

TheChad | 29 juli 2017

I've been reading a lot about awd vs rwd this morning as I originally wanted awd. I was apprehensive about rwd because I currently drive a bmw325i and it is rear wheel drive. It sucks in the snow here in metro D.C. However, if you read a lot of the, especiall Norwegian, message boards about the Model S's rwd performance in snow it is amazing. I am now going to order the first available model 3 and expect to be happy with its performance in the winter. I almost equate the awd vs rwd question to the range anxiety one now. If you ask a lot of people that own a current Tesla they rarely need the larger battery they ordered.

Bighorn | 29 juli 2017

The Model S in RWD handles the Wyoming snow like a champ.

Model_D | 29 juli 2017

I prefer two wheel drive with the driven wheels being on the heavier end of the car (front engine-fwd or rear engine-rwd) over all wheel drive. I like the security of knowing that I can decelerate better than I can accelerate. With AWD one can make it up a steeper hill but may not be able to slow enough going down the other side. I have seen a few 4wd trucks in a ditch at the bottom of a hill on their way down. If it takes AWD to get your car on/up the road, you shouldn't be driving unless it is for a safety related reason. So for me a fwd car, an original VW bug or a model 3/S are the best snow vehicles unless there is a real good reason to drive.

warren_tran | 29 juli 2017

I want AWD option but can't wait for extra 1 year to get it. By that time, most tax credit would have expired also.

I'm hoping as they ramp production up, maybe tesla can update to have AWD option sooner maybe like summer of 2018.

carlk | 29 juli 2017

People in Norway have had RWD for years before AWD was available. Traction control in an EV is way better than any ICE car could do. You got the immediate electronic control instead the sluggish way of cutting fuel supplies.

CraigW | 29 juli 2017

TheChad, +1
Once you have driven a Tesla, neither range anxiety nor AWD are barriers to actively wanting to keep your car over any other - particularly ICE car on the road. The driving experience is simply different and no amount of talking can describe this.

kseehafer | 29 juli 2017

One other factor to consider is that the performance package, if there will be one, will only be available with AWD. After test driving a Model S with ludicrous mode, I can say that I don't need that speed, and most likely the higher insurance premiums that come with it.