Here’s How A Tesla Model 3 Actually Fares In The Winter

NOV 19 2018 BY STEVEN LOVEDAY 27

We’ve heard the Tesla Model 3 fares well in winter conditions, but may not be the best choice for a cold-weather car. Here’s another look.

Many of you may know, depending on where you live, that winter has set in early in many areas. It’s as if the fall season never really happened. We went from the heat of summer to winter weather advisories seemingly overnight. Winter weather is a hot topic for EV owners, as well as those that are considering buying an electric car. YouTuber Andy Slye fills us in on how his Tesla Model 3 is faring in the cold weather thus far.

Andy points out that it’s important for people to understand that EVs will have less range in cold weather. His efficiency is currently at 270 Wh/mile, which means he’ll lose about 15 miles of range if he keeps driving the same way in the same conditions. While gas cars also have less range in cold weather, they’re not impacted as much, and most ICE cars have a longer range than most EVs. For this reason, Andy says if you live in an area that experiences cold temperatures, try to buy an electric vehicle with the longest range possible.

Aside from range, Andy is impressed with how well the Model 3 handles in the snow. It’s important to note that he’s driving a rear-wheel-drive Model 3 with stock tires (not winter tires). In terms of the complaints about frozen door handles and windows, Andy says he really doesn’t believe that the Model 3 is a bad winter car and points out that these are common issues in many cars. Cold weather is just not friendly to our vehicles and having things freeze up can happen to anyone with any car.

Do you own a Model 3? Have you driven the car in cold weather? Share your thoughts and insight with us and our readers in the comment section below.

Video Description via Andy Slye on YouTube:

How a Tesla Model 3 ACTUALLY Handles Winter

Here’s how my Tesla Model 3 handled its first ever winter weather conditions (subzero temperature, freezing rain, snow, sleet)

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27 Comments on "Here’s How A Tesla Model 3 Actually Fares In The Winter"

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I understand that “feels like” 19F is cold for a lot of people, but if there isn’t icicles hanging from your mustache, its not “really cold” 🙂

I really hate people using wind chill as a proxy for actual temperature, ESPECIALLY when talking about how a machine works. They aren’t affected by wind chill so actual temperature should be used.

Go to reddit and check out what driving through slush does to the underbody panels and the bumper covers.

Yeah, downvote me all you like deep down you know that this will be addressed by Tesla in the next couple of weeks.

My understanding is Tesla’s skateboard battery design means there are comparatively few things to go wrong with the underbody. I’ve had underbody panels rust and fall out with other vehicles, but if most of the underbody in a Tesla is a single piece of metal, it seems like it wouldn’t cause any problems.

Actually it is resin infused cardboard or some othe fibre based materials used to make the car more aerodynamic. The slush gets sprayed under it until it is heavy enough to rip a few clips off.

Claiming that the bottom panel is “cardboard” rather clearly demonstrates your bias and destroys your credibility. You might want to hold off on such claims if you want to be taken seriously.

What is it made from? On my BMW it is something like cardboard. Perfectly suitable material. The resin makes it weatherproof. It is light and paper pulp is cheap and sort of sustainable. Those parts only have to carry their own weight and guide the air.

The fiber board is the material the lines the wheel wells, not the under-body.

Do Not Read Between The Lines

My current cars’ door handles have never frozen and they are 5 and 9 years old.
Several years ago we had an old Sable wagon that I had trouble the rear hatch one winter day, but that had problems anyway.

BEV range at highway speeds can take a really big hit in cold temperatures. Not only is a lot of power required to heat the car but the cold dense air requires more energy to push the car through. Car and Driver tested a LR RWD model 3 at a steady 75MPH in 25 degree F weather and achieved about 200 miles of range. If I lived somewhere with real winters and needed to take road trips I would have either kept my Volt until 400+ mile BEVs are available or rented an ICE vehicle for long road trips in <30 degree F weather. But, here in Austin the model 3 handles our "winters" just fine.

BEV’s are not ready for mass market use yet outside of warm weather conditions for local driving only. Personally, I never think the tech is going to get there. I think that we need to change the way that our transit infostructure works, in the long run, combining Mass transit for long-range trips and then BEV’s for the last few miles.

I think you should go back to singing.

So every time I drive our Model X to Tahoe in storm conditions, that’s not really happening? Silly me.

I drove 700 miles from Northern California to Phoenix, AZ in June and had no issues whatsoever. Actually I wish I could go back to the Arizona 110 degree weather, I’m much better suited for it than our mild winters of 30s low/60s high…

Tell the Norwegians — they seem to have it gotten all wrong…

Ron Swanson's Mustache

Public transportation is gross.

Solution is to drive 65 mph. Probably get 260 miles then. Increased speed also cools the cabin quicker further encouraging range loss. Not to mention the 3 lr only gets 290 at 75 in normal conditions anyways.

So it loses around 1/3 of it’s range in relatively warm winter conditions. And while reducing your speed is fine, it does increase the time it takes to get to a destination.

The cold is still a big issue for many unfortunately.

Yes but lower battery prices and higher energy density will solve the issue eventually by permitting economical batteries of 200kWh or more. Until then, I know the BEV Puristas hate it but PHEV is a great option for people who need to make long highway trips in very cold weather.

I am curious if the decrease in range in the winter is at all related to batteries in cold weather. Obviously requiring cabin heating will consume battery as well as more power being required to move on icy surfaces, denser air, etc, but I have heard people talk about the battery itself not being as good in the cold. I think this conjecture is false because the batteries are self heating and after operating for a while, will heat up to optimum temperatures so the batteries should be able to access their total capacity. Some people forget that batteries have internal resistance and so even if it’s minus whatever celcius outside, that’s not necessarily the temperature the batteries feel.

The heating up process itself consumes considerable energy… Though on longer trips that should be less relevant.

Frameless windows, at least those that automatically roll down slightly when the door’s opened, are bad for cold weather, period. If your window’s frozen shut so is your door, if it’s partially but not entirely frozen you’ve just busted a window regulator. Frameless windows that don’t automatically roll down when opened and up when closed have somewhat worsened wind noise at high speeds, because the window isn’t held inside of as tight of a groove in the weather stripping, but may represent the only viable solution for economy car customers in cold climates. Remote start could warm up the window enough that the regulator won’t be broken as the motor tries and fails to pull it down, but the car would have to be left running for longer than current state laws allow. For good reason, you don’t want to emit extra pollution or for tight spaces to end up with increased carbon monoxide levels, but exemptions will have to be carved for electric cars, since there’s no safety or environmental concern there. That’s never going to happen, irrational paranoia of people who are too stupid to understand that electric cars don’t emit carbon dioxide will vote out any government… Read more »

Mercedes uses some sort of felt or something on the contact surface of the window with the seal. It must have some hydrophobic coating and it will not allow the window to freeze shut.
Those problems are solvable but it costs a fiver here and there in parts.

The Model 3 does not have conventional fuses, instead the 12V circuits are switched with a MOSFET by the body controller. Short circuit protection is accomplished by sensing over current and switching off the power to the faulty circuit. It would be simple to sense a locked motor (it draws more current) and turn it off or limit its power to avoid damage to the window mechanism. I don’t know that the Model 3 actually does this for the window motors specifically, but once you commit to full computer control of everything it’s pretty common.

I also own a long-range RWD on stock tires. It has handled well on snow and ice so far. I have noticed the reduced efficiency, but it hasn’t been an issue. The two things that have been a little troublesome with ice are the frameless windows and windshield wipers that sit below the hood. The windows stick and could stress the motors, as they lower 1/2 to 3/4″ each time the doors open. The location of wipers prevent you from being able to raise them up to keep them from icing over. Being able to turn on the heater and defrosters remotely helps a bit with this though.

My windows haven’t froze … yet. My door handles have, and also won’t fully shut on their own sometimes. When you get snow/ice on the charge port cover, it wont shut either. So you have to use your hands and clear any snow/ice before you unplug. I agree about the wipers too. You have to put them in service mode to get to them, which seems like an annoying step.

For the most part, my all season tires in my RWD are doing OK, although it did pull off an amazing fish-tail the other day. It doesn’t take much of a tap on the accelerator to break the back end free. Hopefully this isn’t a common occurrence.

What a biased and unprofessional ‘testimony’ by a salesman. Unprofessional and even misleading information under clearly not hazardous conditions. I’d like to see the RWD Model 3 version tackle my driveway in snow. Guaranteed my FWD grill out handle it. Don’t think in an area with real winter all season tires are sufficient unless you want a real chance of dying or killing someone else. Insideev’s REALLY needs unbiased and informative reviews. This ain’t it!