Winter is upon us in Northern California, and with all the lockdowns in California, many are wanting to get up to Tahoe and enjoy some outdoor recreation. Many customers ask, “Is the Tesla good in the snow?”
To answer that question, I’ll start with my definition of what makes a vehicle good in the snow.
A car needs to have weight distributed over the driving tires and maintain the weight low, to give it good traction. The Tesla batteries are centered in the vehicle and under the floor. This is ideal for lowering the majority of the weight and centering it in the vehicle to maximize traction.
Good Ground Clearance
In the snow you need good clearance to travel over the snow.
The model X has the most clearance of any Tesla with 8 inches of clearance. Then in order the model Y has 6.6 inches, the Model 3 has 5.5 inches, and finally the model S has 4.6 inches. While a true snow car, like the Subaru Outback, has a ground clearance of 8.7 inches, it may not be necessary to have all that clearance.
It comes down to what do you want out of your Tesla. If you are driving in some icy conditions, with minimal snow, all of these Tesla’s will have enough clearance. However, if you live in the snow and you can measure the snow in feet, the Tesla may not give you the clearance you need.
All-Wheel Drive Traction Control
In the snow you want to have 4-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. The added traction will make sure you get through the snow safely with good traction.
The dual motor Tesla digitally controls the torque to the wheels for a much better handling and traction control. The dual motor has one motor controlling the front and another controlling the rear. The dual motor along with the sophisticated electronic traction control gives you superior traction to just about any car on the road.
When you are talking about driving in the snow, there is little more important than having the right tires. Tires give you traction to steer and brake when you need to. Nothing is more unnerving than hitting the brakes and having nothing happen.
Tesla offers several different tires on their different models. None of these tires are considered a true winter tire. The all-season tire is the closest thing you will find to a snow rated tire. The all-season is considered by many a no season tire.
From my experience, they do ok if you are not driving in heavy storms. I’ve found that by the time I need full blown winter tires, the California Highway patrol requires chains anyway. If you are driving in the snow with any frequency, it is far safer to use winter tires.
So, to answer the question, “Is the Tesla good in the snow?” I say it does well in light snow and ice. If you need it in large amounts of snow you will have to change to winter tires.