How Does The Tesla Model 3 Handle Snow?

Hello everyone and welcome in this video. We are talking about how the Tesla Model 3 handles in the snow, and first off a huge thank you to Auto Tempest for sponsoring this video. I’ll get more into what Auto Tempest is at the end of the video but if you were in the market for a used car it is an awesome website! I use it all the time I will have a link in the video description for you guys to check it out. It really is a super helpful website that combines all the used major used car websites in one spot so you can search through all of them in one location and look for a great deal on a used car.

In this video we are talking about how the Tesla Model 3 handles in the snow. Fortunately the weather has blessed us this day with plenty of snow, so I’m sitting in just a little turn off right here that has about maybe four to five inches of snow in it and right off the bat so this is the Model 3 performance and right off the bat you know I am on winter tyres right now and there is no problem whatsoever just slowly navigating in this you know about 4 to 5 inches there’s no hesitation I don’t hear the brakes acting in order to you know send more torque to another wheel so you know it just very simply works and so this is the model 3 performance all-wheel drive on winter tires and so we’re gonna get out onto the road here which you know it’s got a little bit of ice right now it’s below freezing there’s a bit deeper there probably about seven to eight inches of snow traveling through and so there you can see the snow flying off all the tires so this road it is below freezing and there’s a good amount of ice on the road.

it’s actually not too deep in snow but there certainly is ice and so in this video I’m going to talk about you know three things that I think are the most important in order for a vehicle to handle well in the snow and as you might imagine tires will be number one the second thing will be all-wheel drive and then the third thing will be ground clearance and the story with tires with the Tesla Model 3 is actually pretty interesting because as you start to get into larger wheel sizes you start to reduce the number of options you have for winter tires so this is on the 20 inch performance wheels and so you’re quite restricted in what tires you can get now if you get the model three mid-range you can get 18-inch wheels or you can get 19-inch wheels and Tesla offers a winter tire package for any size wheel 18 19 or 20 there’s a reason I would suggest not going with what Tesla offers however so if you go with 18 inch wheels if you’re on the model 3 mid-range or the long-range all-wheel-drive then what you have is an 18 inch or 19 inch option.

Tesla sells a winter tire package for $2,000 with the 18 inch wheels with Pirelli Soto zero twos and then with the 19 inch wheels for $3500 Pirelli Soto zero threes here you can see this is basically just pure ice that we are on right now so the Soto zero threes are a better version of the Soto zero twos they have more performance in the dry in the wet and on snow and ice according to Pirelli so they’re better in every way then the Soto zero two which strangely is the Soto zero two is what you are offered if you have the model three performance with the performance calipers which means you can only fit the 20 inch wheels which come with Soto zero twos $4,000 for the option so to me that doesn’t seem justify four thousand dollars you have to buy the wheels and the tires together.

I asked Tesla if I could just buy the tires? They said no, so if you’re gonna buy it directly through Tesla then it’s four grand for the model three performance and that includes the tires which aren’t as good as the tires that come on the 19-inch wheels so that seemed a bit strange to me.  I didn’t want to pay four grand for new wheels and tires I have wheels I could just put different tires on them so I started looking around you know what is another option that I can do and you won’t find options if you’re just looking online so what I found is for the Porsche Cayman gt4

Michelin makes a tire specific for the Canadian market – the Alpine pa4 they make specifically for the Canadian market for the Porsche Cayman GT4 so the front tire size for the winter tires for the Cayman GT4 is 235 over 35 or 20 which is the exact sighs for the Tesla Model 3 performance and they have the exact same load rating so I called tire rack and asked them can I buy these tires they said yes they’re $300 apiece which performance tires with 20-inch wheels do start to get more expensive the lower the smaller the wheel size the cheaper the tires generally will end up costing you can see the rear end here kicks out a little bit every now and then and so tire rack will sell you these Michelin Alpine fours if you call them and they will ship from Canada so it’s a Canadian market Porsche specific tire that you can buy if you call them which is what I did got them put on these 20 inch wheels and here we are in the snow on them now.

Tire rack also offers performance data of these tires versus the Pirelli Soto zero threes and so that’s the better version that only comes on the 19-inch wheels if you were to buy them with the Tesla Model 3 and the Michelin Alpine fours do better than the Pirelli Soto zero threes in acceleration on snow and ice and braking on snow and ice and in lateral grip on snow and ice so they’re better in as far as snow driving is concerned which was my concern for the winter here they are better in all the performance categories you would want handling acceleration and braking so the outline four seemed like a great option for this vehicle it is made specifically for the Porsche but it has the same load rating so it works out just fine.

Now the interesting thing about these tires is that they are considered performance winter tyres so what they’re doing is they’re sacrificing a little bit of that winter grip they are still certified they’ve got the little mountain on the side of them they are great in snow but what they’re doing is they’re sacrificing a little bit of that snow and ice crypt to give you still good performance good response when it’s dry and wet and so they’re a bit of a compromise versus a dedicated studless winter tire but they’re generally made for performance vehicles like the Cayman gt4 so that you can get around in the snow if you need to and it just so happens that they work out for this Tesla Model 3 performance so you’ve got those narrow, very thin side profiles on the tire which generally with winter tires are going to have larger profiles and you know smaller wheels, and so when you get into performance oriented vehicles your options are reduced.

But they still want you to be able to maintain some of the driving characteristics of the performance vehicle even with those winter tires and one of the huge sacrifices you’ll notice driving with winter tires is the steering response they’re very mushy and these actually do feel quite different than the other winter tires I’ve driven on studless winter tires that aren’t performance oriented these have a much better turnin response you know you don’t have that kind of squirm enos that Machinist of the tire that you get with the more flexible dedicated studless winter tires

So enough about tires let’s move on to the all-wheel-drive system of course if you’re getting the mid-range it is rear-wheel drive only I did actually drive the mid-range very briefly on some light snow in the old seasons that it came with and I was surprised actually how well it did so I think if you’re just doing some city driving and perhaps there’s some light snow you might be ok with the stock all season tires that come with the car however if you know you’re going to be climbing up a mountain pass or something like this you’re gonna want to get that dedicated winter tire with the model 3 men range now once you get to the all-wheel drive of course you’ve got two motors and you are controlling independently the front axle and the rear axle now it’s an open differential in both the front in the rear meaning you always have a even torque split going to each wheel a lot of people get confused on open versus limited slip or lock differentials open differentials can only send the exact same amount of torque to both wheels.

it’s always a 50/50 split the trick that you can do which Tesla of course does is if you have one wheel spinning because it doesn’t have much grip let’s say one’s on ice the other is on snow the one with ice has less grip you can apply the brakes to that wheel that is on the ice and so in doing so you’re going to send more torque to both wheels but one of those is going to use the brakes to absorb that torque one of those will then be able to apply that torque to the ground and so that’s what Tesla does with their all wheel drive system and you might say that’s inferior.

My counter argument would be that pretty much every new McLaren the p1 the senna the 720’s these are you know 700 800 900 horsepower vehicles putting all that power down to just two wheels the rear axle with an open differential so if it works for McLaren on a track with these cars hitting zero to sixty you know well below three seconds if it works for McLaren then surely it can work in an all-wheel-drive system with two open differentials now I was trying to come up with an idea so that you know from a non electric standpoint from an internal combustion engine standpoint what is this all-wheel drive system similar to and and how it works it’s it’s very different from an internal combustion engine but from a capability standpoint it’s quite similar to having a four-wheel drive truck which has a transfer case which locks the center and the reason I say that is when you have a four-wheel drive truck that locks the center you can send that power to either the front or the rear axle whichever has more grip that’s where the power will go and Tesla will do the same thing there’s independent motors so it will send that the torque to whichever axle has the grip in order to put it down the difference being that it can independently do so so with that truck with four-wheel drive you know let’s say the front has less traction.

it’s going to send more torque to the rear wheel and generally speaking you know a lot of these trucks with this four-wheel drive selectable transfer case you’ll still have open differentials front and rear some of them will have a locking rear differential but very similar to a truck with a transfer case with open differentials front and rear as far as the capability of it now there are some advantages that Tesla has because as I mentioned you’re independently controlling where that torque is sent and so let’s say for example you’re accelerating around a corner and the rear end starts to kick out if you were in a four-wheel-drive truck and you continue to apply throttle it would still apply throttle to those rear wheels even though they had limited traction they’re still going to get some torque and as a result you’re going to continue to oversteer if you were to do the same in a Tesla Model 3 all-wheel drive from a capability standpoint what it can do is let’s say that rear-end starts stepping out well it can just kill torque completely only to the rear axle and use that front axle to continue to pull you in your desired path so ideally when you start to slide you want to let off the throttle and let the regain traction but you have a unique advantage here with the Tesla where you can apply that torque to just the axle that has the ability to put it down so just kind of playing with it here and giving it far more throttle that it can put down.

it’s actually very clever and sorting out where do I put that torque which is pretty impressive so going around the corner here faster than I should be we’ll take it slow because we don’t know what’s on the other side you can feel the rear end fighting for traction it steps out it corrects itself it steps out of corrects itself so you can feel the computers working out where to apply torque what to do with it and as a result it’s actually quite cool how well it is able to put that torque down and still accelerate and still keep you in your intended path now the final aspect we’ve got the tires we’ve got the all wheel drive system independently controlled and then you can use the brakes to send more torque to wheels which have more traction and then finally we land on ground clearance and so ground clearance is you know you need tires and you need all-wheel drive if you want to do really well in snow but if you don’t have ground clearance then that just simply impacts how deep of snow can you actually get through before you’re just gonna high center your vehicle and just be stuck in the snow so a small advantage would go to the model 3 all-wheel drive non performance because it has 140 millimeters of ground clearance inches versus the model 3 performance which is slightly lowered 1 centimeter it’s at 130 millimeters ground clearance for about inches so what is it like actually driving this thing on this quite slick surface you know the steering is actually surprisingly good which I’m surprised by,

A lot of times winter tires you just don’t get great feedback from there just kind of squirming and you don’t feel a whole lot of control but they work you know you you go the intended path these you actually have a bit more response from which is pretty cool to have on the snow also I mean the all-wheel-drive system when you’re trying to put down torque it doesn’t well and you’ll see the traction light flash on saying it’s figuring out where to send that torque the traction control light but but overall it’s able to do it and so you know acceleration wise I mean this thing moves quite good even in these terrible conditions here now you can also look at the regen and regen will be limited depending on temperature so if it’s really cold outside and your battery pack is really cold you’ll have less regen than if your battery is warmed up over all the letting off the throttle here.

I mean it just feels like it’s breaking on any other surface it doesn’t feel like it’s squirming regen brakes kind of have somewhat of a built-in anti-lock braking system because if a wheel were to lock up then there’s no region because it’s not actually spinning that motor so if it’s not spinning the motor then there’s no regen occurring it has to be moving in order for you to have regen so I’m gonna come up to a fairly high speed here about 40 miles per hour let off and I’m just letting regen do the work and it’s very smooth deceleration so pretty impressive there on this very slick surface pretty much just ice that we’re sitting on the tires are doing great the car is doing great the all-wheel drive is figuring it out and the traction control system actually figuring it out as well in my Subaru Crosstrek you will hear the stability system constantly it’s always going and you can hear that ABS pump working trying to figure out okay the car is sliding this way and I feel it less in this than I do in my cross track you don’t hear that stability system kicking in quite as often on this.

Now an interesting hypothetical question – would be you know what would be required in order to get this thing stuck and so you know from a purely what is the best possible scenario for an all-wheel drive or four-wheel drive system in order to prevent getting stuck you would want all power to be delivered to a center differential which could lock and then being sent to two front and rear differentials which could also be locked which we mean all wheels would rotate at the exact same speed and torque could go to exactly any wheel that could take it now I would say that this is actually pretty similar to that simply from a you have independent control of the front and rear axles now it’s an open differential yes but you can use the brake to increase torque as needed so there are extremely extremely rare circumstances in which this thing would get stuck purely from a grip standpoint essentially it would just have to be a scenario where there is no grip.

You know the real thing here is that there’s inches of ground clearance so it’s going to be limited from a clearance standpoint as far as what can it get through so if you get in some deep mud or some very deep snow you know you might just be simply limited purely because of how much ground clearance you have versus other vehicles but from a grip standpoint if there is any traction available this system is going to figure it out and I’ve been really impressed with these tires performing in this snow here I mean the acceleration is actually really good still even on the snow as well as the region how it’s able to put torque down and still give you a good sensation of acceleration you know turning here obviously under steering quite a bit as we’re going around this corner but it’s able to navigate it and it’s able to figure out where to put torque foot fully down it’s impressive!


it’s impressive how much torque is going down so now let’s try out slip mode and track mode and see what those do is for as how they impact the all-wheel-drive system how it performs on snow okay so I’ve turned slip start on and it says used to help free vehicle stuck in snow sand or mud so it doesn’t like it allows you to spin those tires slip start in able to access traction control disabled and it certainly lets you slide more than without it that is actually really cool I didn’t actually experience it very well in the model three mid-range wasn’t able to get the tires to spin much but here you can feel it figuring out where to put the torque and then it’s just starts spinning up those axles that is actually really cool kind of like a newbie drift mode.

If you don’t know what you’re doing, don’t use track mode –  use this and it actually slides a little bit, and the wheels get a little loose. Now I’m gonna put it in park and turn on track mode so enable that and the steering and standard you can hear the cooling system starts to circulate to keep the battery cool while I get crazy out here which I’m not going to do but we’re just gonna see how this mode works. Wow! That is very cool oh the front just pulls you out of it oh it makes good it makes you a hero! I am NOT a good driver as far as drifting is concerned, but this is actually really cool.

What it’s doing so as I start to slide I start to oversteer and clearly it’s too much for the core so the car is about to spin out and then I give it a little bit of throttle and what it does is it sends it to the front and it pulls me back in so that I don’t oversteer that is quite neat how well it’s able to control it there in one spot makes it really easy to search for vehicles that are local to you or you know anywhere across the country you can find them find a good deal get it shipped to your place they even have a tool for setting up shipping if you find something far away from you really convenient you can also get quilts on new vehicles from competing dealers it really is an awesome website I use it all the time and the CEO is a true car nut how do I know this because he drives a yellow s2000 check out the link in the video description send some love over to Auto Tempest! Thank you guys so much for watching!

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