Tesla Driving Update: Aftermath of Winter 2015

by Chris on June 9, 2015

I’ve been kinda busy lately. I haven’t posted anything here since January! That’s just crazy. So when I got an email last week asking me how the Tesla Model S faired during the deep freeze of February 2015 (the one we all thought might NEVER end), I figured it was time for an update.

In January I wrote this post explaining why the Tesla Model S is the best winter car I’ve ever owned. It’s the best car I’ve ever owned for any situation, but it was cold at the time and I was focused on winter performance.

Then February came. We had some insane number of wicked cold days in the Toronto area. I’m talking the kind of cold that makes you just want to LIVE beside your fireplace and go nowhere.

Tesla performance? About the same as the January post I described. Go read it if you want the long version. But the short version is that range anxiety only exists when you are doing a bunch of short-haul trips that add up to more than 200km in a single day. If you do all of the driving at once (i.e road trip), you won’t have much of a problem because the car battery will heat up, as will the cabin, and you’ll probably do something like 250 Wh/km (energy consumption per km) compared to about 175 Wh/hm during the summer. You take a hit, but it’s not completely insane. But drive a bunch of short haul trips where your battery is constantly fighting to heat up (using resistive heating) and your energy consumption will easily move closer to 400 Wh/km, which seems scary bad until you realize it does NOT matter during the kind of short haul trips that cause this inefficiency.

If I had to do this all over again here’s what I’d do:

1) Buy the all-wheel-drive version (it was not available when I purchased)
2) Buy the winter tires in advance instead of buying them later
3) Nothing else different. This is still the best car I’ve ever owned. I LOVE visiting a gas station pretty much only to buy a few litres for my lawn mower once or twice per summer.

Noel June 20, 2015 at 10:03 am

I was wondering why you hadn’t posted in so long. You seemed to be so gung-ho about this blog when you started it and then your posts fizzled to nothing. I like reading your Globe articles though.

It’s great to hear a review about the Tesla from someone local who is driving it during our (getting) harsher winters. I want to get a Tesla but will wait until the lower-priced Model 3 comes out as I rarely even drive my current 21-year old Toyota Corolla (live downtown TO and bike everywhere) so there is no point in me over-spending for the higher end model you have.

I am currently reading the book about Elon Musk, Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future. It has a lot of background on the development of the car that is quite interesting.

noel August 7, 2015 at 12:55 pm

dead blog it seems…

Chris July 7, 2016 at 9:43 am

Yeah, I definitely haven’t been posting much! Very busy with other projects and this is truly just a hobby, and one that takes lower priority in my life (if I’m being honest!)

jay September 14, 2015 at 1:31 pm

Time to update your blog….your up almost 300%

Marc Allen December 14, 2015 at 5:25 pm

Combined with the imposing size and the lack of noise as it glides past, it still has the ability to swivel heads
Thanks
Marc

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