How Does The Tesla Model 3 Handle Snow?



Is The Tesla Model 3 Good In The Snow? How Tesla’s AWD Works
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The Tesla Model 3 Mid-Range and Long Range AWD both come with all season tires. The Model 3 Performance comes with summer tires. Either way, ideally you’ll want winter tires for snow driving. Tesla offers various options through their website for 18, 19, and 20 inch wheels with winter tire pairings. This video will discuss the advantages and drawbacks of each tire selection, as well as other options.

The AWD system consists of two independent electric motors, each sending power through open differentials to an individual axle (both front and back). There are also differences in ground clearance between the various model 3 variants, which will be discussed. Slip start and track mode will also be tested. How well will the Model 3 handle snow? Check out the video for full details.

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34 Replies to “How Does The Tesla Model 3 Handle Snow?”

  1. Engineering Explained

    Lots of comments saying I'm full of nonsense about open differentials having a 50/50 torque split! And while it's true that I've made plenty of mistakes, this fortunately isn't one of them. Here's some great content clarifying why locked differentials have varying torque splits, and why open diffs are always 50/50.
    4WD Systems (and why locked diffs vary torque) – https://youtu.be/TotrUUuYOM4
    Open vs Locked Torque Split – https://youtu.be/_HOa0aRZYpw
    Open Diff Torque Split – https://youtu.be/gBHmWZcnWwM

  2. Got memes?

    Just buy aftermarket wheels for one season, i use my 17" oem wheels for winter and aftermarket 18" in summer. It's silly to me to be changing tires twice a year on the same rim. Just swapping the entire wheel is much easier and faster.

  3. The Juul

    One big point you missed was the weight of the vehicle. Heavier, shorter wheelbase vehicles will allow their tires to make better contact with the surface you’re driving on.

  4. Jip van Kuijk

    I purchased a Model 3 Performance here in Switzerland, and I opted to purchase the set of extra 20" rims, including winter tires. On the website it actually says it will come with "Pirelli Sottozero 3 Winterreifen" I'm curious to find out once I pick up the car if they are Sottozero 3 or 2. If they are 2 I'll have to complain, since there is a big price difference between the tires here. Sottozero 2: 459 per tire versus Sottozero 3: 599 per tire.

    And obviously the 3 are better.

  5. Russell Gallagher

    Hey man, love your content. My wife is considering the Model 3 for her daily driver. We are in Cleveland with cold days and nights in Jan-March 0-32 degrees). Her work style has me concerned. She may leave a heated garage but them stops for short times (1-2 hours) then expects to quickly drive for 10-20 minutes to her next stop, and stops again for the short periods. This can happen 4-6 times a day. Is there a need for her to wait and preheat the battery each time she plans to drive?

  6. Michael E

    First off, agreed with the order of priorities: Tires, AWD, ground clearance. I find so many discussions that place snow tires and AWD as mutually exclusive alternatives – which makes no sense. I wouldn't drive in winter conditions without snow tires – and especially not in an AWD car, given its ability to accelerate to potentially dangerous speeds (a 2WD car with snow tires would at least handle safely, and a 2WD car with bad tires simply wouldn't move).

    Second, I might be able to fill in some of the "hypothetical" scenarios. Specifically, given good tires and AWD, ground clearance is less important than one might think. Worst-case scenario in my experience: Attempting to enter an uphill driveway from a secondary road, after an above-freezing snowfall with 10 inches of heavy wet snow and a 2.5-foot snowbank at the edge of the road. The car (my previous one): An '05 Subaru Legacy with open diffs, no traction control, half-worn studless snow tires and about the same ground clearance as a non-performance Model 3. The snowbank was heavy enough to knock out one of the bumper trim pieces and deep enough elsewhere to leave an undercarriage trail up the whole driveway, but the car made it through on the second attempt. In fluffy snow, an AWD car with snow tires can remain unfazed with the headlights buried (done that also).

    Curious to know if you're looking at other tire options now that you've got 18" wheels for the Model 3. In the worst conditions, "performance" winter tires are still a compromise compared to the best dedicated winter tires. That was one perk of getting tires for my current car (a '15 Impreza) – the 15" steelies I have for winter aren't glamorous, but tires are plentiful and cheap, and I've ended up purchasing studded tires for the first time for this coming winter.

  7. Jim Yarnold

    Jason, great video and very helpful. Question: I live in the Colorado mountains and we ski a lot. Can you comment on all weather tires on the Model 3 long range vs winter tires. I’d prefer to not change my tires with the season. Thanks

  8. Joseph Farhat

    Plowed roads do not count, come take the battery car to a state like Northern Michigan, Maine, North Dakota, Wisconsin, Washington, Alaska.
    In areas that don't plow offen, or at all ?

    But gold star for using season appropriate tires. Most divers don't know how much a difference Winter Tires Help.

  9. Dan Hammond

    More important is the fact that a Tesla is effectively in idle the entire winter. Even when not in use. The battery warmers have to be operating constantly to keep the car ready for use. The use more energy than a 110 volt outlet can supply. So just plugging it in to 110 will not work and eventually the battery pack will go dead. You have to have a 220 volt plug in for the winter and it is constantly using power even when not in use.
    Now I have seen people do emission testing, but no one has compared the constant operation of the battery warmers on a 24/7 basis to an ICE car sitting in a garage not being used. If you have an awd EV it will handle well in the snow as well as an awd ICE car. But because of the weight of the battery pack on sheer ice your stopping distance will be greater than an equivalent size ICE car. The weight will give you more traction for getting moving but hinder your stopping distance.

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