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Tesla

What Is It Like Driving a Tesla in the Wisconsin Winter?

I bought the Long Range Model 3 to be able to drive as often as possible and not to worry about the range but what is it like driving a Tesla in the Wisconsin winter?

I sold the Prius and turbo-charged lancer I owned to have better performance, more luxury and ditch filling up the gas tanks. All in one package instead of two cars. 🙂

Maybe I will need to do a more detailed write-up on those cars vs Model 3?

Let's take a look at the range of a Tesla Model 3 Long Range and how it does in the cold!

Handling

The dual motor edition of the Tesla Model 3 performs excellently in the Midwest winter weather.

I know that winter tires are ideal, but I have been able to manage with the all-season tires so far!

Regenerative Braking

When the battery is cold, it cannot accept a lot of energy, so the regenerative braking system is partially disabled.

This can be remedied by keeping the car plugged in, scheduling a pre-set charging time shortly before departure, or use smart preconditioning. Whichever option you choose, the battery will be heated and the regenerative braking will have a much more consistent effect.

Autopilot

Common sense when it comes to using Autopilot (Non-FSD) but in most cases it is safe to do so.

The Autopilot feature does not turn on when the road is not clear enough or if the cameras get covered up in road gunk.

Trip A Details

This first graph shows my last trip where I deliberately turned off the HVAC completely and did not have seat warmers on. It is winter, so windows up.

A little spirited driving to get up to speed on the highway but cruised the rest of the journey.

Wh/mi, by the way, stands for watt hours per mile.
Wh/km, by the way, stands for watt hours per kilometer.

Writing this article, I learned that you can convert Wh/mi to Wh/km with Google. Pretty awesome!

Drive A (WINTER)
AVG SPEED: 69 mph
AVG TEMPS: 34 °F
EFFICIENCY: 78%

Distance: 35.78 mi || 57.58 km
Duration: 31 minutes
Energy used: 11.20 kWh
Consumption: 313 Wh/mi || 194.489 Wh/km

Drive A: Trip

View Larger Snapchat

Drive B (SUMMER)
AVG SPEED: 62 mph

AVG TEMPS: 84 °F
EFFICIENCY: 90%
Distance: 35.20 mi || 56.64 km
Duration: 34 minutes
Energy used: 9.50 kWh
Consumption: 271 Wh/mi || 168.39 Wh/km

Drive B: Trip

View Larger Snapshot

Elevation

View Larger Snapshot

Sidenote

A trip that I did not include in this article represented trip A very well because the outside temperature was the same, the total amount of energy was exactly the same.

It turns out that results on different days are very consistent under similar circumstances.

Comparing Trips: Range

Your mileage will vary in the winter and will be reduced significantly if you go over the speed limit.

Those are two of the biggest factors.

Trip A (WINTER) consumed 46 miles of ideal range and 38 of est. range.

Trip B (SUMMER) consumed 40 miles of ideal range and 63 of est. range.

Comparing Trips: Winter vs Summer

What we saw between these two trips an additional 1.70 kWh of energy consumed between these two drives with the outside temperature 84 °F for the summer trip vs 34 °F for the winter drive.

The newer Teslas have better winter efficiency because they now have a heat pump and double-paned glass on refreshed Model 3s and probably on the other models at this point, with the Model S & Model X recently getting a major refresh.

To give an impression of my average efficiency, in the last 1,501 mi (2415.62 km), resulted in 331 Wh / mi for efficiency with a total of 497 kWh for energy consumption. That's winter for you!

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Special Thanks

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By Graydon Schwartz

Find out more about Graydon on the About Me page.