Tesla Model S in the winter

This is hands down the question I’m asked most often, “How does the Tesla Model S handle the norwegian winters?” The short answer is great! Naturally opinions will vary, but for me it has been awesome. It has made me leave my petrol car out in the cold, literally.

Preheated

Lets start with my favourite feature, pre conditioning. Every time I drive somewhere, my car is already warmed up or cooled down – and it is addictive. Especially with leather seats, getting into a car that has been standing out in -10° to -20°C all night isn’t one of the reasons that I like living in Norway! Even though pre-heating solutions for cars aren’t unusual around here, I have been extra happy with this system.

Winter driving with Tesla Model S
Driving on icy roads through the mountains a couple of weeks earlier

All wheel drive

Just to be clear, I drive one of the dual motor models. This means that I have one motor in the front and one in the back, giving me power on all four wheels. Plenty of cars have all wheel drive, but an electric engine can respond way faster than a petrol one – at least in theory. In my case it simply meant I don’t have to worry about slippery uphill roads what so ever, which is nice when you live on the country side – for the record, I use studless winter tires.

Driving range

Let’s just say that for normal usage, it’s not a problem. Personally I drive about 120km per day on average (and sometimes double). I consider this more than average, and I never need to worry about range … ever. The only reason I think about range when crossing the country over the mountains in the middle of the winter … is because I’m a geek. Some people play car games, I count kilowatt hours.

Supercharging Tesla Model S
A warm battery makes for fast charging

The downsides

Most of the common issues are those you will find on similar cars. Like when the foldable mirrors are stuck because there are frozen shut. Personally I haven’t had any issues, knock on wood.

Though, you need to be aware that you are driving a car that weighs two and half tons. That makes for a lot of momentum. Driving on black ice or down a hill can be a challenge with any car, but the added weight doesn’t help.

One thing you can’t avoid is the way it collects dirt on the back. The same goes for snow if you were wondering.

Snow collects on the back of the Model S
Couldn’t see a lot through the backup camera

Also when it comes to Autopilot there will be limitations based on weather and conditions. When sensors are covered in snow it’s not always smooth sailing. Still, you would be surprised how well it works. A lot has happened since the winter of 2015. More on this in another post.

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