Seeing electric vehicles prance around in the snow is becoming a common occurrence, whether done by journalists, speed demons or EV fans. But we never mind seeing more, especially when it's the Tesla Model S.
Tesla engineers took the Model S to the Automotive Enviro Testing center in Baudette, MN this winter when the temperature dropped to between -10 and -15 degrees Fahrenheit. For a few days, they made sure the Model S could weave between some colorful cones on frozen ground. Tesla says the Model S went through 19 different courses and has provided us with a video of some of these runs, and it looks like fun. It was effective as well, as Tesla says, "After days of rigorous testing, we left more confident than ever that Model S will set the standard for premium performance – no matter what's in the forecast." We're curious to know about the car's real-world cold-weather performance – including things like how using the heater affects range – but for now we'll just watch.





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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 24 Comments
      Grendal
      • 2 Years Ago
      I'm looking forward to Youtube videos of people test driving production models. It should be happening soon. I'll bet the very first production Model S is handed out by the end of June. Then ten to twenty more in July. Then 50% ramping to 80% for August. 80% at the beginning of September to full scale production by the end of the month. They are saying they should ship 5000 by the end of the year. Exciting. Go Tesla.
      PR
      • 2 Years Ago
      DaveMart -- Do you know if Renault is working with a major 3rd party parts manufacturer (for example Bosch) to build this heat-pump system? If so, it would be even better to see Bosch or whoever start offering these systems for other manufacturers to install as an off-the-shelf item in a couple of years. That's how a whole bunch of Mercedes and BMW innovations have worked their way through other cars until now they are standard almost everywhere, like ABS, airbags, etc.
      DaveMart
      • 2 Years Ago
      Hi PR. No, I don't know who their supplier is. My understanding though is that Nissan/Renault's policy is to drive down component costs for electric parts as quickly as possible, and that to do that they need volume, and so are perfectly prepared to sell parts on favourable terms to others building electric vehicles. After all, they whole segment is a tiny part of the market, and the main thing is to get competitive with ICE as soon as they can. Nissan and Mitsubishi already have joint ventures: http://green.autoblog.com/2011/06/22/nissan-mitsubishi-nmkv-minicar-joint-venture-battery-car/
      marcopolo
      • 2 Years Ago
      @Dave Mart, You do realise that 'heat pump' is just another term for reverse cycle air-conditioning? The car will still need a power source to run the compressor and fan. This means an extra draw on the battery. Heat pumps work best in very insulated environments. But cars, with all those windows and ventilation, are not well insulated. Even the best of rotary compressors will struggle to extract heat from the cold air passing a moving car. It's probably more efficient to heat the seats and foot wells with electric coils. I would imagine that the effect would be superior and the draw on the battery less, as heating could be optioned to the number of occupants.
      PR
      • 2 Years Ago
      The local Tesla shop has a full-size display of the frame, suspension, motor, and battery case. One of the Tesla sales folks was pointing out the motor and transmission that sat directly between the rear wheels, and was saying that because of that weight that the Model S will be very solid in the snow. The comparison was to adding sand bags into the trunk of a RWD gas car to get traction. It sounded logical. *shrug*
        throwback
        • 2 Years Ago
        @PR
        There is some truth to what he said, more weight over the drive wheels helps traction. However, 4good snow tires and common sense will get you where you need to go.
      • 2 Years Ago
      Using the heater and ac in my i-Miev in sub-zero tempartures this winter reduced real world range to 50km. As an existing EV owner, I know how important this is. So I really wonder how the Tesla Model S will do in winter temperatures. I wonder if Tesla will be able to deliver a diesel/petrol heater as an extra, to reduce the battery drain as much as possible. Or electric heated front windows, which saves energy compared to using the heater, as well as being faster and more comfortable. Or winter insulated batteries, since cold temperatures really reduce the efficiency of batteries. Or chademo fast chargers, as they (unfortunately) are becoming the dominant standard for fast chargers in Europe. And I really wonder what the real world range of the Model S is in -10 degrees C. Looking forward to find out.
        DaveMart
        • 2 Years Ago
        Hopefully now Renault have put a heat-pump in the high volume Zoe they will be commoditised, so that Mitsubishi can put them cost-effectively in the iMiEV. That should boost the range quite a bit in cold weather.
          DarylMc
          • 2 Years Ago
          @DaveMart
          Hi DaveMart Are you saying the CO2 refrigerant is more suited to cold environments? I couldnt find any good information. Always thought it sounded like a great refrigerant being non ozone depleting and low global warming potential. But I havent read much about it lately. People interested should search for "The Cool War" http://www.alliance-co2-solutions.org/the_cool_war.php The site looks a bit old and I have no idea where the industry is at right now.
          DaveMart
          • 2 Years Ago
          @DaveMart
          Here are the only performance graphs in relation to temperature I have been able to find comparing R744 with other fluids: http://www.airconwarehouse.com/acatalog/SANYO_CO2_ECO_Brochure.pdf It is not for the more compact units in cars, but the field is so new that there is not a lot of info about. It is my assumption that they may be using CO2 as a fluid to give good low temperature performance, I do not have information on the point.
          marcopolo
          • 2 Years Ago
          @DaveMart
          @Dave Mart " the use of air pumps" Um, Dave you seem to have a strange idea about 'heat pumps'. Your refrigerator is a 'heat pump! Io make an air-conditioner into a "heat pump', or 'reverse cycle' simply requires the addition of reversing valves. This permits the contraction and expansion of refrigerant through the evaporator and condensing coil, by the use of a compressor that transfers heat from one coil to another. Either removing heat from area 'A' to area 'B', or visa-versa. (heat energy, not air) But to operate efficiently, the outside ambient temperature must contain sufficient heat to be able to be transfered. Once the car is moving, the air passing over the coils will be colder due to the short time it passes over the coils, and velocity (and rain) causes loss of latent heat. In addition, cars lose heat at a far greater rate than most enclosed spaces, the Renault concept is more of a gimmick, than a practical efficient method of heating an automobile. Your flat is a stationary, well insulated area. The reverse cycle air-conditioning unit probably works quite well, especially if it's a modern rotary. But a car is a very different proposition. Just using better grades of refrigerant will not remove the necessity of running a compressor, and Fan ! It may interest you to know that the principle of heat pump technology has been around a long time! In 1852: Lord Kelvin described the theory underlying heat pump operation. 1855–1857: Peter Ritter von Rittinger developed and built the first heat pump. But it took until 1919, before Willis & Robert Carrier designed the first air-conditioner with reversing valves. The first Automobile with air-conditioning was the 1939 Packard. But Chrysler was already designed a far superior system include in the 1941-2 model, the next development was in 1954 the Nash-Kelvinator corporation equipped the Nash Ambassador with a front-end, fully integrated heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning system. This proved a less luxurious, but cheaper and less complicated system than Chrysler's 'Airtemp' model, and became the basic car air-conditioning type. There is great expectation around a new form of auto air-conditioning called TIFFE (Thermal systems Integration For Fuel Economy) which may be released as early as 2015. TIFFE"s main benefit is to reduce gasoline consumption by up to 15%.
          DaveMart
          • 2 Years Ago
          @DaveMart
          @marco: I have looked in some detail at heat pump technology. It seems that it is some while since you have done so, as they are now far more effective down to lower temperatures,
          DaveMart
          • 2 Years Ago
          @DaveMart
          Daryl: Here is the main site with information about R744/Co2 heat pumps: http://www.r744.com/knowledge/faq
          DaveMart
          • 2 Years Ago
          @DaveMart
          @marco: It is a somewhat odd assumption that I do not know how an heat pump works, and calling it an air conditioner in reverse shows perhaps that the boot is on the other foot. It can be used for air-conditioning it is true, but it it not the normal way things are done at the moment other than in commercial premises. I suggest you look up air source heat pumps in 'How things work' Also look up R744 as the operating fluid for cold climates. The heat pump in the Renault produces about 3 units of heat or 2 of cold air for every unit of electricity it consumes. This varies according to the temperature, with efficiency decreasing at very low temperatures, but R744 is far more effective than other fluids in the cold. It is not a total solution, but it helps. I would imagine that the engineers at Renault, and at Nissan who seem to be putting them in the 2013 Leaf, not only know how they work but have considered other options, and of course the use of air pumps does not mean that you can't also have heated seats and so on. The one in my flat works fine, thank you, and is good for a COP of 4 and down to around -10C, which is fine for the southern UK climate, and it uses a less effective operating fluid than R744 for the cold. I was also surprised that they could be compact enough for a car, but since then have taken the opportunity to inform myself better.
          DarylMc
          • 2 Years Ago
          @DaveMart
          The latest Daikin AC uses 780 watts to pump out what is supposed to be eqivalent to 3400 watts of heat and rated to work at -15 degrees C. There is not many extra parts on top of a regular cooling AC and I think a heat pump would be great in EV's. Especially in places which rarely see below 0 degrees.
        Anne
        • 2 Years Ago
        Does the Model S have a heat pump, or just a simple resistive heating element? Does anyone know?
          DarylMc
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Anne
          I don't know so be sure to tell everyone if you hear differently but I have read that tesla uses the ac unit for battery cooling if required. It makes sense to me that they would use the unit in reverse cycle to heat the batteries and interior. The only reason I could see why they might use heating elements is to keep development costs down or perhaps when the car is under way they have abundant heat from the battery pack and motor. http://www.teslamotors.com/forum/forums/air-conditioning
        • 2 Years Ago
        Me too. I live in Houston, a/k/a the Turkish bath of the country. And there is no such thing as diesel air conditioning. I have a Model X on reservation but whether I in fact buy it will depend greatly on the A/C issue.
        2 Wheeled Menace
        • 2 Years Ago
        Is your battery heated? Most early commercial EVs do not have battery heating, which leads to an drastic ( 1X - 10X ) internal resistance climb in a lithium battery.. which in turn, causes the BMS to shut the battery off early due to voltages dropping far below the low voltage cutoff. I've noticed how major the effect is on my electric bike, using batteries with far lower internal resistance than used in these production EVs.
        Spec
        • 2 Years Ago
        Are you in Norway?
      80N541
      • 2 Years Ago
      Is this me or the wheel is at right side in the last scene?
        Chris M
        • 2 Years Ago
        @80N541
        Possibly. Tesla Motors does plan to sell in Great Britain, Ireland, New Zealand, Australia and Japan, all nations with "right side" steering. If they are testing more than one car, there is a good chance at least one would be a "right side driver" car.
      • 2 Years Ago
      Having seen two Fiskers in person here in Houston, and that gaud awful Bieber abomination; I think I am liking the Tesla S better as far as pure looks. I have seen the Alpha (or Beta) here in Houston at the mall store they set up. The White Fisker looks good, but I saw one yesterday that was black or dark blue with what looked like gold flakes. Bieber much dude?
        Letstakeawalk
        • 2 Years Ago
        You probably saw a Laguna Blue Karma. It has recycled glass in the water-based paint; extremely hard to do, but very, very *green*. Also, very rare, because of how hard it is to get that special paint. Fisker seems to have discontinued taking orders for it.
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