The Tesla blew that notion all to hell.
When I was in high school in Stuttgart, Germany, I was a very active skier. Being out in the snow was a natural place and I spent many hours on ski slopes and traversing countries to get to/from ski slopes. More often than not I was on a bus (definitely the way to travel when exhausted from a week of skiing) but sometimes not. As every skier knows, packing for a trip is more than just shoving extra turtlenecks and socks into a bag, it's about preparing your equipment and getting repairs done before discovering at the top of the ski lift that your binding won't catch.
Back in those days I often found myself behind a '70s era BMW 7-series, a car so malevolent in snow that its attempts at homicide were only tempered by the application of snow tires. The steering wheel was a completely optional accessory in Winter driving as most directional changes could be made with the gas pedal alone. Little did I know it, but a lesson was learned, combining those two activities... and here we are.
Actually, the last time I drove a rear wheel drive car in the snow was returning to upstate NY from Pittsburgh in the Blizzard of '93. I'll be the first to admit that making a long car trip in the midst of the "Storm of the Century" wasn't a brilliant move-- but in our defense, we didn't realize it was so massive at the time. Our chosen snow steed was a huge Mercury Grand Marquis with "reasonable" tires that had to be flogged to attain highway speeds in the best of conditions. In a blinding snowstorm cresting the mountains on I-80 it became so encrusted with snow on it's blunt nose that it bobbed under the weight and the headlights vanished. Getting out to clear the lights in the midst of a "thundersnow storm" was not a high point of our trip. We made it all 300+ miles without incident... until doing an elegant 540 degree spin while making our last turn. I say "elegant" because it was a slow motion affair in deep snow that took us past the turn before then pointing us back at it. Unfortunately, my girlfriend (now wife) could already see through me and knew it wasn't a planned maneuver. She remains hard to impress, even to this day.
in Part 1, I inventoried the assembled gear (with help from Rob M.). While the Tesla might be as strong as a tank: could it be a snow tank? I'd made all the proper purchases. I had all the equipment. Now it was time to test it before the snow flew. The perfect opportunity presented itself when Serena rolled into her first tire rotation window. Why not, while rotating tires anyway, shuffle on the Winter set for a trial run and TPMS check? Plus... admittedly... I was VERY curious what the TSportline wheels would look like and Tesla's rotation interval provided me with a reasonable excuse!
Loading up the freshly mounted tires for the trip to my friend Jake's house (owner of the OUTAGAS Tesla), I paused to take a few pictures so you can see how easily a full set of mounted tires will fit in the cargo space of the Model S. It really is a very utilitarian car-- they're not even crowded in there!
If you're the kind of person who ALWAYS pays extra for overnight shipping and ALWAYS gets your food "to go", then go ahead and watch the associated video now. Otherwise, go ahead and read on... savor the journey, enjoy the moments. Like a fine wine, my prose is ready to be uncorked.
You'll notice a hockey puck on the top of the jack. Unlike my vintage floor jack, the modern jacks have padded cups, but these cups only snag the edge of the Tesla's jack point. If you try and center the cup on the jack point you'll end up impinging on the battery pack, so the hockey puck allows you to center the cup without contacting the pack.
After attaching and dropping the first corner we stepped back to admire our work. Oh yes, this is good. Suddenly Serena has transformed from a young athlete to someone ready to go out clubbing. Even in a mismatched state the transformation was becoming. Not wanting to push our luck with the Michael Jackson one-glove look, we moved around to the back.
After reading so many people comment on premature tire wear (mainly attributable to the air-suspension cars because of the camber change when lowered), I was really curious to get a good look at what had been going on under there. My car has the coil suspension but I've certainly enjoying the thrust of the Tesla since day one... so... drumroll.... Yep. Wear. Even, but definitely more wear on the rear tires. The rears were a good 2/32nd lighter in the tread department but-- hey, that's why we rotate them around, right?
That picture was a little confusing actually, so let's swap those tires around and give you a closer look with the help of the gauge:
We continued working our way around the car until Serena was wearing her matching shoes and ready for the big school dance. Watch the video-- all you air vs coil junkies-- to see the ride height difference between Serena and Tess with matching wheels in place.
One last look before loading the tires back into the car-- look how BIG that space is! Never let anyone tell you that a Tesla can't carry as much as an SUV. Without even counting the frunk, that is a huge cargo area. Suddenly I feel like building an amusement park or installing a suitcase carousel and volunteering to be baggage claim at the airport.
As promised-- here it is again! The video version of this post awaits your eager eyes. Don't worry, I'm not as angry as I look in that clip frame:
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