During the conference call discussing Tesla’s fourth quarter financial results last week, CEO Elon Musk called the Northeast region of the US an “under-penetrated” market for the company. It could be attributed to a less important retail presence in the region, but also to a negative perception of electric vehicle performance in winter conditions.
Tesla has been trying to change these perceptions by highlighting the Model S’ impressive winter driving performance with a series of videos and customer testimonies over the past few weeks and months.
If you follow Tesla and the EV industry closely, it’s easy to think that these concerns have already been mostly addressed, but there are still a lot of misconceptions which often arise from putting all EVs in the same basket.
Some of the concerns over electric vehicle driving in cold weather are legitimate, primarily that it reduces range, which is not always electric car specific, but when your electric range is already short ( like with the LEAF or Volt), it can be a real concern.
As for the Model S, it is rarely a concern since it wouldn’t really push the range below your average commute or Supercharger network range, but it certainly ends up accentuating any range anxiety issue. Although it doesn’t seem to represent as much as a barrier as general EV misconception about winter driving performance. The good old “golf cart” comments.
[tweet https://twitter.com/TeslaMotors/status/692030030566690818 align=’center’]
Tesla has largely managed to distance itself from this issue by delivering mind-boggling performance for a large sedan, but in markets where consumers are not or less aware of this, winter driving seems to offer a good demonstration of the car’s capabilities and especially now that all of Tesla’s vehicles are offered almost exclusively in all-wheel-drive. The company recently discontinued the Model S 85 and 90 RWD, making only the Model 70 available with a RWD powertrain.
During the past few weeks, Tesla released several customer testimonies, videos and photos to show how well the Model S perform in cold conditions. We gathered some of our favorite posts below:
[tweet https://twitter.com/TeslaMotors/status/690618031651717120 align=’center’]
[tweet https://twitter.com/TeslaMotors/status/689861429164310528 align=’center’]
[tweet https://twitter.com/TeslaMotors/status/687322987578560512 align=’center’]
[tweet https://twitter.com/TeslaMotors/status/6819013269098373122 align=’center’]
[tweet https://twitter.com/TeslaMotors/status/6815247086978457602 align=’center’]
Well if it’s good enough for Santa… Wait a minute… He has jet engines on his!
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Only downside to model s in winter is the low ground clearance which make a large snow fall difficult to impossible to drive. But that is true with all sedans. I have a 70d and tomorrow we are expecting 30cm of snow so will take a suv to work instead.
The reason for low market penetration in the Northeast is LACK OF SERVICE CENTERS. Look at the service center map. Maine, most of New Hampshire, all of Vermont, all of upstate NY, most of Pennsyvlania, you are just WAY too far from a service center. That’s really the main problem, and I’ve told them this repeatedly, but they have not fixed it. It’s even worse in Maritime Canada.
I own a model S but I’ve been telling people in upstate NY not to buy a Model S solely because of the huge cost of getting to the service center, which requires either a hotel or a very expensive tow. (I have the “Free Unlimited Ranger Service” but Tesla is not offering that any more.)
I totally agree with Nathanael. Tesla needs to open more service centers. I have no qualms at all about cold weather effects on the battery. Sure it’s reduced but Tesla’s have enough range that its not an issue. On the other hand, living in Buffalo I would have to drive 180 miles to have my Tesla serviced. That would be one hell of a tow truck bill if it wasn’t drivable. And even if it IS drivable who wants to drive 3 hours EACH WAY to get their car serviced. PLEASE ADD MORE SERVICE CENTERS!