Tesla Model 3 Boston and New York City Road Trip Tips - safely handled rain, snow, and heavy traffic with ease and efficiency

Posted by Paul Braren on Mar 24 2022 (updated on Mar 27 2022) in
  • Efficiency
  • EVs
  • Reviews
  • Tesla
  • 2022-03-24_11-42-59

    Most modern EVs are great at stop-and-go traffic, with easy modulation and precise control of speed, and largely one-pedal driving thanks to regen. Most EVs have just one gear, so no shifting means smooth driving, with no unexpected power changes.

    Even better is a Traffic-Aware Cruise Control that smoothly works down to 0 mph, while precisely maintaining a safe follow distance at all times. This is available standard on most newer Model 3 and Model Y Teslas, and all Model S Model X.

    Just yesterday, I was asked by a family friend whether EVs are good in snow. In a word, yes, particular if it has 4 wheel drive. It also just so happened that I had just covered about 700 miles of terrible driving conditions in these past 2 weeks, and had the GoPro running at 4K/60 fps to capture some of the lessons learned along the way. Even after 56,000 miles of EV driving, I still discover new ways to refine my way of doing things during road trips in our 2018 Tesla Model 3 Long Range AWD.

    It's safe to say the video below will demonstrate snow handling abilities, with the AWD versions of the Model 3 even more sure-footed than the RWD version. Both handle quite well in the snow thanks to excellent traction control. But for long journeys in snow, I'd certainly advise the use of triple-snow-peak all weather tires that can handle snow, rain, and heat. That's what my Model 3 has been wearing for the last 31,000 electric miles.

    In the below videos, you'll see me doing everything I reasonably can to reduce my risk to my family, and our car. I'm always open to suggestions, please feel free to comment below this article or either video!

    Driving Tips & Stats

    Heavy Rain & Snow CT to Boston and back, twice

    March 9 32°F/0°C & March 12 2022 23°F/-5°C

    March 9 CT to Boston and back, and March 12 CT to Boston and back in even colder weather.

    March 9th was 4 hours 40 minutes for 210 miles driven at 334 Wh/Mile which is 70% efficiency.
    March 12th was 4 hours 42 minutes for 211 miles driven at 349 Wh/Mile which is 67% efficiency.
    In this first video, you'll see and hear me demonstrate techniques to clear ice off my windshield wipers as I drive into freezing temperatures and higher altitudes:

    • Fill your Windshield Washer fluid tank before you depart, and keep an extra gallon in the frunk so you don't have to do what I did.
    • Use Front Window Defroster on Heat.
      Use this HI HEAT setting briefly, to remove slush or snow related visibility problems.
    • Use Front Window Defroster on Cold.
      Use this setting as long as needed, to prevent windshield fogging, and save on needing to use Windshield Washer fluid nearly as often (learned this one the hard way).
    • Stay away from trucks whenever safely possible.
    • Pass trucks from 2 lanes over whenever safely possible.
    • Keep your left tires out of slush when passing in the left lane.
      better yet, avoid the less-used left lane entirely if it has any accumulation of snow.
    • Don't use Cruise Control for anything more than a few seconds (such as when adjusting defrosters) if there is any significant snow or slush accumulation on the road.

    In the last portion of the video it's our second trip to Boston, I we had more snowy weather. This time, it was night. Amazingly, the AutoPilot Lane Assist feature still worked during some brief tests with no other cars around, despite barely being able to make out the lane markings.

    March 9 & March 12 2022 -Tesla in Snow Tips, Boston - AutoPilot & wiper tests, 210 miles at 100 MPGe is $17

    Heavy Traffic CT to NYC

    March 18 2022, 78°F/25.6°C

    March 18 CT to NYC and back

    March 18th was 5 hours 53 minutes for 225 miles driven at 236 Wh/Mile which is 99.7% efficiency.
    In this second video, here I am just 5 days after driving in heavy snow, and now it's hot out. It's moments like this that I'm thankful that 3 snow peak rated tires exist that are also safe in hot or rainy weather too.

    Throughout the first segment of video, you'll see my main battery pack temperatures slowly rise as I drive, just look at the TesLAX displaying this OBD info below my display. This causes this EV to become more and more efficient as I go.

    You'll see and hear me demonstrate techniques to handle long, arduous stop-and-go drives. I also emphasize that traffic isn't generally a big concern in fair weather EV driving as the range actually improves at the very low speeds. Think I'm kidding? Those first 15 miles of stop-and-go traffic getting out of Manhattan island during Friday rush hour took 76 minutes, averaging just 11 mph! YOu can see this in the TeslaFi screenshot above that features all the trip stats.
    You can seen at this spot, or enjoy the full length video for a lot of tips including:

    • Use AutoPilot to take most of the stress off of stop-and-go traffic, the car will slow automatically for vehicles cutting in.
    • Use Follow Distance of 3 for stop-and-go traffic under 25 mph.
    • Set your Navigation Waypoints up before you go, especially if it's not one of the predetermined routes, at this spot you'll see me choosing to take 684/I-84 home instead of Merritt Parkway 5/15.
    • Brief, safe, low speed demonstration of AutoPilot on City Streets known as Full Self Driving Beta #FSDBeta, 10.10.2 (2021.44.30.21) on the streets of Manhattan.
    TinkerTry - March 18 2022 - Tesla in Traffic Tips, NYC - AutoPilot=less stress, EPA Range Exceeded, 225 miles at 147 MPGe is $13

    Lifetime Miles

    Even with the highest cost of electricity in the US here in New England, the savings are substantial, even though most of my ~55K miles were before the recent gas price hikes

    See also at TinkerTry

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    Disclosure: My family owns no stock in Tesla. Tesla doesn't advertise at TinkerTry, or anywhere else, and this is not a sponsored post. We financed the purchase of two Tesla Model 3s, replacing my 2006 Honda Civic Hybrid in December of 2018 and replacing my wife's 2005 Honda Civic EX in December of 2019. These big moves to an all electric household were an expression of our mutual desire to go green, avoid gasoline, be safe, have fun, and save money in the long run. Mostly for my job, I drive a lot, 25,000 miles in 2019 for example, and I thoroughly enjoy sharing what I've learned from 56,000 miles of experience with you. I hope you can tell!