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Monday, May 29, 2023

What Goes On Beneath Your Tesla Can Damage You

Determine 1: Snow on a roof. All-time largest snow 12 months on file, approaching 900 inches. Alta, Utah. April 2023. Picture by Elizabeth McDonald.

Background (skip these first three paragraphs in case you’re accustomed to my background): I’m an enormous EV fanboy and have been driving electrical vehicles now for 8 years. I even have photo voltaic panels on my home, so I can brag that I’m driving on sunshine. I beforehand owned 3 Nissan Leafs. I now personal a dual-motor Tesla Mannequin 3 Lengthy Vary with 93,920 miles on the odometer. I paid $6000 additional once I purchased my automotive in October 2019 for Full Self Driving. I simply obtained the obtain for the large FSD Beta V11 software program improve. I can be reporting on it in my subsequent article. Having twin motors imply that each the entrance and rear axles are powered, so that you primarily have an all-wheel-drive or 4-wheel-drive automotive.

I educate alpine snowboarding at Brighton Ski Resort in Utah. It’s 18 miles as much as the tip of Large Cottonwood Canyon. On huge snow days, the canyon is restricted to 4-wheel-drive vehicles and vehicles with snow tires by huge indicators with flashing yellow lights on the backside of the canyon (see Determine 2). With my two-wheel-drive Nissan Leaf vehicles, I had barely sufficient battery to make it up the canyon on clear roads and would at all times have to park on the backside of the canyon on snow days. I believed that with my 4-wheel-drive Tesla, I might drive up the canyon in any type of climate. This could be a luxurious for me in comparison with the 2 rear-wheel-drive vehicles that I drove within the winter to ski resorts in Wisconsin, the Higher Peninsula of Michigan, and Colorado in an earlier life. We thought of it a complete luxurious after we have been driving our VW Bug with a rear engine over the drive wheels. Too unhealthy the heater was too weak to maintain the windshield clear.

What I didn’t know was that this previous winter could be the most important snow 12 months of all time (see the snow on a roof at Alta this 12 months in Determine 1). The earlier file was 745 inches in 1995. This 12 months, Alta and Brighton have hit 880 inches, and one good storm within the subsequent 6 weeks will put us over 900 inches for the 12 months. I used to be right that even with solely good all-season tires, I might be capable of drive up the plowed canyon highway on any day. What I failed to grasp was that my Mannequin 3 has solely 5” of clearance, and with continued snowfall through the day chewed up and packed by different vehicles, my automotive could be excessive centered within the car parking zone. On two events, it took assist from different skiers and the car parking zone attendants to get my automotive transferring sufficient to make a run for the car parking zone exit. My 2019 Tesla Mannequin 3 has solely fiberboard aeroshields beneath the automotive. What I didn’t notice was that I used to be actually scraping the entrance aeroshield off the underside of my automotive within the deep, compacted snow.

Determine 2: Traction warning signal. Brian Head Canyon, Utah. April 11, 2023. Picture by Fritz Hasler.

On one other event two years earlier, I used to be driving in intense rainfall which turned out to be inflicting flash floods in North Carolina. I didn’t see 12” of water in a low spot which I hit at 40 mph. On this case, I tore the rear aeroshield off the underside of my automotive.

What are you able to do to keep away from these conditions? As for the deep snow, I plan on leaving my automotive on the backside of the canyon on these actually huge snow days. As for deep water, I’ll hear extra rigorously to the climate report and keep away from driving by deep water.

What are you able to do to beef up the underside of your automotive to make it extra sturdy? First, Tesla has upgraded the fiberboard aeroshield on newer Mannequin 3s, and in my case put in an upgraded plastic model on my automotive. A reader of my earlier article (see under) recommended putting in aluminum skid plates beneath the automotive and elevating the automotive up a few inches. This could have saved me from damaging the underside of my automotive and would assist getting out if the snow wasn’t terribly deep.

From Peter Jorgensen within the feedback part of one in every of my earlier articles: “Hey Fritz, have you ever thought of getting the 1.75″ carry from Mountain cross efficiency? It’s fairly low cost and it’s labored very well on my mannequin 3 after we get these huge Utah snow falls. You’d have 7.25″ of clearance with that. Additionally they make aluminum skid plates to interchange the fiber. It’s just about on par with a inventory Subaru Outback at that time. I had Ahns customized and vinyl set up my package in south Salt Lake. They did a great job.”

Thanks a lot for the suggestion, Peter! Nonetheless, since I’m too broke to even get true snow tires, I’ll simply limp together with my present scenario.

What if I used to be driving a Tesla Mannequin Y? The Mannequin Y has 6.6” clearance, so it will possibly deal with just a little deeper snowfall. What in regards to the Mannequin S? There are discrepancies within the varied figures I see, however the Tesla Mannequin S has a minimal clearance of 4.6”, which is adjustable. It may be raised to eight.1”. The minimal clearance for a Mannequin X is simply 4.3”, however it may be raised to eight.1” or 13.7” relying on which report you consider. Would somebody please affirm the right quantity? Additionally, inform us what the aeroshields are made from in your Mannequin Y, S, and X. The Tesla Cybertruck when lastly launched is meant to have a minimal clearance of about 5”, however it is possible for you to to dynamically increase it to 16”. You’ll lastly have a Tesla you could safely drive off-road. Notice: Taking a look at Ford F-150 and Chevy Silverado electrical pickup vehicles I see which have been lifted, there’s loads of clearance for the physique, however the axles and notably the differentials nonetheless have fairly small clearances. I feel solely next-generation electrical SUVs and vehicles with hub motors on every wheel will completely be capable of clear up this drawback.


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