Tesla model3 – marathon in ice and snow

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Tesla Model3

Marathon in ice and snow

Thanks to a heat pump, Tesla's Model3 should offer more than enough range even in the freezing cold. We try it!

Thanks to all-wheel drive and well-functioning heating via the heat pump, the latest generation Tesla Model3 is fully suitable for winter.

In Germany, the Model 3 from Tesla has been available since the beginning of 2019. However, the mid-range electric car has been in production since July 2017. With more than 500,000 units sold, the smallest Tesla has now become the best-selling electric car in the world; in Switzerland, the Model 3 was sold more than 8,500 times. In the 2020 registration statistics, it came in fourth place at the end of November – and is thus ahead of the VW Golf!

After more than three years of construction, most manufacturers are planning a major facelift. But at Tesla, as usual, things are a little different. Since its launch in Europe, the Model 3 has been continuously and automatically improved with numerous free "over-the-air updates". Since then, more than 70 improvements and new functions have come into the car: from blind spot warning to new games on the touchscreen to a slight increase in performance. Almost everything can be realized with this car via the software.

However, Tesla has now adjusted some details; Since the end of October, the Model 3 has been rolling off the assembly line with a slight revision. The window trims, which are no longer chrome-look but matt black, are immediately recognizable. The interior is also less shiny: Instead of piano lacquer, which is sensitive to scratches and fingerprints, there are now also matte surfaces and a revised center console with an integrated wireless charging option for two smartphones. In addition, Tesla has given the Model 3 an electric tailgate and soundproof double glazing on the front side windows.

The most important innovation is initially noticeable by a slightly reduced front trunk. Because here Tesla is now installing a heat pump instead of the previous high-voltage heating. A heat pump compresses the coolant in a closed circuit. The high pressure generates heat that is used to heat the battery and interior. The biggest advantage of this system: It consumes significantly less electricity. In an e-car, this ensures lower consumption and thus a longer range in wintry conditions.

Tesla Model3 - Marathon in ice and snow-marathon

The Tesla Model3 on the Julier Pass.

Test in cold reality

According to the WLTP standard, which is determined at an ambient temperature of 23 degrees, the Model 3 “Long Range” with all-wheel drive should cover 580 kilometers with one battery charge. In order to test how close the Californian e-car comes to the factory specification in the Swiss winter, the battery is fully charged on the supercharger in Dietikon ZH. The on-board computer announces a range of 532 kilometers, which calculates with a fixed programmed average consumption and thus does not take into account the temperature or the route. If you want a more precise forecast, you will receive this after the navigation system has calculated the route. The first intermediate destination should be the Julier Pass; 204 kilometers away, almost 1900 meters above sea level – and snow-covered at temperatures well below freezing. The computer predicts 36% battery charge on arrival at the pass.

On the motorway towards Chur, consumption levels off at around 18 kWh/100 km. This would make around 400 kilometers possible with one battery charge (75 Wh) – a remarkable value at an outside temperature of around 5 degrees and on winter tires. But now the real challenge awaits the e-car: the inclines from Tiefencastel up to the Julier Pass. At the Marmorera reservoir, consumption has already increased to over 20 kWh/100 km, the battery is still 44% full. On the last 600 meters to the top of the pass, consumption increases even further to around 22 kWh/100 km – and the promised 36% battery is on the display.

We continue our journey in the direction of St.Moritz. When driving down, the Tesla can recover some energy, so that we arrive at the ski resort with the same battery level. There would be a Tesla fast charging station there. But the ambition is aroused: is the battery charge enough for the way back to the flat country? After all, this should be significantly less energy-intensive. Our goal is the Tesla Supercharger in Affoltern am Albis; the first location in Switzerland where American e-cars with a charging capacity of up to 250 kW can be recharged; This is how the battery gets enough energy for 100 kilometers in five minutes. But first it means: arrive.

The navigation system automatically recommends a stopover at the Supercharger in Maienfeld. But we deliberately omit it, reducing the heating to 19 instead of 21 degrees for the first time and staying a little below the permitted maximum speed. The Tesla rolls onto the charging station with 1 percent residual power in the battery – after 430 kilometers without charging!

Tesla Model3 - Marathon in ice and snow-marathon

430 kilometers without a charging stop! In the best case, the Tesla charges a range of 100 kilometers in five minutes. After the extreme test, however, the battery is cold and the speed has to be throttled.

Tesla Model 3LR

Engine: 2× e-machine

Power: 440 hp/493 Nm

Drive: auto 1 speed, 4×4

L×W×H: 4694×1849×1436mm

trunk volume: 425L

Weight: 1847kg

0-100km/h: 4.4 sec.

Vmax: 233km/h

Range WLTP: 580 km

Price: from 54990 francs

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