Project Tesla – Dashing Through No Snow

In January we introduced something different than we’ve ever done before, our Ace Performance Project Tesla. (As I am writing this, it occurred to me that perhaps we should have a better name than “Project Tesla” for it?) While modified Teslas are nothing new, our modifications are meant increase winter weather, dirt road or trail performance, and increase functionality. Because this Tesla is leased, it will also require all those modifications to be easily reversible.

Our first run of modifications consisted of ceramic coating and window tint. We then replaced the stock rubber with Falken Wildpeak A/T Trail. Those tires are bit taller than factory tires and really push the limits of the maximum tire size that can be installed onto Model 3 without significant modifications.

New Mods…

Because this vehicle was meant to be a ski shuttle this winter, it needed a proper ski carrying outfit. We chose to go with a roof box because they’re versatile, easy to load, can be used for things other than skis, and look kind of cool. The box we chose was the Yakima GrandTour Lo. It is a spacious, fifteen cubic feet, but low-profile box with crossbar spread adjustable from 24 to 39.5 inches. It is also long enough to fit our long, 180cm-ish skis.

To mount this box to the car, we used OEM Tesla cross bars. Those aluminum bars mount in a much cleaner way than anything aftermarket. They were also very easy to install. Due to this vehicle’s design, specifically the way the trunk opens and the fixed locations of the crossbars, this 91-inch long cargo box looks like it sticks out over the windshield a lot more than it should. This was the only way to mount it.

Snowy-ish results…

Due to their weight and AWD, Teslas and many other EVs, are known for good winter driving dynamics. Combine that with the Wildpeak’s severe snow rating, this Tesla powered through the few days of snow storms and frost heaved roads, effortlessly. These tires also made the Model 3 look much cooler without having an impact on road noise or ride comfort. That’s a solid win.

Yes, the increased diameter and weight of the tires did have an impact on the range. The approximate range drop of three-to four-percent was not substantial or unexpected. We say approximate because all vehicles, EVs or not, suffer from economy/range drop in lower temperatures.

The roof box had a slightly greater impact on range than the tires did. Teslas are designed to be as aerodynamic as possible, so any addition to the frontal surface area or height has an instant impact. Surprisingly, there was no additional noise generated by cargo box. The big box may have cast a large shadow but it did so silently. 

Stay tuned for more…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The maximum upload file size: 64 MB. You can upload: image, audio, video. Links to YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and other services inserted in the comment text will be automatically embedded. Drop files here