Recently, I have noticed Tesla has stopped offering the rear wheel drive option for both Model S and Model X cars. The rear wheel option is now only available on the Model 3 with the mid range battery. This is the lowest range battery available on the Model 3.
The rear wheel drive cars have a single electric motor in the back and the all wheel drive cars have two electric motors in the front and back.
I am not sure why Tesla has decided to discontinue this option. I believe this option made at least Model S more appealing to the drivers who like the more sportier handling.
Some German car manufacturers such as BMW is still offering its 5 series with the rear-wheel drive option.
Personally, I wanted to purchase the rear wheel Model S for its handling and also I believe there is less electric hissing or whining noise. Specifically, the D (dual motor) models experience more electric whining noise from the front motors than the rear wheel drive models. Also, I believe with the D models, the car is programmed to be front motor biased for most of the time with rear motor being on for certain situations. This also saves on energy and this is why the D models have a little more range.
The rear wheel Model S is a super quite car however my rear passengers do occasionally complain about hearing electric whining noise. Some people can tolerate this noise and others cannot stand it. This is not a typical growling ICE engine noise.
EPA for the rear wheel Model S 2017 with 75 kwh battery is 249 miles with curb weight of 4,410 lb (2,000 kg).
EPA for the Model S 2017 75 D is 259 miles with curb weight of 4,608 lb (2,090 kg).
The D models have extra 10 miles even though the rear wheel models have a single motor and weight almost 200 lb less than D models. This is a great achievement for Tesla. I think this has to do with the fact that in the D models the front electric motor is smaller and is being used for longer than the rear, more heavier motor. Smaller electric motor consumes less energy.
RWD Winter Driving
My experience with winter driving here in Philadelphia area has been different every year. Last several years, we have been getting a lot of freezing rain and ice. This created some problems with the daily commute but not so much due to the rear-wheel setup. Model S has a very good traction system and it helps most of the time. I mainly experienced problems controlling the power. In regular ICE car with geared transmission, you can choose lower gears when driving up and down the heels. I feel this lets me control the car better when driving on ice or snow: higher revs and slower speed combination. In Model S, since there is no gears to change, I need to carefully modulate the power pedal to achieve the power setting similar to the 2nd gear in the ICE car.
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