In 2020, Tesla Announced a new wheel and tire package called the winter tire package. The winter tires are, according to Tesla, supposed to provide maximum safety and grip when driving in wet or dry conditions, and on icy or snow-covered roads. The tires will provide or, as Tesla puts it, guarantee a high level of traction, stability, and breaking efficiency at temperatures lower than 45F.
But what exactly is this winter tire package? What options are there? Is it worth it?
In this article, I will be answering all the questions around the Tesla Model Y winter tires package so that you can make informed decisions around it.
Should You Switch Out Your Tires in Winter?
If you must drive in snowy, wet, or just extremely cold weather conditions, then getting winter tires is a wise decision to make. You see, standard tires are not optimised for driving in snowy or wet conditions.
The right winter tire offers short ice and snow stopping distances thanks to the exceptional grip provided by having full-depth 3D sipes. This results in an increased claw effect on snow and ice, and long-lasting biting edges. So, basically, good winter tires will make your life a lot easier and safer when you’re going on your winter road trips.
This, of course, does not mean that you need to switch out your tires every winter. The winter tires are also suitable for use in dry weather conditions. So, if you get winter tires, then they are a good investment for any weather condition that you may have to drive in.
In the same vein, the winter tires only make sense if you will be doing significant driving in snowy and very-wet conditions. Remember that they are a significant investment to the tune of $2500, at the least.
What Type of Winter Tires Are There?
Officially, from Tesla, there are three types of winter tires available for Tesla Model Y vehicles. They include:
- Model Y 19 inch Gemini wheel and Pirelli winter tire
- Model Y 20 inch Induction wheel and Pirelli winter tire
- Model Y 21 inch Uberturbine wheel and winter package
As I said earlier, the list above represents the official winter packages from Tesla. It is immediately obvious that these packages are done in collaboration with tire makers, Pirelli.
This does not mean that other tire makers do not make winter tires that are compatible with Tesla Model Y wheels. In the next section below, I will be presenting you with the best types of winter tires for Tesla Model Y.
But, for now, here are a few things that you need to know before switching out your tires for a winter tire:
- For the Model Y 19-inch wheels, the winter tire is not compatible with Model Y performance dual-motor, all-wheel drive configured with 21-inch performance wheels.
- Model Y 21-inch Uberturbine wheel and tire is only compatible with the Model Y performance Dual motor, all-wheel drive configured with 21-inch performance wheels
- Winter tires from Tesla come as a complete package of four wheels and four tires. If you wish to purchase a single wheel or tire, then contact the Tesla service centre that is closest to you.
Best Types of Winter Tire
So, Tesla partnered with Pirelli to bring the winter tires package, but this does not mean that Pirelli are the DeFacto best winter tire brand out there. According to my tests and extensive research, there are other excellent winter tire products out there and I have listed some of the best below.
1. Michelin X-Ice Snow
It’s no wonder that most Tesla owners that do a lot of driving in snowy conditions make use of the Michelin X-Ice snow tire. I will stop short of calling this the best product, but it really excels even in the harshest snow conditions on the road.
Recall when I talked about full-depth 3D sipes and long-lasting biting edges? I was talking about this product from Michelin.
Featuring FleX-Ice 2.0 compound and MICHELIN EverWinterGrip rubber inclusion technology, you are guaranteed excellent ice braking, even after several winters. These inclusions are designed to generate micro-roughness on the tire surface for enhanced traction on snow and ice, so that you have excellent extra grip in harsh conditions, for several years.
It also offers advanced hydroplaning performance. What Michelin have done is to introduce a new, thorough winter tread design with increased void ratio and V-shaped tread pattern to provide much better resistance to hydroplaning, as well as enhanced snow, slush, and wet evacuation.
- Superb traction in winter road conditions
- Long lasting winter thread
- Smooth ride in wet and snowy road conditions
- Improved fuel efficiency
2. Toyo Observe G3
Designed for tough winter conditions, the Observe G3-Ice combines excellent performance with driving comfort.
What I like about this product is that even though it already designed for snowy roads, you can still enhance its capabilities using studs for added traction on ice and compacted snow. It also has optimized stud hole placement to deliver better traction and a quieter ride with fewer studs.
Observe G3 is compatible with TSMI #11 studs
- Improves traction as ground walnut shells dig and bite into the snow and ice.
High-silica Winter Compound
- Ensures tread blocks remain flexible in lower temperatures.
- Enhances wet braking and handling even in lower temperatures.
Optimized Stud Hole Placement
- Improves road contact and traction with fewer studs.
- Reduces noise, resulting in a quieter ride.
- Able to accept TSMI #11 studs to aid in ice traction.
Large U-shaped Tread Blocks With Saw-tooth Edge
- Grab onto the snow for better traction and braking.
GRAB ONTO THE SNOW FOR BETTER TRACTION AND BRAKING.
- Provides better traction during cornering and braking.
High Density 3d Multi-wave Sipes
- Improve traction on ice and compact snow during cornering, braking and acceleration.
- Increase tread block rigidity.
What I think? Snow and winter traction are excellent. However, thread life, ride comfort, dry handling and wet handling are considerably inferior to the Michelin X-Ice.
3. Continental VikingContact 7
This product is designed for Nordic winter conditions and that should say something. The continental VikingContact 7 delivers on its promise of excellent grip, braking, cornering, and tracking stability on slippery roads.
It also uses protective Technologies that ensure a smooth and safe ride, including:
- ContiSeal and SSR system to make sure that you arrive safely at your destination even if the tire is punctured. And you wouldn’t even need to stop to change tires.
- ContiSilent to reduce noise in the interior of the vehicle no matter the road condition outside.
4. Pirelli Sottozero 3
This is Tesla’s choice and for good reason. The Sottozero 3 is specifically designed for modern, high-end, premium vehicles. As a matter of fact, it is developed in collaboration with top vehicle OEMs.
Although this is not in itself a guarantee of excellence, it is a guarantee of relevance. But don’t worry about excellence: this product also scores top marks.
For comfort, as well as snow, wet, and dry driving conditions, this tire excels.
It features the 3D sipes technology, wider grooves, higher sipes density, directional double arrows pattern, and functionalised, proprietary compounds.
- Excellent grip in winter
- Higher traction on snow
- Excellent wet handling and braking
- Improved handling on dry road condition, reducing the braking distance
Types of Winter Tires
If you are confused about what types of winter tires there are, the simple answer is there aren’t any types per say.
When making the decision on which winter tire to buy, all you need to consider is the size of your wheels and tires. That’s of course, in addition to the quality of the product you are purchasing. Other than that, the different winter tires are simply different products from different brands, with their different sizes. For example, the tires I listed in the section above come in different sizes, so you can buy one for your Tesla whether your wheels are 19, 20, or 21 inches.
What Size Should Your Tesla Model Y Winter Tire Size Be?
The size of your Tesla Model Y winter tire should match the size of the wheels on the vehicle. You just need to make sure that if you are switching out for a higher tire size, then you also must purchase the corresponding wheel for it.
For the wheels, here are a few facts that I think you should know:
Tesla’s wheel options include the Gemini, Induction, and Performance wheels. The Gemini and Induction are grouped as long-range wheel options, and are more popular among users because of their relative affordability. Here’s why:
- The long-Range option provides a lot longer range than the Performance option. For the Long Range, a single charge takes you 330 miles. You also get 0 to 60 miles per hour acceleration in 5 seconds.
- For performance wheels, a single charge gets you 303 miles, but you can go from 0 to 60 miles per hour in 3.5 seconds.
- While the performance wheels offer better acceleration and, perhaps, aesthetics, the long-range wheels offer better range, durability, and stability.
- And there’s the small issue of cost. On a Model Y, for example, the performance wheel options costs $8000 more than the long-range option.
The long-range option variations are 19” Gemini and 20” Induction. For more on Gemini vs Induction wheels, you can check out the article I wrote earlier.
Where to Buy Tesla Model Y Winter Tires?
You can purchase Tesla Model Y tires directly from Tesla here. Or, you can contact your closest Tesla service centre to make a purchase.
If you do not want a Pirelli, you can buy other winter tires from Amazon, the tire manufacturer, or your local car shop.