Model S Provides Reliable Ride for Chicago Midwife, Even in Coldest Winter

By · January 09, 2014

Gayle-Riedmann and her Tesla Model S

Midwives need reliable transit. Gayle Ridemann has been very satisfied with her Tesla Model S.

Gayle Riedmann lives in Chicago, where temperatures have been hovering around zero degrees Fahrenheit at night. Nonetheless, Riedmann, who is a midwife, gets called out in the middle of the night for deliveries all the time. But when she got a call in the “wee hours of the morning” a few days ago to go the hospital, Riedmann didn’t worry about leaving her warm house for a cold car because she owns a Model S.

“I went to the Tesla app on my phone and turned on the car,” Riedmann told PluginCars.com. “I put on my scrubs and coat and by the time I went to the car it was warm. Outside it was 14 below. The Model S is worth it for that heating feature alone.”

She worried a bit about the Model S not starting in Chicago’s cold winters—and this winter has been exceptionally frigid. But that hasn’t been a problem at all, said Riedmann. She even left it out of the garage, parked in front of her house, in zero degree weather once, said Riedmann. “I worried it wouldn’t start, but it started with no problem,” she said.

Running the heater does cut down on the Model S range a bit, said Riedmann. And, the regenerative braking disables if the car isn’t warmed up. So if she is going to drive around town on a cold day, instead of charging to 125 miles range she will add 180 miles, said Riedmann. She is able to do that because the Model S allows you to charge on a sliding scale, said Riedmann. “My car is adequately charged at all times,” she said.

What has most surprised her is what a great snow car the Model S has turned out to be. “I was anxious about driving in the snow,” she said. But the rear-wheel-drive Model S has been “wonderful,” said Riedmann. It doesn’t slide around, and when she drove over a high piles of snow and got momentarily stuck, Riedman “reversed and it pulled right out,” she said. And though she can’t control how others drive in the snow, “I feel very safe in this car,” said Riedmann.

Love At First Sight

Riedmann took delivery of her Model S last March, about a year after she put down a deposit on it at the Tesla store in Oak Brook, Ill. It is the first time she has owned an electric vehicle. Her last car was a Mercedes SUV.

The Tesla was sort of an impulse buy. “I had been looking for a new car for some time,” she said. “I wanted to get something green, reduce my carbon footprint.” She walked into the Tesla store and “instantly fell in love with the car,” said Riedmann, 56. She put down the $5,000 deposit that day.

Riedmann doesn’t suffer from range anxiety. She bought the Model S version with an 85 kilowatt battery pack and can travel 265 miles on a single charge. She has driven it 200 miles to Springfield without a worry, said Riedmann. That kind of long distance travel “involves a little planning, but it has not been an issue for me ever,” she said.

Oak Park, the Chicago suburb where Riedmann lives, also has a lot of free public charging. Her business garage has free spots, as does her gym, said Riedmann. She installed a 240V outlet in her home garage and plugs in there to charge at night.

Though there are a lot of EVs on the road in Oak Park, including half a dozen Teslas, she hasn’t faced any competition at public charging stations, Riedmann added. She loves her Model S. “This was my big extravagance for the last 20 years,” said Riedmann. “It is such a fun car to drive.”

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