Tesla AWD vs. RWD: differences and different Tesla models

Electric vehicles are becoming more and more popular among people, especially Tesla cars because, in terms of performance, these vehicles are not only not inferior, but even better in some ways than conventional cars.

Tesla RWD and AWD stand for Tesla with rear-wheel drive and with an all-wheel drive system. These two systems are used in Tesla models and for many users, the question is: which is better to choose the control of all the wheels or the rear wheel?

In this article, we will analyze what are the differences between Tesla AWD vs. RWD systems, what are the advantages of Tesla AWD, and how these systems perform in different Tesla models.

tesla awd vs. rwd

What are the differences between Tesla AWD and RWD? 

To understand which system is better for electric vehicles: all-wheel drive or rear-wheel drive, it is worth understanding what differences there are between them. Below, you can find a list of areas in which Tesla cars AWD and RWD perform differently.

Speed performance

We’ll start with a basic criterion that is used to identify the features of any mechanical system.

This criterion is speed.

In this regard, AWD is a more profitable option, since indeed cars with this system can gain more speed. This is due to uniform power distribution.

The rear-wheel drive system uses all the power pressure on the rear wheels, making it harder to gain speed as only half of the wheels are engaged. What’s more, when making sharp turns with the RWD system, it will be more difficult for the driver to regain a smooth ride.


The cost of these two systems is also different. All-wheel drive Tesla is the original expensive option, which at the same time requires expensive maintenance.

Tesla RWD is the best option for those who do not want to overpay for a Tesla car and are already used to the standard price tags for electric recharging. In terms of cost, the RWD system is more affordable.

Snow traction control

Different weather conditions can also affect the behavior of the car, for example, winter driving will seem more difficult than spring driving. Of course, the first thing that will affect your driving is the season tires, such as summer or winter tires, but the driving systems also have an effect.

AWD, unlike Tesla RWD, as mentioned earlier, can properly execute power distribution, which is why you keep the vehicle control even in the cold season. Tesla RWD, due to the large flow of power to the rear of the wheel, on the contrary, makes driving unbalanced in the cold season.

Terrain performance

The Tesla RWD performs quite well in off-road terrain, however, the variation in places where you can drive with Tesla vehicles is much less than AWD.

The RWD model, unlike the AWD, does not have built-in mechanisms that help prevent it from getting stuck in natural conditions, such as dirt.


And finally, we will discuss the number of engines. There are two axles in total: front axle and rear axle, in which engines can be installed.

Tesla AWD is considered a system that has a dual motor system in the front and rear axle.

The location of the engines in the rear and front axle allows the machine to distribute power to all wheels evenly.

The RWD motor has one motor system, that is, one motor is installed in the car and only in the rear axle since more power should go exactly to the rear wheels.

Tesla AWD and RWD with different models 

Below, you can see how Tesla rear-wheel drive and Tesla all-wheel drive are now showing in different car models.

Tesla Model Y 

We’ll start with the Tesla Model Y, which can have both a dual-motor AWD system and a Standard range Rear-wheel drive.

All-wheel drive

The Tesla all-wheel drive model AWD is ideal for off-road use, as this machine has an even distribution of power, while the Model Y itself has increased ground clearance.

Standard range rear-wheel drive

RWD Tesla Y was one of Tesla’s doubts, but this kind of car was released anyway. The range of this car is very short, namely 250 miles, as there is no power distribution, however, such a vehicle is currently only available by special order.

Advantages and disadvantages

The upside of using the RWD model Y is the fact that this type of machine is considered unique, and the price was also affordable. The advantage of AWD Tesla vehicle Y is that you can safely drive this car off-road.

The disadvantage of the RWD Tesla Y is that the range was very small. AWD Tesla Y is quite expensive and hard to find.

Model S 

Tesla Model S does not use the Tesla rear-wheel drive system, as these models exclusively use all-wheel driving. The Model S is a big car that is best suited to those people who love quality and long rides.

Also, this car has two categories, Long-range and Plaid. Long-range AWD can be used just the same for long distances, however, in terms of speed, the Plaid AWD still has an advantage, as it can accelerate to 199 m/h. Plaid and Long range are good options for long car trips when you have limited time.

Advantages and disadvantages

The advantages of an AWD Tesla Model S are that you can use the car for long trips, you have a huge ride range, and enjoy the full power of the car. Moreover, the interior of the car itself, despite the installed two motors, is spacious.

The only huge disadvantage is the price of such a car and the difference in costs with the usual RWD model.

This option is not particularly relevant for people who use the car in everyday life for short distances and do not like to accelerate to maximum speed.

2021 Tesla Model S Plaid 4

Model X 

The Tesla Model X uses only Tesla’s AWD system and can reach a top speed of up to 155 mph. Unlike the Model S, this car is indeed heavier, but thanks to AWD, driving is not a big deal.

Also, this machine is quite spacious and has a large range, which allows you to fully experience the power of the dual motor system. With this machine, you can quite drive around in the wilderness, however, due to its severity, some problems may arise.

Advantages and disadvantages

To start with the advantages of this car, it is good to mention a rather large range of travel, about 329 miles. Also, this car can quickly gain and maintain high speed and the interior itself is roomy. Many users claim that, unlike the rear wheel models, the AWD Tesla X has a very unusual and modern interior.

The main disadvantage, of course, is the high price, as well as the fact that the car is heavier than other models, which can be a problem not only for beginners but also for experienced Tesla drivers. Since they are already used to a certain sense of weight and when they get into this car, it will be difficult for them to cope with the control in the wilderness.

Model 3 

There are three types of Tesla 3 models in total, namely Standard range, Long range, and Performance. The Standard range uses RWD, while Long-range and Performance use AWD.

All-wheel drive

Although the Model 3 Tesla all-wheel drive is less expensive than other models, the range is the brand’s pride, the Long Range is 349 miles and the Performance is about 329 miles. Speed ​​is also a good indicator of this model, as it is about 60 m/h.

Rear-wheel drive

RWD Tesla 3 has a range of about 266 miles and the speed can be up to 140 m/h. These figures largely coincide with AWD models, so we can say that the low price of the Tesla 3 Rear-wheel drive becomes an advantage. The acceleration speed of this model is 5.8 seconds.

Advantages and disadvantages

The advantages of the Tesla AWD 3 are a good power reserve and at the same time, the price is lower than other models.

Tesla RWD also has a nice price and shows good performance in terms of speed and range.

The disadvantage of the RWD Tesla Model 3 is that it is really difficult to drive such a car in a wild area. And AWD has limited free space in the car.

Is the all-wheel drive systems model better than the rear-wheel drive? 

Finally, we come to the main question of this article, namely whether the AWD model is better than the rear-wheel drive Tesla, not only in terms of traction control.

Below you can find a list of things where AWD vehicles have an advantage.


The maximum speed for rear-wheel drive and all-wheel drive depends on the model of the car, but the acceleration speed is better with AWD, as it is about 4 seconds, while the acceleration speed for RWD is about 5.8 seconds.

Sound system

Models with all-wheel drive often have a more advanced sound system than rear while drive vehicles, such as AWD, are considered a premium system.


As with the sound system, all-wheel drive vehicles can have a much nicer, more modern, and more expensive design than rear-wheel drive cars, since the all-wheel drive is added to expensive types of models, which means that AWD models are made with a good inner interior.

All the advantages of the AWD system can be criticized by one factor, namely, the value, since in case you use the car for ordinary short trips on a good road, you do not need to overpay.



Is Tesla AWD better than RWD?

All-wheel drive system indeed at some points may seem better than the RWD system, but it all depends on you and what you will be more comfortable with, as well as what model of the car you have, since these systems manifest themselves differently in different models of the same manufacturer.

How important is AWD in a Tesla?

AWD model in an electric car gives you the confidence that you can safely drive the car in completely different weather conditions and power acceleration is always under control and cannot become so sharp that it is difficult for you to drive.

Is RWD or AWD better for electric cars?

Tesla rear-wheel drive gives you plenty of engine power, but all-wheel drive is perfect for tough roads, so it also depends on your priorities as a driver.

Is Tesla AWD good in snow?

Yes, AWD Tesla vehicles are very confident in extremely cold conditions, as you actually have full control over the car, and you can’t get carried away due to wind or snow, plus your engine itself is being smoothed by AWD, which allows you to drive normally, even on the difficult type of road.


The electric car is an excellent solution for those people who sincerely do not want to pollute the environment and at the same time want to use their transport. However, to choose the right car for yourself, you need to understand what different systems and types of cars exist, such as rear-wheel and all-wheel drive Tesla.

We hope that after reading this article, you have a much better understanding of the differences between Tesla AWD and RWD, as well as how they manifest themselves in different models of the same manufacturer, and whether an AWD system is better than an RWD tesla system.

Also Read About “Testing” A “Full Self-Driving” Tesla In Detroit Snow

Cameron Mason

I have been fond of cars since childhood. I have always been interested in knowing the principle of their work, as well as the structure. Therefore, I liked to help my father dismantle cars and fix them. Then I went to college with a degree in mechanical engineering. After all, I decided to connect my life with cars.

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