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My understanding is that the motors have enough force to pop open even iced over. Not sure if they will respond to the pressure touch to open but the double tap on the fob should break the ice off.
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I asked about the handles yesterday at the Tesla Gallery in Natick. The rep clearly had researched the answer: the heated handles are out, because that added one more thing to break. Instead, Tesla oomphed up the power of the motor that pops out the handles. I was told that the handles can crack through up to 8mm of ice. (One more example of using electric motor torque to good advantage.)
Sounds like they've sent the word around about that one... a Ranger told me the same thing. Sounds like a non-issue. At 8 mm thick you would have serous trouble opening the door even with the handle extended. (It's extremely rare to get that much freezing rain at once, but I did have it happen once. Took half an hour to get into the car.)
With my Audi A3, I've once had to crawl in through the rear hatch, as all of the doors were iced over. With the MS, I imagine that 15 minutes of preheating the cabin via the smartphone app will be very helpful with clearing the door seals of ice.
I've asked Tesla Ownership experience about this issue, and their response is that the car has been extensively tested in the cold, and no issues with the handles. Recent snowstorm in NY with 7" of snow and the car left in a lot during the storm had no issues with the handles. A suggestion would be to pick up a small butane torch ($15.00) at a Home Depot, and keep it handy. You can heat up the outer handle in pinch.
Otherwise you can hold the key fob roof button down for 4 seconds and all the windows should roll down, and you can open the door with the inside door latch. No so great if the car is caked in snow, but beats being locked out.
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