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Wheel Size fuel economy?

Discussion in 'Design' started by Ross Gressick, Aug 23, 2017.

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  1. Ross Gressick

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    out of all the site i look at that discussed the Model 3 wheels, what hasn't been discussed is the fuel economy of the different sizes.

    My question is what would the different in fuel economy between the 18 vs 19 inch wheels?
    We know for the S and X they shows the range difference you would see between its 2 wheel sizes. But what hasn't been mentioned is the difference between the 18 and the 19 in.

    Does the 18in give better range but less grip and rougher ride compare to the 19 in? by what degree? is it just all about looks?
     
  2. Larry Bond

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  3. SSonnentag

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    #3 SSonnentag, Aug 23, 2017
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2017
    In general, the taller the sidewall, the smoother the ride. Short sidewalls give better cornering response as there is less sidewall roll. Taller sidewalls give better hookup for jackrabbit starts.

    18" Pros
    1. Should weight slightly less (more range)
    2. Quieter
    3. Less puncture prone
    4. Less chance of wheel damage with potholes (curbs? Hopefully not an issue.)
    5. Better foul weather traction
    6. Aero covers (more range)
    7. Drag racing hookup
    8. Smoother Ride
    9. Cheaper Tires
    10. Longer Wear
    11. $1500 in your bank account
    19" Pros
    1. Arguably look better
    2. Improved handling
     
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    • Gabzqc

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      Well that settles it, 18in for me!
       
    • SSonnentag

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      For me too. That just too much to give up for a bit of looks and minor handling improvement. Besides, I'm starting to like the looks of the aeros. :)
       
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      • Gabzqc

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        Besides, they are on the "thank you" letter from Elon...
         
      • Sandy

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        This is from 2010 but covers it quite well:

        http://www.caranddriver.com/features/effects-of-upsized-wheels-and-tires-tested
         
      • Ross Gressick

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        I do agree.
        I was just wondering if we had any actual numbers yet.

        But ~10% more range over the 19in tires is a good number.
        But if you get ~10% more range on a 300 mile range car, that ~30 more miles. That makes a BIG different.
         
      • SSonnentag

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        • Sandy

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          #10 Sandy, Aug 30, 2017
          Last edited: Aug 30, 2017
          The other thing that hasn't been brought up yet is the tires.

          The Michelin's on the 18" are Green X LRR (low rolling resistance) with a 500 AA (500 is tread life and the A A is temperature and traction).

          The Conti's Pro Contact on the 19's have a 400 A A rating and an XL rating (extra load) but not so much LRR.

          Soooo, Tesla has maximized the tire for the standard battery. The 500 wear index helps it achieve the LRR designation (slightly harder rubber). The aero cover gives the wheel/tire combo the best solution to maximize range. The 19" on the LR battery are still great tires! I have them on my Escape. The XL has more to do with the extra weight due to the battery.
          Disclaimer, I'm not an expert. I learned a lot about about wheels, tires and rubber compounds racing motorcycles and open tracking cars on road courses.
           
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          • Twiglett

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            • Thomas Mikl

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              I totally agree 18'' and Aeros will give you better efficiency.

              What I do not understand is how they get 10% better efficiency.
              Now of course these Aero covers might have some inherent aerodynamic effect that I cannot see from just looking at them without wind tunnel data. but my gut tells me that 5-6% would be pushing the laws of physics.

              Or maybe his comment was generous and he was thinking 5% with covers off and another 3% when you go 19'' wheels, lets tell them 10%?

              However the 19'' seem to have a turbine design that could or could not be aerodynamic, so it is even possible that the 19'' has same or better efficiency than the 18'' with covers off, due to better aerodynamics?

              God I need more data... hehe
              This is a physicists nightmare... speculating without sufficient data...
               
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              • SSonnentag

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                I tend to agree with your hunch, Thomas Mikl, that the 10% number is a rounded up number tossed out there for lack of time or interest by the engineer to go into great detail in explaining the real efficiency benefit breakdown. Smaller, lighter wheels, lower rolling resistence tires, and aero covers all add together. Not likely to come out to exactly 10%, but if the numbers are really 7.34% and you casually throw out a number to a curious bystander, 10% is an easy number to spew.
                 
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                • SoFlaModel3

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                  Is there someone arguing that the 18" aero rims look better than the 19" sport rims? ;)
                   
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                  • John

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                    Still hoping they offer another 18" alternative. If they offered a wheel that was a shrunken version of the 19" sport version, that would be perfect. I'd trade 5% highway range for that (which you can get back by driving 5 mph slower, probably, when you need it).
                     
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                    • Michael Russo

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                      Me too, yet something tells me a sizeable chunk of those like @SoFlaModel3 and me who can't stomach the UWCs and are thus prepared to fork out the $1,500, would reduce T≡SLA 's margin on the car by close to a grand!! ;). So, unlikely... IMHO...
                       
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                      • arnis

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                        Yea. I was also surprised on that. So I was thinking for a while.
                        And "up to" might literally mean up to. We know what happens when we go faster.
                        And I think it is totally reasonable to believe 10% range gain is at top speed. Also 10%
                        might also include rubber compound (rolling resistance): 19" likely have softer mix.
                        In city, there will be hardly a percent of difference*. Mostly due to 18" wheels being very light (they have
                        actually minimal amount of metal, which is good for economy, no matter caps on or off). Turbine
                        wheels look really meaty. Which is not good.

                        AFAIK, both tires have the same width and circumference. This means rolling resistance and drag area is almost same.

                        *same tire compound
                         
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                        • ReD eXiLe

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                          OK... So, a show of hands? Who will be changing their cars over to 16" steel wheels with 195/60R16 tires inflated to 60 psi? Uhm... Hello? HelloooOOOoo? Is this thing on?
                           
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                          • JWardell

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                            I am curious to find out what smaller sizes are possible, for the purpose of getting a set of winter wheels (which perform better in snow with smaller/thinner sizes, not to mention cost much less).
                             
                          • arnis

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                            Unfortunately it looks like majority of 17" wheels will not fit due to front brake caliper. Maybe some slimmer wheels will. I doubt.
                            Playing with tire width on 18" might result in small speed reading error. 10mm reduction is not worth the hassle.
                             

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