Tesla Model 3 Aero Wheels Said To Improve Range By 10 Per Cent

Many things about the Tesla Model 3 are unique and that extends to an eye-catching set of wheels the electric sedan can be specified with.

Leading up to the car’s global premiere last month, a number of prototypes were seen with wheels almost fully enclosed. They don’t look pretty. However, as we’ve just come to learn, they are about function, not form.

During Monterey Car Week, a member of the Tesla Motors Club stumbled upon a Model 3 at a supercharger and as it turns out, it was owned by the automaker’s vice president of engineering and he revealed something interesting about the so-called aero wheels.

According to the VP, they measure 18-inch and can improve range by approximately 10 per cent, a respectable figure when you consider how much of a minor change it may seem to be.

At the Model 3’s July launch, the vast majority of the 30 examples handled over to Tesla employees were fitted with the much more attractive spoked-wheels, indicating that most owner are willing to sacrifice a couple dozen miles of range for a prettier design.

Now that we know about the impacts of the aero wheels, it seems probable that Tesla’s range figures for the sedan are quoted for those fitted with them. If that’s the case, the majority of Model S owners perhaps shouldn’t expect to achieve the 220 miles quoted for the entry-level model and the 310 miles of the Model 3 Long Range.

PHOTO GALLERY

  • Jay

    Not ugly but I’m glad there optional.

  • Dennis James

    I am still amazed on how Tesla could eliminate all the dashboard buttons. I very much appreciate the bold move, but I think that while humans still have fingers and tactile sense, some physical buttons could enhance the ergonomy.

    • Knotmyrealname

      I still don’t get those seats. It looks like someone over-inflated them.

  • Matchbox Tesla

    Makes it look like a Matchbox model, but if they do as they say, then all the better.

  • SamuraiJack

    I call bs. Manufacturers spend millions in r&d to get fractions of a percent improvement in range. There’s no way you can get 10% extra by just changing the wheels

    • McF1

      Agreed. I imagine that the VP was only kidding to the member by saying 10% better mileage, but unfortunately the member took it as fact. Or maybe the aerodynamics of those wheels is 10% better than the standard wheels, which doesn’t equate to 10% better mileage.

  • TheBelltower

    If it’s mostly driven in city or gridlock traffic, the aero wheels probably don’t add much to the range. But for highway driving, I can see how these would help. In the early 80s, the Trans Am had aero wheel covers over the alloys. KITT had them. Not sure if it was anything more than a gimmick. Eventually Pontiac abandoned the concept and fitted more conventional designs.

  • Bash

    BS

  • DuDE

    +10% range and +100% ugly

  • Arthur Burnside

    Anyone who makes a blanket statement like “10% improvement” is obviously not much of an engineer when it comes to aero effects,which are NOT linear, which means that any effects at , say, 60 miles per hour, will be only a very small fraction (negligible) of that at 30 MPH. As to their practicality, you would have to do an awful lot of long distance travel (at Interstate speeds) before they would be of much benefit, if then. The aero wheel covers are so hideously ugly that I can’t see many owners ever wanting to be seen in the car with them attached.

  • I’D RATHER TAKE A BIT LESS RANGE.

  • Six Thousand Times

    Too ugly. Get some Bonneville discs and you’re there.

  • GobbleUp

    Hideous.
    Drive a Prius instead.
    Buy a Tesla for performance and not the fugly model 3.

  • DJ

    OK. those interior pics. How do you get in and out of the back seat ? Do you have to crawl in so as not to bash your head on the door opening ?

  • KidRed

    However, they lower the visually appealing factor by 75%.

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