Hidden design details that will make you want Tesla’s Model 3 even more
Hundreds of thousands of Tesla fans have been throwing money at the company tobuy its cheapest electric car yet, securing their place in line to purchase the Model3. Many of them preordered the car even before Tesla revealed its design andspecs. In the meantime, almost everything is known about the Model 3 at this point,but a new report reveals hidden design details that might make Tesla’s new Model3 one of the best electric cars money can buy in any price range. At least, for thetime being.
Tesla’s Model 3 has to have a smaller battery to be more affordable than othermodels, but that doesn’t mean it’ll have reduced range. Tesla already said thatModel 3 should be able to travel over 215 miles on a single charge of a batterythat’s smaller than 60 kWh. How is it possible? Aerodynamics.
Elon Musk also said that Model 3 will have a 0.21 Cd drag coefficient, which wouldmake the car the most aerodynamic mass production car ever made, according toElectrek.
Tesla’s Model S and Model X already achieved the lowest drag coefficients in theirrespective segments, but Model 3 will be even better. How is that possible? Exa’svice president of ground transportation application Ales Alajbegovic speculated onthe aerodynamic design of Model 3, suggesting that certain design lines – like thatugly grille – are intentional choices meant to reduce drag.
Tesla is rumored to use Exa’s digital simulation tool to develop its cars, but Exadoesn’t have access to results of those tests.
“Tesla uses Exa’s PowerFLOW digital simulation software in-house to design itscars,” the exec said. “We don’t see the process, but by analyzing the cars that Muskunveiled at the end of March, we can see where Tesla has innovated.”
He then explained that some of the design lines Tesla used in wheels and grille areall backed up by aerodynamics principles intended to make the car more efficient.These design tricks might make the Model 3 appear “ugly” when compared toother cars, but they’re key to making sure the car can offer incredible range in spiteof a smaller battery.
“The differing turbine-blade styling not only comes across as fresh and appealing,but it also directs the flow of the air under the body of the car to reduce drag,”Alajbegovic said about the wheels. “That’s smart. Tesla could have used an activeaero solution that closed the vanes on the wheels at speed, but they chose not to. Infact, it appears there are no active aero devices on the Model 3, which reduces thecost of making it.”
He then went on to explain the grille shape.
“Here only the shape remains. A more wedged front end, such as used by rear-engined Porsches, might well be more desirable aerodynamically, but Tesla couldbe using the grille shape with its rounded edges to control the air flow over the topor round the sides of the car,” Alajbegovic said.
He continued, “The Model 3 also employs air curtains in the lower fender that exitahead of the front tires to provide a drag-reducing air stream over the wheels,while helping the flow transition smoothly around the sides of the vehicle,” he said.“The underbody is likely to be flat and smooth, ending with a rear diffuser to controlthe air coming from under the car.”
How important is aerodynamics? The exec said that by reducing drag from 0.32 to0.24 – which seems like a minimal improvement – Tesla managed to increase therange by 50 miles.
So, before you complain about the Model 3’s design, best remember that thecompany may have compromised on style so that you can afford to purchase a carthat drives for more than 200 miles on a charge. Knowing how much skill andexpertise went into these design elements makes you wonder what other surprisesare in store, and it might make you want Tesla’s Model 3 even more.