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A call for tire industry contacts

Discussion in 'Model S: Driving Dynamics' started by bluetinc, Aug 10, 2012.

  1. bluetinc

    bluetinc Member

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    MD
    Mods, I'm posting this here because this question is central to the Models (21" wheels), but if there is a better place for it please feel free to move it.

    In the vein of multiple ways to skin a cat I have been looking into finding out how large of an order needs to be placed with a tire manufacturer to get them to add a new tire mold size to an existing line of tires. It seems that many of the manufacturers have all season tires that are near the 245/35/21 tires that the Model S wears, and it seems like it would not be incredibly difficult for them to add that specific size. So my first generic question is how large of an order would I need to place to make this happen, 1,000, 10,000, 100,000?

    Unfortunately, I've found it very difficult to find the correct person to talk with at any tire company and the cs reps have not been interested in connecting me to the correct person. I just get a generic answer that they will make tire sized when they feel there is a demand... If anyone here either is in, or has a good contact in, the tire industry, I would be very interested in talking with them about this.

    Thanks!

    Peter
     
  2. Todd Burch

    Todd Burch Electron Pilot

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    Jerry33...Your response is needed!
     
  3. jerry33

    jerry33 S85 - VIN:P05130 - 3/2/13

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    This depends on the tire manufacturer. Some will do small specialty runs and others take some time to produce a new size. There are several considerations:

    1. How close is it to an existing size. For example, in some cases a different size can be made by using a different measuring rim and changing the markings. (Of course, this isn't as quite good as a mold set made for a specific size but it's fast and cheap).

    2. Is the manufacturer set up to produce specialty/branded tires? (It took Sears ordering over 1,000,000 tires to make Michelin produce tires that were branded Sears--and that was in the 1970s).

    3. Does the tire manufacturer have extra capacity?

    4. Will making the new size create enough revenue to ensure a profit? Or will the new size generate goodwill/publicity? (Obviously the former is more important than the latter unless you can do a very good selling job)

    5. How far in advance does the tire manufacturer schedule production? (It's often longer than one year). The top tier manufacturers make their own molds and designing a new one is a non-trival task (although it's less time consuming now with computerized tools than it used to be where machinists made the molds by hand--and this is still done in some cases).

    It might easier to go through the technical department rather than through the sales department. The technical department generally has a shorter command chain and can sometimes get the ball rolling sooner--particularly if you can get one of the engineers interested in the Tesla.

    But even in the best case, it might be a couple of years before you see any results (unless someone is already working on it).

    And bear in mind that a wide low-profile tire is a poor starting place for winter traction. Large aspect ratio and narrow tread width is far better.
     
  4. jerry33

    jerry33 S85 - VIN:P05130 - 3/2/13

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    Drove to Nebraska and back over the past 38 hours, so I've been out of touch.
     
  5. ChadS

    ChadS Petroleum is for sissies

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    Great idea, bluetinc. Jerry's injecting some reality, but if you follow through I'd think a good start might be to contact Continental and ask about their Continental Extreme Contact DWS. They already make the CEC DW (summer tire, so no "S" for Snow at the end) in a 245/35R21; in fact that's Tesla's stock tire for the 21" wheel, so Continental is very familiar with Tesla and with planned quantities for the car. And in another thread, somebody called Tire Rack about a good tire for the 19" and they recommended the CEC DWS.

    dhrivnak and I run the CEC DWS on our Roadsters and are VERY happy with wear, ride, noise, wet grip, etc. The only thing I worry about is if it has enough traction for a Model S Performance on dry pavement (it often does cause TC to come on in my Roadster under full acceleration on dry pavement).

    Unfortunately, no, I don't have any industry contacts, and it sure sounds like we wouldn't be getting them this winter in any event! Right now I'm leaning towards getting some 19" all-seasons, and putting moon discs on the 19's so it's a combination of winter tire and aero wheel.
     

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