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Carbon Fiber Rims

AngelArm1110

Member
Jan 14, 2015
65
52
Orillia Ontario
I've been living under a rock, because I just found out that Carbon Fiber Rims exist, and the first thought I had was how would these affect the performance of a Model S. I'm torn right down the middle between an 85D and a 70D, but taking either as a starting point, I was wondering if the more mechanically inclined on this forum could speculate on the possible benefits and detriments of such a modification
 
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Tdriver

Member
Jan 20, 2015
567
419
Palm Desert, CA
The lighter weight will reduce unsprung weight and that will improve your ride on less than perfect pavement......but they will be very very expensive. Many shops will probably not want to change tires with them.
 

mhpr262

Member
Sep 19, 2012
423
78
Old Europe
The wheels are the best place to start saving weight. There are multiple benefits - not only do you reduce unsprung weight and thus improve comfort and shock absorber performance, you also reduce overall weight of the car for better linear acceleration AND you reduce the spinning mass which ALSO improves acceleration.

I shudder at the cost of running into a pothole or into the curb, though ...
 
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RobStark

Well-Known Member
Jul 2, 2013
10,868
57,476
Los Angeles, USA
Vitesse-AuDessus hand laid custom carbon fiber wheel set $40k

Carbon Revolution set of 19's at $16k

pic6.jpg


ESE Carbon Company set of 19's at $8k

E1-img-shop.png



ese-carbon-e1-wheels-set-4-large.jpg
 

JST

Active Member
May 23, 2013
1,560
228
Have no idea if these will fit a Model S, but the 2016 Ford Shelby Mustang GT350R will be available with 19-inch carbon-fiber wheels. Don't know what they'll cost either...


Source: 2016 Ford Shelby Mustang GT350R First Ride | Autoblog.com

I'm pretty sure the bolt pattern is going to make those incompatible, but the fact that Ford is spec'ing them for a relatively mainstream product will no doubt drive prices on these components down. Should also answer questions about durability.
 

JER

Member
Apr 25, 2015
294
26
Bristol, UK
I heard of a European company making hybrid CF/Al rims with most of the mass advantage of CF and lower cost. Don't remember any details though.

Unsprung mass is indeed the best mass to shed on a car, but don't expect miracles from just shaving bit off the rims. CF is good, but it's not magic pixie dust.

I'd submit that if you're considering these but didn't delete the pano roof from your Model S order, you're officially insane. ;)
 

ERP

Ludicrous Member
Apr 17, 2015
112
36
Colorado Springs
I have a hard time seeing any Tesla owners splurging on carbon fiber rims. It sounds fantastic but is so cost prohibited, and the durability is unknown.

But you don't need to go carbon fiber or even forged aluminum to see significant weight savings. I have 21" non-staggered turbine wheels so I'm starting with a heavy setup. I need to put together a 19" winter set and here's what I've found.

21" Turbine Wheel: 35 lbs
Continental Tires: 27 lbs
Rotors: 29.5 lbs front, 28 lbs rear
Total Weight: 363 lbs, all four wheels, tires and rotors

19" OZ Wheels: 23 lbs - Not the absolute lightest wheels, but not unreasonably priced for the weight.
Michelin X-Ice tires: 28 lbs - Heavier than the continentals due to larger sidewall.
RB Two Piece Rotors: 21 lbs front, 16.4 lbs rear
Total Weight: 278.8 lbs

That is a savings of 84 lbs. A significant amount of rotating mass. I'd like to find an online calculator which shows the energy it takes to spin 84 lbs from 0 to 75 mph. The location of the mass moment of inertia is unknown so it would have to be estimated. I know a majority of that energy can be reclaimed through regenerative braking, but 20% or more is going to be wasted even in ideal conditions.
 
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RobStark

Well-Known Member
Jul 2, 2013
10,868
57,476
Los Angeles, USA
ESE E1 19x8.5 wheel weight is 11.5 lbs.

Buying light weight non-forged aluminum rims is asking for bent rims, particularly on a heavy Model S car. You can take the view they are cheap and you can buy several and it still cheaper than Carbon Fiber but there is also the hassle and performance difference.

No, we don't know long term reliability for fact. We also don't know the long term reliability of Model S battery pack and that does not stop some of us from spending $130k-$150k on a P85D or a P90DL.

We are talking early adopters that spend $$$ on new unproven tech. In that light $8k does not seem like a stretch for a set of wheels if you are the kind of person that previously purchased HRE or RUF wheels for you Porsche or Brabus wheels for your Merc.

The main reason I don't see a lot of P90DL owners buying carbon fiber wheels is because they don't know about them or think they all are hand laid $40k sets.
 

Zybane

Member
Oct 22, 2015
377
160
Washington D.C.
These wheels won't bend when you hit a big pothole. But will they just shatter? The consequences will be far worse than a mere bent wheel.

Carbon fiber will eventually shatter, but remember that occurs far after an aluminum wheel has been destroyed.

The modulus of carbon fiber is typically 20 msi (138 Gpa) and its ultimate tensile strength is typically 500 ksi (3.5 Gpa). High stiffness and strength carbon fiber materials are also available through specialized heat treatment processes with much higher values. Compare this with 2024-T3 Aluminum, which has a modulus of only 10 msi and ultimate tensile strength of 65 ksi, and 4130 Steel, which has a modulus of 30 msi and ultimate tensile strength of 125 ksi.
 

artsci

Sponsor
May 10, 2012
6,266
3,316
Timonium, Maryland
Carbon fiber will eventually shatter, but remember that occurs far after an aluminum wheel has been destroyed.

The modulus of carbon fiber is typically 20 msi (138 Gpa) and its ultimate tensile strength is typically 500 ksi (3.5 Gpa). High stiffness and strength carbon fiber materials are also available through specialized heat treatment processes with much higher values. Compare this with 2024-T3 Aluminum, which has a modulus of only 10 msi and ultimate tensile strength of 65 ksi, and 4130 Steel, which has a modulus of 30 msi and ultimate tensile strength of 125 ksi.

So the longevity of a carbon fiber wheel should not be a concern and given the data you cited the odds of pothole damage are far, far lower?
 

lolachampcar

Well-Known Member
Nov 26, 2012
6,093
7,387
WPB Florida
I went with TSW Nurburgrings which were about 20 lbs each and half the price of Tesla's 21" option even with the spare rim I bought (and I even got to use Pilot Super Sport rubber which I prefer). The extra 9 lb x 4 rims in rotational inertia and unsprung weight reduction is not worth the extra cost and exposure with carbon rims unless you (1) have too much money or (2) just love the idea of CF rims.
 

Zybane

Member
Oct 22, 2015
377
160
Washington D.C.
So the longevity of a carbon fiber wheel should not be a concern and given the data you cited the odds of pothole damage are far, far lower?

Correct.

I went with TSW Nurburgrings which were about 20 lbs each and half the price of Tesla's 21" option even with the spare rim I bought (and I even got to use Pilot Super Sport rubber which I prefer). The extra 9 lb x 4 rims in rotational inertia and unsprung weight reduction is not worth the extra cost and exposure with carbon rims unless you (1) have too much money or (2) just love the idea of CF rims.

Which size TSW's did you go with? 20 lbs sounds a bit low. According to TSW you don't drop down to 20 lbs until you get as small as 18" wheels:

Nurburgring Alloy Wheels by TSW
 

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