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Cete Automotive Active Suspension Control for Model S (smart air suspension)

bwherry

Member
May 24, 2019
123
55
Los Angeles, CA
Hi guys,

While I was researching wheels for my Model S (because wheels...) I found a thread with a wheel style I like installed on an Audi S8 and in the owner's post he mentioned that his car was lowered with the "Cete lowering module" - and I was all like, "WTF is the Cete lowering module?" So I looked it up. From what I gather it's basically a software interface that sits between the car's air suspension control/sensor subsystem and the main ECU/computer, so it's able to report that the car is higher than it actually is in order to get some additional lowering happening. And it's got a pretty slick mobile app that you use to change the ride height front/rear - connects to the module installed in the car via Bluetooth. Check out this video of a 2013 Audi S8 owner demonstrating some of the functionality:


Pretty cool, right? So I thought to myself, "I wonder if this thing is available for the Tesla Model S?" Turns out that IT IS! Check it:

Active Suspension Control - Tesla Model S Air Suspension-ASC-BLE-TESLA-MODEL_S

There's even a video on the Cete Automotive GmbH YouTube channel showing their Tesla Model S application:


Unfortunately it's in German and the English closed captions weren't super helpful (for me anyway) - anybody that understands German want to give us a summary of what's said in that video?

This is fairly exciting as it seems to be a pretty good alternative to lowering links or brackets - albeit at a cost (€1299 direct). But if it can remain invisible to service centers and provide the level of precise control that it seems to offer, without requiring any mechanical modifications (that would have to be adjusted or removed when the car is brought in for service) this is kinda game-changing on the Tesla "just lower the suspension a wee bit more please" front.

Anyway, does anybody on here have experience with this company or product? You can download the app from the Apple App Store here (it's called "Active Suspension Control BLE") and play around with it if you want. The list of car models supported is pretty huge: Audis, VWs, Porches, Range Rovers, Mercs, ... even the Lambo Urus. I searched the TMC forum already for "Cete" and there were 0 results so maybe their Tesla offering is fairly new. At any rate, I'm going to contact them and try to get some more information - in English - about how it works, how it's installed, etc. and will report back.

Brian
 

bwherry

Member
May 24, 2019
123
55
Los Angeles, CA
Thanks for your note of concern, @A-Wimoweh . I personally have no intention of the car riding any lower than the factory "low" height setting when driving at highway speeds (and I suspect many others are the same) - for safety concerns as you mention as well as uneven tire wear. One of the features I love about the Model S is the ability to raise it up to clear parking blocks, high curbs, etc. Losing the max possible height is definitely one of the factors causing my hesitation to pull the trigger on one of the other lowering options (sensor brackets, links).

This particular system is actually better (more versatile) than the other lowering methods in that you can control the height electronically, without having to make any mechanical changes - so you're not locked in to "always a certain amount lower" when installed. In fact, with this system you can even raise the ride height to be higher than factory settings, which might be helpful for folks in colder climates that want additional clearance for snow, etc.

Brian
 

x96535

Member
Nov 11, 2019
5
1
Kansas City
That is my S8 in the OP’s video, and I’m happy to answer any questions you have about the CETE module, install, etc. I don’t currently own a Tesla, but I’m strongly considering a Model S P100DL for my next car.
 

bwherry

Member
May 24, 2019
123
55
Los Angeles, CA
Well hello there and welcome, @x96535 ! I think you'll like the Model S P100DL quite a bit. I went with a facelifted P90DL myself - probably 95% the same ownership & driving experience, but about $25K cheaper (at the time I bought mine anyway).

Anyway, I would be interested to hear a bit about your experience using the Cete module in your car - its reliability over time, cool features/things you couldn't do before, etc. I'm actually not very familiar with the air suspension setup on the S8 - but from what I gather its "driving settings" are more qualitative, where the suspension (ride height and maybe also shock dampening?) is only one aspect of the tweaks that take place for different "modes?" Does the Cete setup allow you to restore to different ride height settings that you've previously set for each of the driving modes? Or is it more of an overall adjustment to the ride height? I also saw the "Show Mode" thing - can you tell us a bit about that? I have downloaded the iOS app and played around with it a little, but since it's not actually connected to a car in my case there's only so much of a feel I can get for what will happen for realz... Many thanks in advance!

I've got some queries out to US distributors of Cete Automotive products re: availability of the ASC module for Tesla Model S - will report back what I find out.

Brian
 

x96535

Member
Nov 11, 2019
5
1
Kansas City
Well hello there and welcome, @x96535 ! I think you'll like the Model S P100DL quite a bit. I went with a facelifted P90DL myself - probably 95% the same ownership & driving experience, but about $25K cheaper (at the time I bought mine anyway).

Anyway, I would be interested to hear a bit about your experience using the Cete module in your car - its reliability over time, cool features/things you couldn't do before, etc. I'm actually not very familiar with the air suspension setup on the S8 - but from what I gather its "driving settings" are more qualitative, where the suspension (ride height and maybe also shock dampening?) is only one aspect of the tweaks that take place for different "modes?" Does the Cete setup allow you to restore to different ride height settings that you've previously set for each of the driving modes? Or is it more of an overall adjustment to the ride height? I also saw the "Show Mode" thing - can you tell us a bit about that? I have downloaded the iOS app and played around with it a little, but since it's not actually connected to a car in my case there's only so much of a feel I can get for what will happen for realz... Many thanks in advance!

I've got some queries out to US distributors of Cete Automotive products re: availability of the ASC module for Tesla Model S - will report back what I find out.

Brian

I’ve had the module installed for over a year now without any issues whatsoever. You are correct about the qualitative nature of the S8’s air suspension. Basically the drive mode selected determines the dampening. Ride height only changes over ~70mph and only by a few millimeters. The ride height of the car is otherwise unadjustable as it sits. You can technically raise the car for “Jack Mode,” but you can’t lower it.

You can use VCDS (basically a Volkswagen/Audi specific control module that allows you to modify different aspects of the car’s BCM and other computer controlled functions - not for tuning) to lower the car up to 20mm. It’s an arduous process and not easily reversible without going through the lengthy process again. From what I’ve heard, the ride is noticeably harder after lowering with VCDS.

CETE, on the other hand, allows for greater adjustability without compromising the ride quality. The hardware installs in series with the car’s suspension computer (think piggyback). It is undetectable to dealer computers and can only be detected visually.

I can raise the car +30mm from stock height or lower it up to -50mm from stock ride height. As demonstrated in the video, this is all done through the app on my phone. The app connects to the CETE module via Bluetooth, so you have to be within range of the car to adjust height. The “show mode” is simply a saved height setting that I can quickly press to drop it to the desired height. For me that is -50mm all around, though I would never drive faster than 5mph at that height, since I rub at any turn of the wheel. I drive around between 27-30 mm lower than stock daily without any issue and no detriment to ride quality.

I have a steep entrance into my garage, so I use the app to raise the car every time I pull in to the garage. I’ve done this repeatedly over several months without issue.

Unlike aftermarket air suspension, the adjustments take several seconds to execute. I.e. Dropping the car from stock height to -30mm may take twenty seconds or so. It drops the front a little, then the back, then the front again, etc. Don’t buy this expecting the car to just drop or raise at a moments notice.

The only issue others have ran into is the lack of quality installation instructions, since it’s mostly translated from German with poor quality photos. I did the install myself and didn’t have any issues. That being said, I highly recommend it and would buy again.
 

x96535

Member
Nov 11, 2019
5
1
Kansas City
I also forgot to mention that the module has not adversely affected my performance. I can cut regular 2.8-2.9x 0-60 times with the car lowered. It’s actually more beneficial to add some height to the rear of the car for launches so it can squat more without rubbing.

2D69F90F-1633-40D5-89CB-D0067072494F.png
0AE4139C-1E9F-4434-AEAF-3385FF25B320.png
 

bwherry

Member
May 24, 2019
123
55
Los Angeles, CA
Thanks so much for the information, @x96535 ! And holy crap, I didn't realize the S8 was that fast! Surely yours has been tuned a little? Little bit mo' boost at least?

I've got a few email convos going with Cete Automotive distributors to get information. The latest info is from Alexander at Europrice, who is setting up to be the North American distributor for all Cete products, so they will carry units for all cars, not just the European ones (Audi/VW/etc.) that they do now. Turns out Cete is still working on a plug-n-play unit for facelifted Model S (and I assume Model X as well). Their current plug-n-play offering is for the pre-facelift Model S. So I guess some suspension/control stuff changed for the facelift. Interesting. Anyway, I'll still try to get as much info on that as I can, as well as any guesses on timeframe for the unit for facelifted cars. Stay tuned!

Brian
 

x96535

Member
Nov 11, 2019
5
1
Kansas City
Thanks so much for the information, @x96535 ! And holy crap, I didn't realize the S8 was that fast! Surely yours has been tuned a little? Little bit mo' boost at least?

I've got a few email convos going with Cete Automotive distributors to get information. The latest info is from Alexander at Europrice, who is setting up to be the North American distributor for all Cete products, so they will carry units for all cars, not just the European ones (Audi/VW/etc.) that they do now. Turns out Cete is still working on a plug-n-play unit for facelifted Model S (and I assume Model X as well). Their current plug-n-play offering is for the pre-facelift Model S. So I guess some suspension/control stuff changed for the facelift. Interesting. Anyway, I'll still try to get as much info on that as I can, as well as any guesses on timeframe for the unit for facelifted cars. Stay tuned!

Brian

Sorry for the slow response. Thought I had notifications turned on. Thanks for doing the leg work on this!

The mods for those runs were an ECU and TCU tune, two piece forged wheels, 285/35R20 Nitto NT01’s on all four corners and 91 octane with some Boostane sprinkled in. I’ve since added downpipes and some timing and other variables to the tune, but I haven’t made any additional passes. Frankly I’m afraid to lose the rear diff or a rear axle, as those end up getting eaten up by all the high power S6/S7/RS7 and S8’s. That’s one of the big reasons for wanting to go with a P100DL.

The S8 sure surprises a ton of people off the line, even without launching from 3k RPM.
 
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bwherry

Member
May 24, 2019
123
55
Los Angeles, CA
Hey guys,

I've got more information - and I've attached some files to this post:

  1. Einbauanleitung ASC Tesla S - FL.pdf - this is the installation instructions document (unfortunately only available in German) that I received from Alexander van Gerbig at Europrice LLC. He's been very responsive to my questions over email and Europrice is setting up to be a US distributor for all of the Cete products (including for our Teslas).

  2. Cete ASC for Tesla Model S - English Instructions.pdf - as luck would have it, a friend of mine does translations of technical manuals from/to a variety of languages, including German! This document is a recreation of "the important parts" of the German installation instructions with translations to English.

  3. ASC BLE App Instructions.pdf - this is Cete's operation guide (in English, yay!) for their mobile app, which can be found on the Apple App Store as "Active Suspension Control BLE". I've downloaded the app and played around with it a bit (though not actually connected to a car) - seems pretty straightforward.
I hope this is helpful for people. Personally, I'm still on the fence... Since Alexander asked me if my car is facelifted or not and the Cete German language installation instructions doc has "FL" at the end, I assume these instructions are for the facelifted cars - but the installation instructions show the old-style center console. Maybe it's just the electrical stuff that's different between nosecone/facelift models? ...but I don't know how involved it is to remove the center console (or just the sides?) on facelifted cars (like mine) - and the need to splice into various wires is what makes me hesitant. Plus that pin assignment table is ‍♂️. Maybe it will make more sense when viewed along with the actual ASC unit and wiring harness they provide with it? Hmm.

@x96535 for your S8 you just had to disconnect/connect a few connectors, right? So no splicing/soldering? Alexander @ Europrice told me that Cete has been working on a plug & play version of their Tesla ASC unit - it's just not available right now...

At any rate, is anyone ready to pull the trigger on this - and make an awesome, detailed YouTube video for the rest of us to follow and have stellar results? Hahah. BTW, Alexander at Europrice will probably give you a discount on the unit, since the install experience/documentation/etc. will be valuable...

If anyone here has experience with the "knowns" of this procedure - so how to access the suspension control electronics area under/behind the center console - please share/link/etc.!

Thanks,

Brian
 

Attachments

  • Einbauanleitung ASC Tesla S - FL.pdf
    619.4 KB · Views: 28
  • ASC BLE App Instructions.pdf
    479.4 KB · Views: 23
  • Cete ASC for Tesla Model S - English Instructions.pdf
    425.9 KB · Views: 29

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