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Gen 3 with covered wheel wells?

Discussion in 'Model 3' started by jdevo2004, Jul 1, 2014.

  1. jdevo2004

    jdevo2004 Member

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    #1 jdevo2004, Jul 1, 2014
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2014
    I like the look of the VW XL 1 from the side with the covered wheel wells. This car shows us that covered wheel wells can look cool, at least from the front side profile. The rear of the XL 1 is a total disaster. I am sure it could be fixed though. What is every ones thoughts on having this for Gen 3? It looks futuristic.

    Cool:

    2014-volkswagen-xl1-fd.jpg


    Not Cool:

    lead5-2014-volkswagen-xl1-fd.jpg

    futuristic-cars_00258189.jpg
     
  2. brianman

    brianman Burrito Founder

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    I've never liked this look for > 3 wheels.
     
  3. bollar

    bollar Disgruntled Member

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    It's not my style, but sure, why not?

    1974_Citroen_D-Special_02.jpg
     
  4. JRP3

    JRP3 Hyperactive Member

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    Agree, though I'd like to see a design where the wheel covers can be removed and the car still look good, since I know some people will hate the wheel cover look. The wheel covers probably don't need to go quite that low to still be effective. I thought optional wheel covers for the S would have been a good idea, something you can install for long trips if you don't normally like the look.

    My crude chop of the S from another thread:

    Model S skirt.jpg
     
  5. Caloncho

    Caloncho LongerTelomeres?

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    personally, prefer the look of the 4 tires without covers
     
  6. stopcrazypp

    stopcrazypp Well-Known Member

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    I was going to suggest the same (make it an option). I suspect most "mainstream" buyers would prefer tires without covers. Same idea with the "aero" wheels.
     
  7. richkae

    richkae VIN587

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    How do you think buyers would choose between a 300 mile range $30000 car that has wheel covers and a 300 mile range $40000 car that does not?
     
  8. TES-E

    TES-E Member

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    I'm not a fan of the covered wheel look. If I had the choice I would take the exposed wheels. This preference dates all the way back to the 50's. Never liked fender skirts.
     
  9. stopcrazypp

    stopcrazypp Well-Known Member

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    Judging by the aero wheels, it'll probably be more like a 200 mile $30k car without wheel covers vs a 206 mile (3% improvement of the aero wheels) $32k car ($2k option) with wheel covers.
     
  10. richkae

    richkae VIN587

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    I believe that covering those gaping holes in the side of the car would do a lot more than the aero wheels can do. Also covering up the wheels would let you use wheels appropriately sized for efficiency - instead of giant monsters chosen for appearance.
    Obviously there is no way for us to find out without a wind tunnel.

    How about this. Concede a thought experiment in which a theoretical weird looking $30K car has a 300 mile range, versus a normal looking $40K car with 300 mile range.
    Do you think consumers would go for a radical new look?

    Some have floated similar ideas before, but they had handicaps. Like being afraid the company that made it would vanish ( yep happened ). And being afraid that the technology didn't actually work ( Tesla has proved it does ).
     
  11. Grendal

    Grendal Active Member

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    Efficiency ideas are fine, however the more odd the car looks the more you will limit sales. The Volt, i3, and the Leaf are good examples of this. I think Tesla proved with the Model S that if there are no compromises, including the standard car look, that you can have a hit on your hands.

    IMO the Gen III needs to be an elegant, expensive looking, yet reasonably priced mid-sized sedan and Tesla will sell 500K of them. If you make the car polarizing, then your sales will be polarized as well. Tesla needs a car that everyone will want to own. Everyone. Because of the smaller size it will already be more tricky to get as low a Cd as the Model S without compromising the looks. I have faith in Tesla and Franz to get it done though.

    You can always go for unique efficiency extras as add-ons. They did drop the aero wheels for the Model S though...
     
  12. JRP3

    JRP3 Hyperactive Member

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    Looks are subjective but I fully believe a car with good aero efficiency can also be made attractive, and I think the Tesla team can do it. The big problem with the aero wheels is they were an unfortunate and rare design fail from Tesla, and most people seem to find them unattractive, including me. I'd expect the wheel covers would provide a larger benefit than aero wheels, it would be easy enough for someone to do a test on an existing Model S. Get some foam insulation board, cut it to the wheel opening shape, hold it in place with some double sided tape, and see what the results are.
     
  13. mnx

    mnx 2013 P85

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    Not a fan of the look. However I'd be willing to install them for a roadstrip where I'm trying to stretch range or spend less time at SC's...
     
  14. stopcrazypp

    stopcrazypp Well-Known Member

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    Okay, let's assume you do get a 33% improvement in range from having a weird looking car.

    To your question, I think the answer will still be no in the context of the mass market. SOME customers might go for it, but likely not enough to reach past 10k annual sales. Tesla is targeting 500k annual sales so more widespread appeal is necessary.

    However, I think the comparison people will make is rather than having a set "range budget" (esp. since past ~200 miles of range, it's "enough" for most people), they would have a set cost budget. So they would more likely be cross shopping a 225 mile $30k "normal" looking car with your 300 mile $30k weird looking car. I think a lot of people would still pick the "normal" car.
     
  15. TEG

    TEG TMC Moderator

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  16. igotzzoom

    igotzzoom Member

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    I'm fine with whatever modifications or accessorization owners do after-sale, but I wouldn't want fender skirts or covers mandatory. I know their might be an incremental efficiency improvement, but I'm with most of the other posters here in that uncovered wheels wells look less "weird."
     
  17. Owner

    Owner Active Member

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    Having lived with a fair amount of curb rash on the 21s, with covered wheel wells, your likely going to rash the actual car!
     
  18. Sunlight

    Sunlight Member

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    I would be surprised if the wheel wells did not contribute substantially to the drag - certainly way more than mirrors. EVs already have tidy undersides and less through flow of air for cooling a huge hot ICE so their drag, which is critical to range and performance, can only be helped further by aero tweaking.

    I doubt their is too much more to come from the basic shape so it will now be details.

    Certainly covered wheels are an 'acquired' taste but this is a revolution and once EVs have proved their point competing on a more conventional basis, there will be room to try more outrageous ideas. The clumsiness of covered wheels can be mitigated by design language from the start - you cannot usually just cover the wheels and hope it will look OK! Look at the Citroen DS with designed in covered rear wheels - stylish and classy and 'radical'...........Ditto the VW XL1.

    I believe that covered wheels may become the 'norm' in the future - and it will look more in keeping with futuristic EVs. OK maybe they will be options or removeable until people get to accept them.

    How many people would accept 10% less range because they didn't 'like' the new streamlined and unusual designs? I'd go for the radical look every time! (As long as it was still practical.........)
     
  19. Sunlight

    Sunlight Member

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    Just another thought. It may be difficult to make a design that is interchangeable - a design that looks good with wheel covers may not work so well when they are removed.

    Not only proportions but sculptural details around the wheel arch - look how awkward is that mocked-up picture of the Model S earlier in this thread because the covers are just overlaid and the design does not now work.
     
  20. JRP3

    JRP3 Hyperactive Member

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    I think my poor photoshop skills can take the blame for most of that :wink: I'd like to see what someone who knows what they are doing could come up with.
     

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