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Is it time for Tesla to move towards active suspension?

Sunlight

Member
May 7, 2014
331
777
South Africa
Computer controlled active suspension arrived in Formula One in the 1980s and won the championship in 1992/3.

There is talk of bringing it back to F1 as it could be cheaper than sophisticated passive suspension. So it works and could be cheaper.

The hardware is straightforward and the sophistication of the system is primarily programming/control.

The furore around the Model 3 ride/handling suspension balance makes one realise how tricky it is to please all.

As Tesla is such a software technical company, would it not be the time now for Tesla to consider 'jumping the gun' and going over to active suspension? The results could (like so much else) project Tesla even further from the maddening crowd. Superb ride; pin-sharp handling; suspension that tunes itself to every road nuance; anticipation of bumps/obstacles; 'reading' the road surface. The cars are already bristling with sensors!

And OTA up-grades every time new information/data is available. Need never again revise damping or spring rates; suspension travel and individual owners could tailor their car's suspension to their personal preferences.

Sounds like the way to go...!
 
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Sunlight

Member
May 7, 2014
331
777
South Africa
Hi Tiger. I missed that but it looks amazing - I wonder why it has taken so long to get into road vehicles.

But would Tesla do their own system or use Bose/AN Other? One would think that all Tesla's data/autopilot hardware/computing ability etc should set it in good shape.
 

Cosmacelf

Well-Known Member
Mar 6, 2013
9,010
23,667
San Diego
That active suspension system looks perfect for the Model S/X. Tesla absolutely needs more things to differentiate their high end cars from the Model 3. Here’s what happened to the Bose system:

Why Bose’s Electromagnetic Car Suspension System Never Made it to...

Basically Bose, who didn’t have a lot of experience with electric motors or compact car electronics or high end computing, couldn’t get the system light and cheap enough for the market. Tesla has all that experience to possibly make it practical. Here’s hoping that they licensed the technology and made it work, because it looks awesome.
 

Cosmacelf

Well-Known Member
Mar 6, 2013
9,010
23,667
San Diego
Another complex system that will suffer costly system failures. They made a choice when tuning the Model 3 suspension to be aggressive. If they wanted they could tune it to be much softer.

You’ve just described Autopilot and that’s been working out great for Tesla. Elon is not one to shy away from complex engineering challenges.
 

Cosmacelf

Well-Known Member
Mar 6, 2013
9,010
23,667
San Diego
I think they definitely should have active suspension for the Roadster II.

Yes, that and the ability to race on a track without pooping out after 2 laps like the current Model S does. There is a chance that the Roadster II can pull this off. That huge battery means more laps at high speeds, and it means less thermal stress on the battery when you have continuous power input and output (hard regen braking and hard acceleration). And it will presumably have permanent magnet motors which needs less cooling than the current induction motors.

So, active suspension and a track capable cooling system and you'd be so far ahead of everyone. Given that Porsche is talking about 800V battery system, I have a feeling they are heading towards making a track capable EV, so Tesla will be left out in the cold if they don't follow suit (higher voltage means less amps, means less heat).
 

RDoc

S85D
Aug 24, 2012
2,760
1,711
Boston North Shore
Of course, if they REALLY want to make a splash, they could use high temperature superconducting motors, inverters, and leads. It would require a liquid nitrogen generator to make up for heat leaking through the insulation, but there would be no heat losses from the motor at all.
 

S4WRXTTCS

Well-Known Member
May 3, 2015
6,004
7,240
Snohomish, WA
For the Model S/X most certainly.

For the Model 3 probably not. Maybe if the S/X get active suspension than the 3 can get a heated steering wheel.

I am hoping the Model 3 can get a performance version where the performance version has suspension that I like (more firm), and the regular Model 3 can get a little softer one.
 

Sunlight

Member
May 7, 2014
331
777
South Africa
The Bose system was clearly 'of its time' and too expensive and heavy but computer controlled hydraulic active suspension systems (30 years on from its debut in F1!) could be simple, cheap and light (most probably cheaper than air suspension).

Its cleverness would be in the software programming to get the same outcome as the Bose system. The current fancy suspension systems seem to be 'hybrids' - computer/sensor controlled spring rates and damping (with some added abilities by Mercedes). But I don't imagine they'd ever get to the level of the Bose system.

I'm surprised that Rolls; Bentley or Mercedes haven't offered active suspension yet(they may have researched it)

Hydraulic active suspension should be simple and robust (except the programming...?!) It seems right up Tesla's track and could give them another competitive advantage (especially with the Model S class of car)
 

Cosmacelf

Well-Known Member
Mar 6, 2013
9,010
23,667
San Diego
The Bose system was clearly 'of its time' and too expensive and heavy but computer controlled hydraulic active suspension systems (30 years on from its debut in F1!) could be simple, cheap and light (most probably cheaper than air suspension).

Its cleverness would be in the software programming to get the same outcome as the Bose system. The current fancy suspension systems seem to be 'hybrids' - computer/sensor controlled spring rates and damping (with some added abilities by Mercedes). But I don't imagine they'd ever get to the level of the Bose system.

I'm surprised that Rolls; Bentley or Mercedes haven't offered active suspension yet(they may have researched it)

Hydraulic active suspension should be simple and robust (except the programming...?!) It seems right up Tesla's track and could give them another competitive advantage (especially with the Model S class of car)

I suspect the reason why the Bose system performs so amazing is that it has to react ultra fast, meaning individual electrical motors. I don’t know if a hydraulic (or even pneumatic) system would work since there would be time delays from fluidic intertia (I”m speaking through my hat here, I am just assuming there is something called fluidic inertia). Maybe I’m wrong, and a centralized power system would work...
 

Ulmo

Active Member
Jan 19, 2016
4,329
4,906
Vienna Woods, Aptos, California
That active suspension system looks perfect for the Model S/X. Tesla absolutely needs more things to differentiate their high end cars from the Model 3. Here’s what happened to the Bose system:

Why Bose’s Electromagnetic Car Suspension System Never Made it to...

Basically Bose, who didn’t have a lot of experience with electric motors or compact car electronics or high end computing, couldn’t get the system light and cheap enough for the market. Tesla has all that experience to possibly make it practical. Here’s hoping that they licensed the technology and made it work, because it looks awesome.
Or Lucid Air.

Tesla doesn't make top end premium vehicles; they're more middle market. I went to a Mercedes dealer, and they flat out told me that their less bumpy suspension option was purchased by extremely few buyers. They had trouble even finding one for me to test drive.

I call it the "anti-concussion" feature. I don't understand why so many people want to lose IQ, get brain damage, get migrane headaches, and get concussions, driving in their normal daily commutes and chores, when there are better alternatives out there. I think the tipping point is when some mass car manufacturer includes a fully competent system like that Bose one featured above that is actually inexpensive enough and fully offered by the manufacturer (not hidden or held back in any way). For as long as USA is more interested in dumbing down its citizens (they prefer hiring stupid people rather than smart people at most companies), then concussion-based suspension systems will be the more desired ones by manufacturers. Until people actually demand non-concussion based systems to protect their brains and such systems are actually offered by manufacturers, we'll have the crappy existing systems.
 
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Sunlight

Member
May 7, 2014
331
777
South Africa
Cosmacelf - The active suspension was banned because it was TOO successful and would have started a mad tech race which F1 could ill-afford (and which would not have improved the racing). Once Williams proved it could work so well, everyone was obliged to follow suit. It was light, 'simple' and efficient - it only added 12-15kg to an F1 car so it would be negligible on a road car.

Re the crashes - parts on F1s used to break regularly in those days causing shunts - it wasn't only active suspension (which, after all, was barely in its beta form at the time)! It is 30 years later with all the massive tech/manufacturing improvements and active suspension (for a road car) could easily be made super reliable and dependable.

I'm just thinking out aloud - surely active suspension (with all the obvious benefits) must be an excellent fit with autopilot/FSD as so much of the data collection/processing would over-lap - or, at least, be complimentary

As Ulmo says - it is shocking that we are still driving around in glorified horse carriages with regards to the suspension!
 

RDoc

S85D
Aug 24, 2012
2,760
1,711
Boston North Shore
This is at least arguably on topic::)

I'd really like to see Tesla build an intercity bus, probably starting with the Semi design and equip that with an active suspension. Buses are very inexpensive and flexible for medium distance travel (<300 mi or so), but are so uncomfortable that they are unattractive for many people. A suspension to give a smooth and level ride would help immensely I'd think.
 
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