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Model 3 Roof Rack Options - Comparing Efficiencies

egaertner

Member
Feb 16, 2019
50
179
San Jose, CA
Whoops, sorry for the late replies, I had been getting email notifications and they stopped coming in.

Thanks for posting your results! I love it.

Can you fit the two snowboards using config #4 base to base (stacked in the center)? I think that might be the most aerodynamic of all by a decent margin. Also, if there is a roof-top sport box that mounts with T-mounts and can fit two boards stacked inside the box, that might be even better.

I'm looking for a small but long ski box for the Tesla rack system, anyone have any favorites?
That's a great idea, I should try two base to base, I did not try that.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't that imply the range hit from the Tesla rack (bare) can be compensated for simply by driving about 1.5 mph more slowly?
Something like that, it's interesting how little of an impact the rack on it's own does. Assuming all things linear (they're not) and doing some cringeworthy estimating: 5mph slower = -24.7Wh/mi -- 1mph slower = -4.94Wh/mi -- Rack = +4Wh/mi -- Need to go 0.8mph slower to compensate for the rack.

Can you post more photos of your setups? :)
Did you see the pictures here? Model 3 Roof Rack Options - Comparing Efficiencies

How hard are the different racks (the ones attached to the M3 roof) to take off & put on? I personally only want the racks on part of the year for snowboarding or longish road trips and want them gone the rest of the time.
The FatCat 6 is awesome and goes on/off super quick and easy. My old Thule (in the SeaSucker photos) was a major PITA and I hated doing it once a season. The SeaSucker comes on/off very quickly as well, I used it for a few months with bike racks and did not mind mounting it before each ride.

The Tesla rails themselves aren't that hard to put on and off, maybe 5-10min once you get good at it. There's these metal j-hook brackets that you install first and then push rubber bumpers down over them. It's a little tricky to get those bumpers down over the hooks far enough that the threads will catch so that can take some fiddling. The worst part for me was tightening the rails down and all the creaking that occurred (despite being under the torque spec). Seemed to go fine but made me nervous, I don't know how often I'd want to relive that. Personally I like the look of the bare rails so I'll probably keep them on all the time and only put carriers on as needed. Yakima has a nice bike carrier that mounts the same way quick and easy as well.
 

Bad Dolphin

Member
Dec 13, 2018
53
35
Hawaii
As winter arrived I was excited to strap a roof rack on my Model 3 and take it to the mountains. I quickly discovered little information out there about how it would impact the range. Given the long cold uphill drive and variable weather conditions, I was determined to find the highest efficiency setup and characterize it for route planning. I started with a stock TM3 LR AWD, keeping as many variables constant as possible, and did 20+ runs up and down the highway gathering data. I tested with both the SeaSucker Monkey Bars and Tesla's Roof Rack, with various configurations of snowboards, carriers, and fairings.

ELWn5Qe.png

IVopBG9.png

bFSl3Fn.jpg


Additional pictures, charts, and raw data: Model 3 Roof Rack Options - Comparing Efficiencies

TL;DR compared to stock TM3 LR AWD 18":
  • Tesla Roof Rack -- 1.6% range loss
  • Tesla Roof Rack + Yakima FatCat 6 Evo -- 17.3% to 19.6% range loss
  • SeaSucker Roof Rack + Thule 91725 Flat Top Ski Carrier -- 26.7% range loss
  • Aero Wheel Caps Removed -- 5.4% range loss
Test Procedure
  1. Get on the highway going 70mph with autopilot engaged and reset the trip meter.
  2. Drive 6.5 miles south, gaining about 130 feet in elevation.
  3. Log the Wh/Mi, disable autopilot, and get off the highway
  4. Get back on the highway going north and do the same thing again. This time losing about 130 feet in elevation.
  5. Average the north and south results together.
I avoided traffic during the trials to not skew the data and threw out any significant outliers due to road conditions. I tried to test when the wind was at a minimum but this seemed to be the most significant variable I couldn't completely control.

Controlled Variables
  • 55-60°F outside temperature
  • Dry highway road, minimal wind
  • 70mph on autopilot
  • HVAC off
  • Radio @ 25% volume
  • Tires @ 42 psi cold
Configurations Tested

Results and Real World Impact
At the end of the day I care about how much time I spend on the road. To that end I plugged the Wh/Mi figures for each config into ABetterRoutePlanner to see how they would impact the round trip driving time to my favorite ski resorts.

Wh/Mi Δ / Range Δ / Time Δ

1. No Aero Caps
+5.7% / -5.4% / +7 minutes

2. SeaSucker
+36.4% / -26.7% / +44 minutes

3. Tesla Rack + T-Slot
+24.4% / -19.6% / +28 minutes

4. Tesla Rack
+23% / -18.7% / +26 minutes

5. Tesla Rack + Fairing
+21.0% / -17.3% / +24 minutes

6. Tesla Rack Only
+1.6% / -1.6% / +2 minutes

Accuracy
For each config I did two or three round trip trials. On average the trials within a config varied by 2.2%.

Cabin Noise
I measured cabin noise for each config using the iOS app Decibel X. The absolute values are probably not too accurate, but the deltas are somewhat interesting. The baseline measured 83dB.
  • Config 2 (SeaSucker) measured 84.5dB. Without the fairing the app measured lower but the sound was much more unpleasant. Likely due to the frequency of the noise and concentration at that frequency.
  • Configs 3 and 4 measured 86.5dB and 86.1dB respectively. Config 5 (fairing) measured 86.7dB and was actually more unpleasant due to a small gap between the fairing and the rack+boards.
  • Config 6 (Tesla Rack Only) measured 85.1dB but didn't sound too different from the baseline in practice.

Speed Impact
I repeated testing of Config 6 going 65mph instead of 70mph. The Wh/Mi decreased by 9.9%, causing the range to increase by 11.0%. No big surprises here, but always interesting to verify physics.

A wonderful, informative, considered post. Thanks for sharing your research!
 
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SB_NRG

Member
Jul 2, 2018
6
20
Boston
That is very interesting Data! I was also searching for the most efficient way to carry skis to minimize range loss on cold winter distance trips. I have added a trailer hitch to all of my past cars and also to the Model 3 to help make the car as capable as any SUV...
I found the shortest Ski pod capable of carrying 4 sets of skis and gear and built a trailer hitch adapter.
upload_2019-2-24_12-34-46.png


I made a test on a 10 mile stretch of highway at night to avoid impact from other cars. For the test w accelerated to 70mph, set cruise control, reset trip odometer, continued driving 10 miles, collected data and turned around.
upload_2019-2-24_12-35-31.png


Results: There is a slight efficiency improvement which is likely within the measurement error. I have another test with a different pod and also a bike rack which I can post later.
The Model 3 is extremely capable of tackling any adventure!
 

StealthP3D

Well-Known Member
Dec 12, 2018
10,289
87,184
Maple Falls, WA
That is very interesting Data! I was also searching for the most efficient way to carry skis to minimize range loss on cold winter distance trips. I have added a trailer hitch to all of my past cars and also to the Model 3 to help make the car as capable as any SUV...
I found the shortest Ski pod capable of carrying 4 sets of skis and gear and built a trailer hitch adapter.
View attachment 380187

I made a test on a 10 mile stretch of highway at night to avoid impact from other cars. For the test w accelerated to 70mph, set cruise control, reset trip odometer, continued driving 10 miles, collected data and turned around.
View attachment 380188

Results: There is a slight efficiency improvement which is likely within the measurement error. I have another test with a different pod and also a bike rack which I can post later.
The Model 3 is extremely capable of tackling any adventure!

Thanks for that. It looks like the hitch mounted ski pod is the most efficient way to carry skis (short of putting them in the trunk with one seat folded down).
 

egaertner

Member
Feb 16, 2019
50
179
San Jose, CA
That is very interesting Data! I was also searching for the most efficient way to carry skis to minimize range loss on cold winter distance trips. I have added a trailer hitch to all of my past cars and also to the Model 3 to help make the car as capable as any SUV...
I found the shortest Ski pod capable of carrying 4 sets of skis and gear and built a trailer hitch adapter.
View attachment 380187

I made a test on a 10 mile stretch of highway at night to avoid impact from other cars. For the test w accelerated to 70mph, set cruise control, reset trip odometer, continued driving 10 miles, collected data and turned around.
View attachment 380188

Results: There is a slight efficiency improvement which is likely within the measurement error. I have another test with a different pod and also a bike rack which I can post later.
The Model 3 is extremely capable of tackling any adventure!
Nice! How’s trunk access with that thing mounted?
 

SB_NRG

Member
Jul 2, 2018
6
20
Boston
Trunk access is not too bad... Slightly more difficult than standing directly behind the car but the box is far enough behind the car (necessary so that the box top can open and not hit the car) that a person can stand one step inward on each side. The back-up camera can also see over the top of the box. I also really like that it is very quick to install/remove.
 
  • Informative
Reactions: GaryW

sroh

Supporting Member
Supporting Member
Sep 10, 2017
764
3,123
Bay Area, CA
Outstanding data; thanks!

I don't have hard data like you, but after one trip up to Tahoe and back with 4 pairs of skis in the same FatCat 6 Evo ski rack, I estimated about a 20% hit to efficiency. Good to get confirmation.
 

Silicon Desert

Active Member
Oct 1, 2018
3,675
3,789
Sparks, / GF1
OP, that's a fabulous posting with nice information. Thanks. But just to say that while there may not be a lot of information (as you refer) out there posted by Tesla and elsewhere on effects of winter and summer driving on range, there has been quite a bit on discussion on TMC in various topics. Your post helps to cement some of those thoughts.
 

c2cc9456

New Member
Feb 16, 2018
1
1
Seattle
... I have added a trailer hitch to all of my past cars and also to the Model 3 to help make the car as capable as any SUV...
I found the shortest Ski pod capable of carrying 4 sets of skis and gear and built a trailer hitch
adapter....

How can I get more details on the hitch you used and the adapter you made for the cargo box?
The box looks perfect for my ski outings, and just the hitch with my rack to carry my tandem bike oriented the same as the box.
 
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Reactions: GaryW

sroh

Supporting Member
Supporting Member
Sep 10, 2017
764
3,123
Bay Area, CA
That is very interesting Data! I was also searching for the most efficient way to carry skis to minimize range loss on cold winter distance trips. I have added a trailer hitch to all of my past cars and also to the Model 3 to help make the car as capable as any SUV...
I found the shortest Ski pod capable of carrying 4 sets of skis and gear and built a trailer hitch adapter.
View attachment 380187

I made a test on a 10 mile stretch of highway at night to avoid impact from other cars. For the test w accelerated to 70mph, set cruise control, reset trip odometer, continued driving 10 miles, collected data and turned around.
View attachment 380188

Results: There is a slight efficiency improvement which is likely within the measurement error. I have another test with a different pod and also a bike rack which I can post later.
The Model 3 is extremely capable of tackling any adventure!

Fantastic data; thanks!

I would also like to know about the adapter you created. I see a business opportunity!

And which box that is. It looks like any longer and it would stick out on the sides. If that box fits 185cm skis, that could be a great solution for us skiers!
 

ELECTRIC4ME

Member
Nov 18, 2017
34
31
SF Bay Area
This is a great post! Thanks! I have done similar testing as well and found that my large ski box dropped the range by 25-30%.
full


I've now changed to using the hitch I make to mount skis on a rack like in this photo of the model X. No range testing yet but it's got to be better than the box...
tesla-model-x-ski-tow-hitch-e1479692144660.jpg
 

SB_NRG

Member
Jul 2, 2018
6
20
Boston
I can imagine that the rear hitch mounted ski rack (as on Model X above), is more efficient than 25-30% hit, but the skis get covered in salt & dirt on rear of car and are also in clean air stream without any fairing.

The Pod is Thule Force XT-Sport and can fit 175cm skis (although mine fit at 181 cm) fortunately carving skis are much shorter. The box is sufficient for 4 sets of skis/poles plus a fairly large ski bag. We put the boots in the trunk to keep weight forward.
The Hitch is Torklift Central EcoHitch. It took about 2.5 hours to install and is a bit intimidating as the bumper cover needs to be removed.
I made the adapter using aluminum tubing 2"x2" and 1"x1" cross section attached to a standard hitch as shown below.
Model3_SkiPodMount.jpg
 

AlasCon

Member
Apr 22, 2019
62
57
Santa Rosa, CA
Awesome stuff, thanks. I just got my roof rack - managed to order it in this month's 5 minutes of availability :) and will be installing to go kayaking soon. Great info!
 

xanadufl

Member
Apr 27, 2019
47
26
Florida
Thanks for the data!

I wish I could run the Smart TSlot 2 for the fatcat but my skis would be banging on the glass if that was the case (it's only about 4-4.5" clearance and my bindings are 5"). Will make sure to budget at least 20% extra energy for the first time using the ski rack!

Thanksfully to tahoe/mammoth and back from san diego there are plenty of superchargers.
I’m confused...wouldn’t your bindings be facing up or sideways?
 

xanadufl

Member
Apr 27, 2019
47
26
Florida
Whoops, sorry for the late replies, I had been getting email notifications and they stopped coming in.


That's a great idea, I should try two base to base, I did not try that.


Something like that, it's interesting how little of an impact the rack on it's own does. Assuming all things linear (they're not) and doing some cringeworthy estimating: 5mph slower = -24.7Wh/mi -- 1mph slower = -4.94Wh/mi -- Rack = +4Wh/mi -- Need to go 0.8mph slower to compensate for the rack.


Did you see the pictures here? Model 3 Roof Rack Options - Comparing Efficiencies


The FatCat 6 is awesome and goes on/off super quick and easy. My old Thule (in the SeaSucker photos) was a major PITA and I hated doing it once a season. The SeaSucker comes on/off very quickly as well, I used it for a few months with bike racks and did not mind mounting it before each ride.

The Tesla rails themselves aren't that hard to put on and off, maybe 5-10min once you get good at it. There's these metal j-hook brackets that you install first and then push rubber bumpers down over them. It's a little tricky to get those bumpers down over the hooks far enough that the threads will catch so that can take some fiddling. The worst part for me was tightening the rails down and all the creaking that occurred (despite being under the torque spec). Seemed to go fine but made me nervous, I don't know how often I'd want to relive that. Personally I like the look of the bare rails so I'll probably keep them on all the time and only put carriers on as needed. Yakima has a nice bike carrier that mounts the same way quick and easy as well.
Yakama told me today that it’s not a good idea to keep the rack attached as the mounting components are steel and will rust over time.
 

Slvrsurfer

Member
Jun 8, 2019
35
19
Utrecht
Hi, the roof rack is great. I transported my ski box on it. Only issue: the vinyl pads are not something to keep. After taking the rack off my model 3, i threw away the protective vinyl items.

Question: has anybody found replacement protective vinyl pads (the thin translucent vinyl stickers is what I mean, to put directly on your paint, to protect the paint).
I looked only, but cannot find it anywhere.
 

StealthP3D

Well-Known Member
Dec 12, 2018
10,289
87,184
Maple Falls, WA
Hi, the roof rack is great. I transported my ski box on it. Only issue: the vinyl pads are not something to keep. After taking the rack off my model 3, i threw away the protective vinyl items.

Question: has anybody found replacement protective vinyl pads (the thin translucent vinyl stickers is what I mean, to put directly on your paint, to protect the paint).
I looked only, but cannot find it anywhere.

Have you tried to order replacements from Tesla? I know they don't offer them currently but I bet it's something they will in the future. You could also cut your own from regular paint protection film.
 

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