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Reliability of Electric Motors on Track

TheSuit

Member
Aug 28, 2016
19
-32
NY
Hoping someone knows this answer. I've heard that a dozen miles on a track is equivalent to 1,000 normal miles. When it comes to electric motors, how much would someone have to worry if they put a couple thousand miles on the track in a performance model 3?

Also, if worst case scenario a motor went bad, anyone have an idea of how much to replace it?
 

ewoodrick

Well-Known Member
Apr 13, 2018
5,285
3,725
Buford, GA
Electric motors, as opposed to ICE, I feel, last for a lot, lot longer. Quite often, the only thing that is moving with friction is the shaft and the bearings. The wiring will tend to last forever, unless too much current is put through them.

What will feel the difference are the batteries, brakes, transmissions and other things that move. They will tend to feel the pain.

I've got a pond pump that runs 24x7. It ran for about 5 years before I had to clean the gunk out of it and then put it back in service.
I had a LaserDisk that running at a cable company for about 5 years and then it went off the air. We went to check it and found the problem was that the disk had about a half inch of gunk built up on it. cleaned it and then it kept going.

Now I will say that keeping a motor at 100% of rated capacity and not providing adequate cooling can be detrimental.
 

xav-

Active Member
May 26, 2016
1,187
821
Orange County CA
Electric motors, as opposed to ICE, I feel, last for a lot, lot longer. Quite often, the only thing that is moving with friction is the shaft and the bearings. The wiring will tend to last forever, unless too much current is put through them.

What will feel the difference are the batteries, brakes, transmissions and other things that move. They will tend to feel the pain.

I've got a pond pump that runs 24x7. It ran for about 5 years before I had to clean the gunk out of it and then put it back in service.
I had a LaserDisk that running at a cable company for about 5 years and then it went off the air. We went to check it and found the problem was that the disk had about a half inch of gunk built up on it. cleaned it and then it kept going.

Now I will say that keeping a motor at 100% of rated capacity and not providing adequate cooling can be detrimental.
Then why do drive units fail so often? (Just wondering)
 

xav-

Active Member
May 26, 2016
1,187
821
Orange County CA
Hoping someone knows this answer. I've heard that a dozen miles on a track is equivalent to 1,000 normal miles. When it comes to electric motors, how much would someone have to worry if they put a couple thousand miles on the track in a performance model 3?

Also, if worst case scenario a motor went bad, anyone have an idea of how much to replace it?
My understanding is that it’s covered by the 120k mile warranty. The other cool thing with dual motors is that if a drive unit fail the other drive unit will still work so you are not stranded (unlike me)
 

ecarfan

Well-Known Member
Sep 21, 2013
19,208
13,859
West Vancouver, British Columbia
Then why do drive units fail so often? (Just wondering)
They don’t. As a percentage of all Tesla vehicles produced, drive unit failure (meaning the car won’t move because of a problem with the drive unit) is rare. If it was common you would see multiple posts about it every day on TMC.

I have a total of over 83K miles on my S (which I traded in for an X) and my X. I have never had a “drive unit failure”. And after 5+ years of volume vehicle production there are tens of thousands of Tesla owners who have had the same experience.
 

Twiglett

Single pedal driver
Oct 3, 2014
2,742
2,669
Austin
Hoping someone knows this answer. I've heard that a dozen miles on a track is equivalent to 1,000 normal miles. When it comes to electric motors, how much would someone have to worry if they put a couple thousand miles on the track in a performance model 3?

Also, if worst case scenario a motor went bad, anyone have an idea of how much to replace it?
If you’re planning on putting several thousand track miles on a car I’d be way more concerned about other stuff than an electric motor.
 

TheSuit

Member
Aug 28, 2016
19
-32
NY
If you’re planning on putting several thousand track miles on a car I’d be way more concerned about other stuff than an electric motor.

Like what? There's no transmission and the battery lasts pretty much forever. Tires, breaks, and suspension aren't prohibitively expensive. Thus the motor(s) are really the primary concern. Anyone know the cost to replace them and how they would handle being pushed to the limit on a regular basis?
 

Twiglett

Single pedal driver
Oct 3, 2014
2,742
2,669
Austin
Like what? There's no transmission and the battery lasts pretty much forever. Tires, breaks, and suspension aren't prohibitively expensive. Thus the motor(s) are really the primary concern. Anyone know the cost to replace them and how they would handle being pushed to the limit on a regular basis?
So you think the motor is a concern because it’s an unknown?
How about the little things in an EV like the battery or the inverter?
 

12Pack

..
Aug 25, 2017
405
258
Manchester, UK / SFO, US
Does the M3 performance come with a resolution for the the battery/inverter heating issues? Have had my MS P100D on track once and it cut power within the first lap that I pushed it (after two warm-up / siting laps) because of this.
 

JGard

Member
Aug 21, 2013
292
181
Acton, MA
Can anybody speak to the battery life during a track day with one of these things? I'd love to take mine to COTA (once I get it), but it's about 25 miles away from my home and afaik, there are no publicly available chargers there. I'd hate to pay $500 for a track day, but only have enough juice to run like 10-15 laps and then have to head home
 
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SSedan

Active Member
Jul 24, 2017
2,948
2,310
Greenville Wisconsin
As said battery and the inverter heat would be my concern.

An ICE with all the reciprocating parts and valvespring wear would worry me more than the electronic motor itself.
 

MP3Mike

Well-Known Member
Feb 1, 2016
15,392
33,414
Oregon
Does the M3 performance come with a resolution for the the battery/inverter heating issues? Have had my MS P100D on track once and it cut power within the first lap that I pushed it (after two warm-up / siting laps) because of this.

The pinch point on the Model S isn't the inverter or battery, it is the motor, and more specifically the rotor which is very hard to cool. The Model 3 uses a PM motor so it doesn't have a problem with rotor heat like the Model S&X with their induction motors.
 
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ℬête Noire

Active Member
Jan 30, 2018
3,105
2,556
TX
The pinch point on the Model S isn't the inverter or battery, it is the motor, and more specifically the rotor which is very hard to cool. The Model 3 use a PM motor so it doesn't have a problem with rotor heat like the Model S&X with their induction motors.
Also, the Model 3 motor has an oil bath circulated by a paddle wheel with an oil filter (that the Model S/X drive units don't have). It is understood that the oil is then run through a heat exchange for the battery coolant. This allows them to air-cool away the heat with the front radiator or, as they don't seem to have resistive heating elements within the battery, use the heat from the motor to bring the battery up to optimal operating temp.

To OP, of the few that have tried, so far nobody has found the Model 3 throttling on the track due to heat. Here's the first one I saw that tried but there have been more: Model 3 Track Day: Laguna Seca Also check out Mountain Pass Performance's more recent posts here.

You'll see in that thread I linked that they completely cooked their brakes without the motor showing any signs of throttling.
 
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Knightshade

Well-Known Member
Jul 31, 2017
11,644
15,713
NC
The pinch point on the Model S isn't the inverter or battery, it is the motor, and more specifically the rotor which is very hard to cool. The Model 3 use a PM motor so it doesn't have a problem with rotor heat like the Model S&X with their induction motors.

Well, it uses one in the back.

AWD/P models use induction in the front though.... (not sure if we know if they've made any significant cooling changes or anything yet for it though compared to the S/X units)
 
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ℬête Noire

Active Member
Jan 30, 2018
3,105
2,556
TX
Well, it uses one in the back.

AWD/P models use induction in the front though.... (not sure if we know if they've made any significant cooling changes or anything yet for it though compared to the S/X units)
The "burnout" skidpad video released by Tesla last week appears to confirm the expectation that there is going to be a lot less power (thus less heat) in the front motor. It'll be interesting to see whether or not Tesla found/feels it necessary to add active cooling elements to the front motor, as well.
 

NickFie

Member
Sep 28, 2017
529
570
Near Philadelphia, PA
They don’t. As a percentage of all Tesla vehicles produced, drive unit failure (meaning the car won’t move because of a problem with the drive unit) is rare. If it was common you would see multiple posts about it every day on TMC.

I have a total of over 83K miles on my S (which I traded in for an X) and my X. I have never had a “drive unit failure”. And after 5+ years of volume vehicle production there are tens of thousands of Tesla owners who have had the same experience.
More-frequent motor failure in first wave of Model S. Tesla had one or two redesigns, now there is good reliability.

My early-adopter Tesla friend showed me his original drive unit in my first demo drive. It had developed problems, was replaced with newer design under warranty. When I was in the car it already was well over 100k miles.

Will be interesting to see how oncoming wave of high battery capacity EVs do as thousands of owners accumulate millions of miles in diverse conditions.

The older I get, the more I understand the value of experience.
 
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ℬête Noire

Active Member
Jan 30, 2018
3,105
2,556
TX
More-frequent motor failure in first wave of Model S. Tesla had one or two redesigns, now there is good reliability.
A lot of the motors they replaced hadn't failed outright, either. They were replacements for noise that, IIRC, ended up being power electronics related.
 

MP3Mike

Well-Known Member
Feb 1, 2016
15,392
33,414
Oregon
Also, the Model 3 motor has an oil bath circulated by a paddle wheel with an oil filter (that the Model S/X drive units don't have).

The S&X drive train have a gear driven oil pump to keep things lubricated, but it doesn't have a filter, and doesn't work in reverse. The Model 3 rear motor uses and electric pump for lubrication and has a filter.

We don't know what the front motor on the AWD/P Model 3s will be like yet.
 

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