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Smaller and Lighter wheels make you faster, more efficient, and offer better road hazard protection.

You are not exactly coming across as being reasonable or open to feedback, quite the opposite in fact. Stating that those of us who have been testing these cars for the last four years are completely wrong after you've owned this car for, it appears three months, is pretty insulting to the community.

Battery temperature, motor temperature, ambient temperature, wind resistance, elevation, state of charge, internal pack resistance, adhesion of road surface; this is only a fraction of the determining factors which go into your quarter mile. You can't control those factors such that they are exactly the same every run; that's all I am saying. And if you are trying to tell me they were the same when you went to the drag strip every single time, well that's clearly not true. If, however, you get the perfect storm of ambient conditions, sure, you might set a record. It also likely helps that you have a near-new car with comparably low internal resistance. In addition, it is possible that Tesla has made some changes to the drivetrain in recent months that have improved the efficiency of the power delivery in the car, which allowed you to achieve this record. There's another 2022 Model 3 Performance with only lowering springs noted as a modification, and it was .05 seconds slower than your car.

I'm not saying that your results aren't valid, I am saying that your conclusion of why is, and doesn't line up with any other evidence the community has found to date. Do you think the T-Sportline's are the lightest wheel ever put on a Model 3 Performance? They're heavier than the stock 18" aero wheels. They are 4+ pounds away from being the lightest. The Model 3 Performance without the PUP came with the 18" aero wheels from the factory, so we tested essentially this exact same configuration from a weight and overall diameter perspective when the Model 3 Performance was released four years ago tens, if not hundreds of times. You are without a doubt jumping to conclusions based on the results of a single test on a single car, and trying to say that every other car is invalid.

I have no idea what you mean about tire diameter and tread width correlating. A smaller diameter tire does not automatically equal a narrower tread with.

A smaller overall diameter is actually the only way I've ever seen to reliably drop quarter mile times. I can virtually guarantee you that putting on smaller overall diameter tires/wheels of the same exact weight as the Uberturbines would result in virtually the same results you got in this test. A smaller diameter, even one as minimal as we are discussing here, affects the horsepower curve quite significantly.

You think you are the only one to have ever cooled the car with Track Mode and then pre-conditioned? Come on. Not to mention it would make near no difference at all, since Track Mode cools both the battery and the motors, and pre-conditioning heats both the battery and the motors. So all you did is go back and forth.

Quite frankly, drag racing doesn't interest me a whole lot. But, I do hold the "Model Y Record" on Dragy. So, I wouldn't say I have no idea what I'm talking about. I've owned six Tesla's from 2018-present and modified all of them. I removed a few hundred pounds from a Model 3. I think that my experience is relevant here.

@Sam1 can go into detail about this, if he so chooses. But essentially, the weight makes no difference.

@gearchruncher can also offer some good insight.

@Knightshade may be able to as well.

And plenty of others.

To be clear, I am not questioning your results (car is faster now than before), but you are trying to introduce your opinion (it's due to the weight) as fact, when we have no evidence to support that opinion. It's my opinion that it's due to the smaller overall diameter and less rolling resistance. Why is my opinion worth any less than yours?
First let me state for the record exactly what my car is. I have a 2022 Model 3 Performance that was ordered on 11/01/2021 and built on 11/02/2021. I got it on 11/23/2021 and it has over 7K miles on it now and has been to the track 8 times. It weighed 4315 lbs when it was in its original configuration with the 20" wheels. I weigh about 200 lbs. My car is identical to any late production 2021 Model 3 Performance. It has the same 980 motor that the late 2021 models had and it doesn't have the new secondary battery that removes some weight. All of the 2022 changes happened after my car was built. It is in essence a late production 2021 model year car.

There are two separate and distinct tests I did. One was specifically a test to isolate exactly what the differences changing the wheels to smaller and lighter wheels would do. That is the test where I held every single variable I could control constant and in the cases of the variables I couldn't control I always made sure the 20" wheels had the advantage. In that particular test the 18" wheels were about .08 seconds faster for 0-60 mph through the 1/4 mile on a track that is essentially flat except for a slight uphill near the end.

I get extremely consistent results at that track and all of the results indicated that when I ran the 18" wheels I was faster than with the 20" wheels. This did coincide with my expected results. However, my hypothesis was based off of Engineering Explain's testing with the same setup I have. Nobody does more thorough testing than Jason from Engineering Explained so it stands to reason that I got the same results he did.

Once that test was done I wanted to see how much further I could push the car. That is when I switched tracks to the unequivocally faster and downhill Rockingham track. I also implemented the new preconditioning routine and charged to 100% at the track.

While someone else has certainly tried Track Mode before preconditioning before. There is no evidence that someone has tried it with a full battery and then preconditioned to optimal temperatures like I did. The whole point of using Track Mode before preconditioning is that typically it won't let you precondition right after you charge to 100% because the battery is too warm. It is warm enough to prevent preconditioning but it isn't anywhere near the optimal temperature. Therefore, you have to cool it down first before you can use preconditioning to bring it up to optimal temps with a virtually full battery.

Doing the preconditioning in that manner ABSOLUTELY had an affect on performance as did the smaller and lighter wheels. The combination of all of those things is what helped me set the Trap speed record. However, I would like to note that this wasn't a fluke run or an anomaly. I have run over 121 mph on 7 different runs over two separate days now. It is really hard to argue that the things I have done don't work exactly as I said they do.

Absolutely, the wheels didn't make the entire difference. I have stated that all along. However, they do make a difference and it is clear and repeatable as my first test showed.

Someone definitely could go faster than I have. Like you stated there are much lighter wheels than mine. There are also much lighter tires as well. The 225/45/18 Pirelli PZ4 tires are only 21 lbs vs. my 23 lb PS4S tires. All of that weight must be in the tread which is furthest from the hub.

I didn't remove any static weight either. My car is heavy compared to current production 2022 Model 3s. If someone just removed seats on a new 2022 Model 3 Performance, switched to 40 lb wheel+tire combinations, and preconditioned with a full battery like I did then I am fairly certain they would break into the 11.1s on a fast track like Rockingham.

The thing that really irritates me is that some of you have been saying in unison all along that "wheels don't make a difference". That simply isn't true and you are misleading new people to this forum by saying that. Now that difference alone probably isn't worth the $3,000 I paid for the wheels, tires, and TPMS sensors but at least I have demonstrated what that difference is. Let the people decide for themselves whether that is worth it to them or not.

I am confident that if anyone switched to the same or lighter wheels than I have and did controlled tests like I did they would see the same .08 second improvement that I did. In addition if they did the same things I did at the Rock they too would get those same results if not better.

Honestly, my hope is that everyone goes out and tries this now. I want everyone else to see the improvements I saw. I hope someone smashes that Trap Speed I got. That would be good for the platform. There already have been a couple of people deeper into the 11.2s than I went. They had weight reductions though. 11.1s is definitely possible with proper preconditioning. The fastest run I had was with 459 KW "max discharge". However, I have seen as high as 462 KW directly after SuperCharging. If anyone can make a pass starting with 462 KW I am confident they will be faster than I was if they have any weight reduction mods too.

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New member and new m3p owner here. I'll just throw out some research I've conducted over the years of being involved with competitive cycling and my journey being a Jeep owner (I promise that's related).

In the cycling world, there's been a lot of R&D including wind tunnel testing around how to design different cycling wheels and in what environments do some designs perform better than others. In a nut shell, light wheels make a notable difference in terms of acceleration, however heavier wheels require less watts (yes, cyclists measure their outputs by watts with power meters now built into their bikes) to sustain speed at and up to 7% grades (as it relates to the cycling world, a light wheel could be in the neighborhood of 1000-1100 grams while a "heavy" wheel can be around 1500-1600 grams). This has always stuck with me as I see the different threads with Tesla and wheel weight conversations.

Not too long ago, I got into the whole off road / overlanding thing. When I had a Jeep Rubicon, there were aftermarket tools that allowed you to access the BUS system and alter your tire diameter for purposes of keeping your speedometer and odometer readings accurate when upgrading from 33inch to 35, 37, and sometimes even 40 inch tires. The Wrangler Rubicon came with a few different tire options from the factory. There was a BF Goodrich Ko2 option, and Falken Wildpeaks. Both came in factory tire size of 285/70/17, yet the BUS was configured with different diameter sizes to compensate for the marginal differences to give proper speed readings. There were also times where in the aftermarket world, two people could have the exact same aftermarket tires, but need to program different diameters into their BUS to get their speedometers properly calibrated. Generally, people would have to use GPS devices and test at a few varying speeds to dial in their diameters as accurate as possible. Where I'm going with this, once you change to a different tire that was not OEM spec'd - even in the same proper size, you'll never be able to make an apples to apples comparison again to the OEM wheel. Especially when you are talking about less than 1% efficiency gain.

I'm not trying to discount anyone's opinions, just sharing some of my own data points.
 

blower

Member
Apr 26, 2022
89
106
UK
Just to add my 2 cents (pennies) to this conversation...

M3P 2022 (UK EUmodel, LG 79 kWh battery which is not as high an output as the Panasonic 82 kWh in US models).
FYI, all EU bound M3P's now use the LG battery from Q2 2022 onwards (prior the performance M3 used the same Pan 82 kWh as US models)

Just switched from stock Uberturbine 20" to T-Sportline TS5 19"
Same brand and model tyres (Pirelli Pzero PZ4 NCS Elect), 235/35/r20 on the uber, 235/40/r19 on the TS5

Multiple runs measured with a Dragy, perfectly straight flat road, good surface.
Tests done on same section, under same conditions - dry, temperature within 1c variance (14-15c)
First or 2nd run always the best as SOC plays a greater role with the LG battery.
200lb driver, car completely stock - apart from the wheel changes
SOC 90%, battery preconditioned.
Results below from Dragy, no roll out.

Uberturbine 20"
0-60: 3.33s
1/4 mile: 11.68s

T-Sportline TS5
0-60: 3.25s
1/4 mile: 11.58s

I have done dozens of 0-60 runs in 2 locations and consistently got between 3.33 and 3.4s....never did I get into the 3.2 range until I switched the wheels. Now I can get 3.2x quite often and my 1/4 mile is consistently faster.

Only change on the car has been the wheels - same tyre brand and model, same width. Just the rim has shrunk 1" and the tyre has grown from 35 to 40 profile. Overall wheel diameter is 1.9mm less on the new wheels, however they have ~1mm more tread (as newer tyres), so the wheel diameter difference is <1mm.

The wheel design on the 19" TS5 is likely to have greater aerodynamic drag, however this appears to be negligible to what I can only conclude is the primary source of performance gain - the combination of an overall lighter wheel and smaller rim.
 
Just to add my 2 cents (pennies) to this conversation...

M3P 2022 (UK EUmodel, LG 79 kWh battery which is not as high an output as the Panasonic 82 kWh in US models).
FYI, all EU bound M3P's now use the LG battery from Q2 2022 onwards (prior the performance M3 used the same Pan 82 kWh as US models)

Just switched from stock Uberturbine 20" to T-Sportline TS5 19"
Same brand and model tyres (Pirelli Pzero PZ4 NCS Elect), 235/35/r20 on the uber, 235/40/r19 on the TS5

Multiple runs measured with a Dragy, perfectly straight flat road, good surface.
Tests done on same section, under same conditions - dry, temperature within 1c variance (14-15c)
First or 2nd run always the best as SOC plays a greater role with the LG battery.
200lb driver, car completely stock - apart from the wheel changes
SOC 90%, battery preconditioned.
Results below from Dragy, no roll out.

Uberturbine 20"
0-60: 3.33s
1/4 mile: 11.68s

T-Sportline TS5
0-60: 3.25s
1/4 mile: 11.58s

I have done dozens of 0-60 runs in 2 locations and consistently got between 3.33 and 3.4s....never did I get into the 3.2 range until I switched the wheels. Now I can get 3.2x quite often and my 1/4 mile is consistently faster.

Only change on the car has been the wheels - same tyre brand and model, same width. Just the rim has shrunk 1" and the tyre has grown from 35 to 40 profile. Overall wheel diameter is 1.9mm less on the new wheels, however they have ~1mm more tread (as newer tyres), so the wheel diameter difference is <1mm.

The wheel design on the 19" TS5 is likely to have greater aerodynamic drag, however this appears to be negligible to what I can only conclude is the primary source of performance gain - the combination of an overall lighter wheel and smaller rim.
Great info. Have you seen efficiency gains with the switch?
 
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OP makes sense. Lighter wheels/tires will increase performance. In addition to performance, Tesla also considers costs, looks, and Federal testing requirements for fitments. They also have a team of lawyers that provide incentive to error on the side of caution more than eaking out a few tenths of performance.
Some owners will have fun eaking out additional times at the track, but with the knowledge that Tesla could make their cars much faster as well with just some clicks on their keyboards.
Drag racers have known for years that lighter rolling stock will aid in performance. Look at the skinny motorcycle sized wheels that are on top fuel dragsters. They also have huge wide and sticky tires on the back to provide the traction need to optimize track times.
Beat the Clock is a fun game for many owners.

A side note. Most circuit racers have gone to larger diameter tires to provide additional room for larger diameter brakes. The better brakes offset the losses from the larger sized wheels. NASCAR uses relatively smaller wheels and larger sidewalls/larger diameter wheels to provide more rubber. They can do this because their braking requirements can be handled with smaller rotors.

Each track will determine the physicality of the cars racing there.
 
This is so funny. The OP does really good tests and proves his car is faster with smaller rims. BUT not believed and has to defend himself.

Well, it has been proven over and over, smaller rims = better kwH/mile also(Tesla even now lists the range hit when you pick larger rims on the order page), so why wouldn't the car be faster? It is, he showed it.

The problem is, for some reason, we are under the impression bigger rims LOOK better and we have to have them. NOPE, not for me. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and larger rim does NOT look better to me. I have the same desire until I think of the negatives. Sure it handles better and can take larger brakes, but all I see are the downsides. Rougher ride, shorter range, slower car (as proven here), higher risk of pothole damage, and lots more $$$$ to replace the tires when they wear out.

Heck, I'm old enough to remember when the 1980's Magnum PI Ferrarri had 16" wheels, and that was a sporty car for the time. 'Regular cars' had 14" rims. Maybe 15s. Current cars with 17" rims probably out handle the capability of 95% of the drivers out there. This 20"+ rim size is really out of control (in my mind). Always say 'follow the money' and this push to make the OPINION of the general public to want larger wheel sure feels like a $$$$$ grab to sell more expensive tires and rims. Look at the $$$$ upcharge on Tesla to get a larger rim($1500 on a M3 and $5500 on a MX!). For LOOKS. Same brakes. It's across the whole product range. Feel like the whole population has been brain washed into thinking "I need the largest rim or my car sucks." That's an opinion and I disagree.

And don't even get me started on how down sizing to smaller rims and narrower tires is WAY better for winter tires. Also cheaper to buy and who cares about the loss of handling when you are just trying to stay on an icey road. NARROW, TALL tires for the win in the snow!

Glad to hear my 'worse looking MX' with 20s is quicker than a MX with 22s. Thanks OP for doing this test.
 
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Because this gets forgotten as people roam into this discussion:

  • Nobody disputes that making a thing lighter will result in great acceleration for a constant force. F=MA after all
  • But Tesla vehicles appear to cap acceleration at 1G, and since the cars nearly hold 1g all the way to 60mph, the impact of lighter wheels is typically pretty small on a performance model 3. As we see here with just a bit less than a tenth.
 
Where has it been shown that kwh/mile improves (measurably) with lighter wheels?


Because acceleration is software limited to 1g, limiting the benefit.

He said smaller wheels, not necessarily lighter (but usually lighter due to size). Empirically, I've driven 2 years on my 20 inch wheels and averaged about 330-340 wh/mi. This is about 20k miles.

I've gone to 18 inch wheels since late last year and have about 10k miles...my average wh/mi has been about 290-300 wh/mi. Same commute, same tires (PS4S), same driving style. Empirically, about ~10% increase in efficiency. Just my observations so take it for what you will.
 
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Where has it been shown that kwh/mile improves (measurably) with lighter wheels?


Because acceleration is software limited to 1g, limiting the benefit.
Go look at the Tesla site. M3 SR is 257 with 18, 261 with 19". Sure 18s are Aero and that is really close, but there isn't a single case on the Tesla site (S, 3, X, Y ) where the larger rim has more range . Range is kwH/mi.

The MX is a better example as both 20 and 22s are similar design rim aero wise. 20s = 351 EPA, 22s is 332 . Larger rims with smaller sidewall tires and not as efficient so it doesn't go as far as the EPA tests show.
 
Go look at the Tesla site. M3 SR is 257 with 18, 261 with 19". Sure 18s are Aero and that is really close, but there isn't a single case on the Tesla site (S, 3, X, Y ) where the larger rim has more range . Range is kwH/mi.

The MX is a better example as both 20 and 22s are similar design rim aero wise. 20s = 351 EPA, 22s is 332 . Larger rims with smaller sidewall tires and not as efficient.

The efficiency changes in those packages is due to the differing tire rolling resistance (mostly) and aerodynamic difference (a little) not wheel/tire mass.
 

blower

Member
Apr 26, 2022
89
106
UK
Because this gets forgotten as people roam into this discussion:

  • Nobody disputes that making a thing lighter will result in great acceleration for a constant force. F=MA after all
  • But Tesla vehicles appear to cap acceleration at 1G, and since the cars nearly hold 1g all the way to 60mph, the impact of lighter wheels is typically pretty small on a performance model 3. As we see here with just a bit less than a tenth.

There does appear to be a 1G limiter that can be seen on dragy charts - however an M3P only pulls 1G up until 45mph on an unmodified M3P, after that it drops off. So there are gains to be had even on the 0-60 - albeit not earth shattering.

The impact of smaller lighter wheels is only about a tenth on the 0-60, but it does have a greater impact at higher speeds and hence the 1/4 mile.
There is also a greater impact under non ideal conditions - i.e. lower SOC and/or battery not warmed up.

Having done numerous 0-60 pulls before and after the wheel swap on my M3P, what i am noticing is i'm getting a more consistent 0-60....it's not loosing as much performance at lower SOC.
 
Where has it been shown that kwh/mile improves (measurably) with lighter wheels?


Because acceleration is software limited to 1g, limiting the benefit.
I did 1:1 efficiency testing with my 2022 Model 3 Performance with the 20” UberTurbine wheels and the 18” T Sportline TS5 wheels and 235/45/18 Michelin PS4S tires. Please note that the PS4S tires were NOT the Tesla specific tires with the sound deadening foam.

My test consisted of one lap around our beltway that was almost exactly 25 miles. I used cruise control at 60 mph the whole way and did a GPS measured average speed of 60 mph for each run.

Wind was negligible, tires were at similar pressures, temps were similar.

With the Uberturbine wheels I averaged 247 Wh/mi for the 25 miles. With the 18” T Sportline wheels I averaged 223 Wh/mi.

Now, I don’t believe that was due to the wheels and tires being lighter. I think it was a combination of factors. The tread width on the 20” Pirelli tires is listed as 7.9”. For the 235/45/18 Michelin PS4S tires the tread width is listed as 7.6”. However, the Pirelli tires are stretched much more on the 9.5” rim so the tread width might be much greater in reality.

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Because acceleration is software limited to 1g, limiting the benefit.
I have yet to see any evidence that this is software limited. If I did a 0-60 mph run down a steep hill I believe I could exceed 1G in my car. There are people on Dragy who have exceeded 1G and no they aren’t the guy that tries to pass his electric Harley off as a Model 3.
 
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The efficiency changes in those packages is due to the differing tire rolling resistance (mostly) and aerodynamic difference (a little) not wheel/tire mass.
Mass and rotational inertia is more significant if a driver uses the brakes more often as some of that energy would not be recovered. It's still only a small amount, but could make a much more notification on a track where brakes are going to be used judiciously.
 

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