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When will Tesla design and manufacture tires?

Discussion in 'Future Vehicles' started by Bet TSLA, Dec 31, 2016.

  1. Bet TSLA

    Bet TSLA Member

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    When will Tesla design and manufacture tires? Tires are currently the worst part of the car -- the most polluting, the least effective, and not designed or manufactured by Tesla. How can that not be high on their list of target improvements?

    What do I expect? Lower particulates, better handling, more efficient, longer lasting, better traction, shorter stopping, more safe, and more sensors to collect more data. Putting a neural net to designing better tires should be a relatively straightforward thing -- all you need is the data. So maybe a couple of years to figure out new materials and manufacturing techniques?

    What's difficult? Well, tires exist in probably the nastiest environment of the entire car, outside of what happens during a crash. And functioning effectively in a continuously nasty environment is a much harder problem that simply failing safe.

    I have to assume that, given what Tesla is, they've probably been working on this for years now. Even a pretty weak, partial solution would have to be much better than what we have now. I mean, they don't have to go to swarmbots that reconfigure themselves in realtime on the first go, right?
     
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  2. thegruf

    thegruf Active Member

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    Mars first - then who knows ;)
     
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  3. Waiting4M3

    Waiting4M3 Active Member

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    Tires? Where we're going, we don't need tires!

    Give us the flying cars Elon!
     
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  4. Doug_G

    Doug_G Lead Moderator

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    Never.
     
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  5. thegruf

    thegruf Active Member

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    C'mon Doug - you'll have to justify such a polarized postion :)
     
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  6. jsmay311

    jsmay311 Member

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    "Polarized"?

    Does ANY other auto manufacturer make their own tires?
     
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  7. Waiting4M3

    Waiting4M3 Active Member

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    I wonder if Ferrari or MB has their own tire development intended for their F1 racing needs, and if they have proprietary tech that they use for their passenger cars tires. Regardless, I think there's been lots of research (for example in this C&D article) in tires, and it's not one of the established and slow-evolving industries (like ICE or roofing) that Tesla can easily disrupt.
     
  8. Bet TSLA

    Bet TSLA Member

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    Since when does Tesla do things the way that other manufacturers do? What a strange argument to make. If Tesla wants radically better tires they'll have to make them themselves, ergo they will. That's my figuring anyway. It's a very difficult problem, but the bar is pretty low and Tesla has the data from millions of miles of driving. This is something nobody has had before, so perhaps new kinds of progress are possible.
     
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  9. Az_Rael

    Az_Rael Supporting Member

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    The major tire manufacturers can make custom tires based on design specs a auto manufacturer wants. We do that in the fighter jet world - design the specs, then outsource the tires to a major brand. I doubt many auto companies do it outside of racing though, because it is so expensive.
     
  10. FlatSix911

    FlatSix911 918 Hybrid

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  11. Gen3

    Gen3 Member

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    I doubt tesla really wants radically better tires. Even if they did however, they get way more return from their limited capital by innovating and improving the car than they would get from creating better tires.
     
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  12. brucet999

    brucet999 Active Member

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    Would that be Borealisized or Australisized? :)
     
  13. BluestarE3

    BluestarE3 Active Member

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    Since their cars use so much of the stuff, maybe Tesla should get into the aluminum manufacturing business as well? ;)
     
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  14. Gen3

    Gen3 Member

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    Well then they would have to start building electric mining equipment
     
  15. BluestarE3

    BluestarE3 Active Member

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    Ties right in with Tesla's tunneling business. :)
     
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  16. jbcarioca

    jbcarioca Active Member

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    Entertaining that essentially no manufacturers of mobile equipment manufacture their own tires. Tire designers have done a really outstanding job with specialty tires. The industry has become more concentrated than it was 30 years ago but innovation has not stopped at all.
    More and more technology is being applied that is making tires both cheaper and far more consistent, reducing rolling resistance and creating [pretty easy customisation. That should play havoc with scale economies but numerical process controls are letting that happen too. The aftermarket is a bit of a hurdle...
    The annual convention in Germany is quite a sight:

    Tire Technology Expo 2017 | Smart Tire Factory | Connected Enterprise | Rockwell Automation UK

    I do not know too much about the subject but I have been learning.
     
  17. Bet TSLA

    Bet TSLA Member

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    Seriously? Since when is Tesla satisfied by limitations imposed on their vehicles by inadequate parts provided by others?

    Tesla is limited in its 0-60 time by bad tires. Tesla is less safe than it should be (handling and stopping distance) due to bad tires. Tesla has less range than it should because of bad tires. Teslas fail more often than they should because of bad tires. Tesla's performance on ice and snow and in rain is limited by bad tires. Tesla pollutes more than it should (especially particulates) due to bad tires. Teslas cost more to buy and operate than they should due to bad tires.

    Coming up with the right tire trade-offs for a Tesla is difficult. Mixing high performance, durability, comfort, and efficiency is something no tire maker does particularly well. And for Model 3 Tesla needs a reasonable price as well. So yeah, I think Tesla has been thinking hard about how to get better tires. And given how Tesla works, that probably means making them themselves. Tesla has no fear of vertical integration.
     
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  18. Doug_G

    Doug_G Lead Moderator

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    #18 Doug_G, Dec 31, 2016
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2016
    It's a specialized business and Tesla has no particular expertise in the area. It would be a distraction.
     
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  19. Bet TSLA

    Bet TSLA Member

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    You mean like making seats?
     
  20. BluestarE3

    BluestarE3 Active Member

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    Wasn't that because the seat manufacturer couldn't meet Tesla's quality and/or production targets and that would have put the Model X's rollout in jeopardy? So they felt they had no choice but to take this in-house? Elon said the same thing about Model 3 suppliers (i.e., if supplier can't do it in time, Tesla will do it themselves). However, is there a similar issue with tire suppliers?
     

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