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"You'll Lose 23 Miles of Range If You Order Your TM3 Performance With the Big 20-Inch Wheels"

Twiglett

Single pedal driver
Oct 3, 2014
3,038
3,127
Austin
First they are Tesla numbers that EPA releases and Tesla gets to choose what they report.
Second the 2019 number was for the 19" wheels, its just that the 20 got slightly worse and 18 rather better. Just like every other company did.
Now they show range for each size wheel so you have a better idea of what you're getting and officially confirms what has been observed by other owners and testing.
 

jkoya

NA2 NSX
Nov 21, 2018
3,626
1,569
Northern CA
The article in the link says "a Model 3 Performance on standard 18-inch wheels can drive up to 322 miles on a charge, achieving 124 MPGe in the EPA's combined cycle"... Is that with the aero covers on ? I've decided to order the Titan 7 T-S5 in 18" for road trip purposes and they are lighter than the stock 20"s. I'll see if I notice any differences ....
 

BZM3

Member
Aug 15, 2019
281
183
Somewhere
I was always curious about this, and the article doesn't really give specific reasoning. Is it the added weight of the larger wheels/tires? Logically I would think that larger wheels = larger circumference which equates to longer distance traveled per turn of the wheel, which I would then assume equates to slightly higher efficiency and speed. Or, same RPM of the wheel takes you farther. Obviously this is not the case, just hoping someone can explain why?
 

Eno Deb

Active Member
Aug 17, 2018
2,622
3,361
SF Bay Area
I was always curious about this, and the article doesn't really give specific reasoning. Is it the added weight of the larger wheels/tires?
It's a combination of stickier tires, higher weight and worse aerodynamics.
Logically I would think that larger wheels = larger circumference which equates to longer distance traveled per turn of the wheel, which I would then assume equates to slightly higher efficiency and speed. Or, same RPM of the wheel takes you farther. Obviously this is not the case, just hoping someone can explain why?
The circumference of the wheels including tires is almost the same (while the rims are bigger, the tires have a smaller aspect ratio).
 

z06tim

Member
Sep 10, 2019
95
80
Maryland
When I drop down from the 20" to 18", I'm even considering the Michelin Primacy MXM4 Factory Tire ......
Thats honestly a pretty good tire. I just put those on my fathers VW Tiguan a few weeks ago and they ride excellent and are pretty quiet overall.. They make a kinda cool low volume humming noise on the highway that is actually kinda soothing. LOL
 

jerry33

(S85-3/2/13 traded in) X LR: F2611##-3/27/20
Supporting Member
Mar 8, 2012
20,000
24,679
Texas
Losing range with higher performance wheels and tires has been happening ever since there have been higher performance wheels and tires. This really shouldn't be a surprise to anyone. I'm surprised people are still surprised by this.
 

jkoya

NA2 NSX
Nov 21, 2018
3,626
1,569
Northern CA
Thats honestly a pretty good tire. I just put those on my fathers VW Tiguan a few weeks ago and they ride excellent and are pretty quiet overall.. They make a kinda cool low volume humming noise on the highway that is actually kinda soothing. LOL

Cool - thanks for the tire info !! All the Model 3 owners I know have either the 19" or 20", so haven't personally heard any feedback on the MXM4 tires ...
 
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AlanSubie4Life

Efficiency Obsessed Member
Oct 22, 2018
10,848
13,577
San Diego
Second the 2019 number was for the 19" wheels, its just that the 20 got slightly worse and 18 rather better.

I don’t think that is correct. Though for 2019 the picture is very confusing. Because of the low take rate and the availability of the AWD they were able to declare the 310 mile range (which is the number for AWD with 18”) for the Performance with 20” wheels even though it does not reflect reality. They could just use the 18” result.

That is how it worked in 2018. 2019 is confusing, as I said, because technically the AWD is not the same car as the Performance for 2019 (unlike 2018). But they seemed to continue to use the same policy for rating the vehicles. The efficiency numbers for 2019 are exactly the same as for 2018.

I’m not sure why someone wrote an article about this! Clicks I guess! Algorithms must have picked up that there was Google interest in this or something.

“The 2019 Model 3 Performance, we should note, was only available with 20-inch wheels. It was rated by the EPA at 116 MPGe and a 310-mile range, both better figures than the EPA expects from the 2020 Model 3 Performance on 20-inch wheels.”

Yeah...that is not correct. The 20” 2020 will be more efficient than the 20” 2019, apparently. Just compare the 2020 EPA numbers on the 18” Performance to that of the 2019 Performance (which are the 18” numbers).

The 2020 Performance is more efficient than the 2020 AWD!

I’m glad in 2020 they made the relative efficiency of all the choices much more clear. Progress! Publishing incorrect info (within the scope of the rules) in 2018 and 2019 is leading people to draw weird conclusions or think something has changed.

What has changed is all the 2020 options are more efficient than before.

And to be clear, primary reason for efficiency differences in the different wheel sizes are 1) aero and 2) tires.

The weight makes very little difference, especially for achievable highway range.
 
Last edited:

run-the-joules

Turgid Member
Aug 13, 2017
3,785
7,341
SF Bay
Losing range with higher performance wheels and tires has been happening ever since there have been higher performance wheels and tires. This really shouldn't be a surprise to anyone. I'm surprised people are still surprised by this.

there is nothing higher-performance about the wheels. They are the same width, heavier, and not as strong. They are fashion upgrades.

the tires are a different matter but there will be very little objective performance difference between 18s and 20s in the same width with the same tires.
 

jerry33

(S85-3/2/13 traded in) X LR: F2611##-3/27/20
Supporting Member
Mar 8, 2012
20,000
24,679
Texas
there is nothing higher-performance about the wheels. They are the same width, heavier, and not as strong. They are fashion upgrades.

the tires are a different matter but there will be very little objective performance difference between 18s and 20s in the same width with the same tires.
Larger wheels shorten the sidewall and make for crisper turning. (I agree they are mostly about looks and wheel manufacturer profit). Typically tires matched to larger wheels have a higher performance tread compound and belt structure, which are typically traded for energy use and tire life.
 
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avalpert

Member
Oct 7, 2019
44
48
Silver Spring, MD
I was always curious about this, and the article doesn't really give specific reasoning. Is it the added weight of the larger wheels/tires? Logically I would think that larger wheels = larger circumference which equates to longer distance traveled per turn of the wheel, which I would then assume equates to slightly higher efficiency and speed. Or, same RPM of the wheel takes you farther. Obviously this is not the case, just hoping someone can explain why?

Wheel size does not necessarily mean larger circumference for the tire - the difference in diameter between a 235/45R18 and 235/35R20 is less than a quarter of an inch, or less than 1%, it's irrelevant.
 

jerry33

(S85-3/2/13 traded in) X LR: F2611##-3/27/20
Supporting Member
Mar 8, 2012
20,000
24,679
Texas
Wheel size does not necessarily mean larger circumference for the tire - the difference in diameter between a 235/45R18 and 235/35R20 is less than a quarter of an inch, or less than 1%, it's irrelevant.
Correct. In general for any particular vehicle, you can think of the tire/wheel assembly as having to fit inside a box. Going outside the box means that there will be rubbing. So as long as the wheels clear the brakes, you can have a variety of sizes with different aspect ratios (the 45 or 35 in the above examples). Usually as the aspect ratio reduces in percent, the width of the tire increases to compensate, although it doesn't in this case.
 

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