Tesla has been working on a new aero wheel option for Model S and the design has leaked in a new software update.
In a recent software update, Tesla added the option for owners to change their wheel configuration from the in-car software.
Now if an owner decides to change the wheels on their Model 3 from the 18″ aero wheels to the 19″ Sports wheels, they can simply go into their vehicle settings for the change to be reflected in the software.
It’s also the case for Tesla’s Model S and Model X.
After receiving the latest software update (2019.32.2.2), Model S owner Blake Quinn tried this new feature and he found a brand new and unannounced wheel configuration for the Model S.
He sent a few pictures of the new “Tesla 19″ Sonic Silver Tempest” aero wheels to Electrek:
While in the new in-car wheel configurator, the option is not yet available to order from Tesla’s website.
Over the last few years, Tesla has been producing the most efficient long-range electric vehicles in the world and it is using everything it can to make its cars more efficient like aero wheels.
In the early days of the Model S, Tesla briefly had an aero wheel option for the vehicle, but it was discontinued.
With the development of the Model 3, Tesla decided to bring back aero wheels.
In a post last year, Robert Palin, who has held many positions in Tesla’s aerodynamics team since 2009, explained how important the wheels were to the Model 3’s design:
“I was the head of aero at Tesla for MS, MX, and M3, and I can confirm that wheel design & size can be the biggest influence of all on the aero efficiency of a road car. The aero, design, and chassis teams put a huge amount of effort into these wheels, and they do really work!”
With the Model 3, Tesla introduced a new aero wheel design with removable aero caps.
“With casting there’s a minimum thickness of 10-12mm at the perimeter, making wheels like this obscenely heavy. With the cap approach they’re the lightest wheel design Tesla has ever done, & with very low rotational inertia. A lot of effort went into the integration of the cap so that it sits flush at the rim, and not on the outside if it, as on all the other wheel caps you’ll see. Having multi-part & multi-material wheels is the best way to satisfy multiple optimization goals. The thought with these wheels that having the latest tech on the latest car would be more appropriate than more traditional rims.
A Tesla VP of Engineering also previously said that Tesla Model 3’s aero wheels can increase efficiency by ~10% versus the bigger non-aero 19″ wheels.
Some more recent real-world testing showed that Tesla’s aero wheels improve range by 3% at high speed with the aero caps on versus off.
With the success of the aero wheels for the Model 3, it looks like Tesla is now bringing a different version of them to the Model S.
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