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How Tesla's Aero Wheels Improve Efficiency More Than You Would Expect
When it comes to all-electric vehicles, wheels and tires make a huge difference: low-resistance tires and aerodynamic wheels increase range, and grip, and reduce noise performance. Tesla uses Michelin special tires and has its in-house technology for wheels called aero wheels.
Car and Driver tested a Model 3 to determine how much savings in energy consumption and increase in range the aero covers provided — and their results revealed that its efficiency was more than expected. It averaged an increase of 3.4% in consumption efficiency and added about 10 miles of range.
For years Tesla has been explaining the science behind the wheels and how they improve performance. Robert Palin — who worked for Tesla's aerodynamic team since 2009 — mentioned in a Facebook post republished by Electrek that the skeleton of the wheel is alloy but its unique shape increases strength and optimizes mass.
Palin said, "I was the head of aero at Tesla for MS, MX, and M3, and I can confirm that wheel design and size can be the biggest influence of all on the aero efficiency of a road car.” Tesla's online shop sells 18", 19", 20", and 21", wheel and tire packages as well as aero wheel covers for all its models, with prices ranging from about $2,000 to $6,000.