Tesla at present is working on tweaking the Model 3 design to minimize wind resistance, says a report from Electrek. The Model E was renamed to Model 3 and is expected to be publicly shown off in March 2016. This mass market Tesla will resemble the BMW 3 series in size and is expected to be a smaller sedan/crossover platform.
Model 3 – a different car
Tesla has been promising a threshold of 200 miles, which can be achieved if fewer batteries go into the Model 3. This is possible only if drag is reduced. Fewer batteries results in significant cost savings on a massive scale and also lower the weight of the car. It also gives Tesla engineers more room to work internally.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk is pushing engineering designers to deliver a design with a drag coefficient lower than 0.20. If achieved, then Model 3 will become the mass production car with lowest drag coefficient in the world. There is a possibility that in an effort to achieve extremely low drag coefficients, the design of the car becomes unconventional and at times unappealing also, the report says.
Considering the fact that Musk is very particular about aesthetics, it seems unlikely that Tesla will compromise on visual appeal for better aerodynamic performance. Musk has already said that the Model 3 will look different from other cars. The majority of Tesla employees are working on the Model 3 at present, the report said.
What changes is Tesla planning?
The drag coefficient of the Model S is one of the lowest on record at 0.24, and “narrowing its profile to “3 series” width is already probably good for a small gain,” the report says. For its next target, Tesla plans to make several changes, like removing side rear view mirrors. The automaker is also working on a single blade windshield wiper mechanism similar to that on the Roadster, which tucks away when not in use. The car’s under-body and battery pack protection are being redesigned to efficiently channel the air.
Tesla is experimenting with a conical trunk as well, but it won’t be as extreme as hypermiler mods. At the same time, the company is working with a few tire makers to ensure that rolling resistance is decreased. The focus will be on tighter and sportier wheel wells that are also efficient at the same time. The wheels will be covered, the report says.