German car rental company nextmove ran a head-to-head test and confirmed that lowering the Tesla Model 3 increases efficiency 7% on the highway compared to the stock suspension. In related news, the team also found that the all-wheel drive Tesla Model 3 consumes 4% more power than a similarly configured rear-wheel drive configuration.
To accurately test the differences, nextmove partnered with the suspension specialists over at KW Automotive Suspensions GmbH to custom build the ideal coilover kit for the Tesla Model 3. After installing the new kit, they put it to the test against a stock build and found that the new coilover kit improved the efficiency of the Model 3 by an impressive 7%. This is a bigger impact than even Tesla’s aero wheel covers, which nextmove found only improved efficiency 3%.
In real-world terms, the coilover kit improves the maximum range of the Standard Range Model 3 (at 150 km/h) from the stock 320 km (199 miles) to 341 km (212 miles). In the test, both of the Standard Range vehicles used had been imported from the United States and came equipped with aero wheel covers.
The coilover kit was the sole difference and lowered the ride height of the vehicle 3.5 cm (1.5 in). As you would expect, lowering the vehicle and its center of gravity closer to the tarmac also results in improved handling.
Several tests were performed to confirm the real-world improvements that came from the suspension mod. In the first test, two RWD Model 3s were put to the test in heavy traffic as they looped the city of Leipzig, Germany. Both cars had the same settings and came away with a 4.5% improvement in efficiency for the lowered Model 3.
In the second test, summer tires were swapped in and a third Model 3 — a black AWD build — was added to the mix. To more accurately isolate the improvements coming from the suspension, this test was performed earlier in the day, when traffic was at a minimum. In the second round of tests, over 800 km (497 mi) were put onto the test vehicles.
The testing revealed that the standard build RWD Model 3 consumed 22.5 kWh / 100 km. In contrast, the lowered Model 3 consumed only 21.1 kWh / 100 km. Said another way, lowering the Model 3 improved efficiency 7%. The AWD on the other hand, consumed 23.3 kWh / 100 km for 4% less efficiency than its RWD counterpart.
Tests were performed at 150 km/h, which does increase the impact of aerodynamic drag on the vehicle, and the benefits of improving vehicle aerodynamics. The higher speed also translates to a lower maximum range and higher per kilometer energy consumption than tests run at normal freeway speeds here in the United States, which hover around the 65 mph (105 km/h) mark.
For the full rundown of the tests, head over to the nextmove blog or watch their video of the testing below (German with subtitles).
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