Previous truck builds focused high power, speed and performance with improved off-road capabilities, with my Supercharged 2nd Gen and Supercharged Gladiator Mojave. Unfortunately the Gladiator catastrophically blew the motor in the one year old truck.
Going forward it is impossible to ignore the crushing performance of high performance EVs while side-stepping high gas prices. So I decided to separate the vehicle rolls. Daily driver responsibility will be relegated to a Performance Model 3 Tesla while weekend warrior 4×4 duty goes to a classic 1st Gen DC Tacoma.
The car is due in soon, so I’ve started this thread to track all the Tesla developments and thoughts.
Tesla Model 3 Performance
450hp, 0-60 3.1s, range 315 miles
Brembo big brake kit with 20″ uberturbine wheels
The Performance isn’t where I started. I initially ordered the AWD long range version.
Tesla Model 3 Long Range
350hp, 0-60 4.2s, range 358 miles
Standard brakes with 18″ aero wheels
For an additional $2k you can purchase speed boost to bump the Long Range to 400hp, 0-60 in 3.7s without affecting the range. Largely regarded as the most balanced option of cost vs performance.
The way the Long Range model gets its extended range is by using smaller lighter wheels, aero wheel covers for reduced drag and low rolling resistance tires.
Tesla Aero wheel cover vs aero cover removed on the aero wheel
Merely changing from the 18″ aero wheel to a 19″ sport wheel without low rolling resistance tires drops the range from 358 to 334 miles. Logically if you wanted to combine ultimate performance with long range, one would put the OEM light weight aero wheels on the performance model. Except they won’t fit the Performance model due to the performance brakes.
Modding an EV for performance is a little different. Performance is often measured in power/weight ratios. In a conventional ICE vehicle, the focus is typically on adding power with various engine modifications. In an EV power is largely fixed, so instead weight reduction or efficiency improvements are key. If a vehicle is X-amount more efficient, that also means it is using that amount less power for a given speed and therefore has that much more power available on tap.
The key to building a high performance EV is maximizing efficiency for power, performance and range. And if you are stuck in the past thinking efficiency is boring, you should ride in a sub-3 second car. EV mods require far more attention to detail and if you are like me, that makes it all the more interesting.
The stock Performance 20″ uberturbine wheels are heavy, not aerodynamically efficient and they also come with summer only tires. Far less than ideal. They were chosen for the low profile giving good cornering on summer performance tires.
Enter the FastEV EV01 flow formed wheels. Aftermarket Aero wheels designed to fit the Performance model while being even lighter than Tesla’s aero wheels. 21lbs EV01 vs 23lbs for Tesla Aeros. The EV01 triangular covers are removable, FastEV claims a 4.4% efficiency improvement with the covers, similar to Tesla with the Aero covers. Wheels are also available in solid black. Additional article available here, manufacture site here. Long story short, range losses from the Performance models heavy non-aero wheels can be recovered to some extent with lighter more efficient wheels, which should also translate into even better performance.
EV01s on a Model 3 Performance
The stock long range 18″ wheels ride on 235/45r18 all season Michelin MXM4s tires with additional noise canceling foam inserts in Tesla spec, weighing 25lbs. (Because EVs are quieter, tire noise is more noticeable). The tire is a low rolling resistance, low noise all season that seems to do everything relatively mediocre, but has the best in class low rolling resistance for range. Despite being an older tire design, that is likely why it is still the OEM tire on the Long Range model.
I have many tire thoughts about balancing performance with rolling resistance and range backed by data measurements that I will share in later posts, but this is effectively the baseline.
In the 2021 refresh the Model 3 was equipped with Global Matrix LED headlights, previous models were equipped with reflector LED headlights. Matrix LED headlights were not approved by the NHTSA in the US until Feb of 2022. The cars had them prior to approval, but the matrix function was simply not enabled. The cars now just require a software update to enable the functionality. Matrix LED headlights allow full time high beams without blinding other motorists, making it one of the safest headlight technologies to date.
Matrix LED headlights
Mega thread on parts shortage causing the old reflector headlights to be subbed for the newer Matrix LED headlights in new cars.
New has matrix projector on the outer edge
Matrix headlight ability. Because.
A couple of better sites for actual Tesla upgrades:
Then a funny thing happened, I got cold feet/indecisive and cancelled the Tesla order and had this thread deleted. After many months of shopping around daily driver alternatives, I came full circle to the same conclusion this was the right vehicle and re-placed the order. This time instead of the midnight silver metallic, I decided to go with flare and get the red multi-coat. And then had the thread un-deleted.
Model 3 Performance
w/ Autopilot (not Full Self Driving)
Delivery on 9/24/22
There are insufficient words to describe the performance of these cars. The performance is on a different planet compared to an ICE vehicle. Often traditionalists will criticize these cars saying they «lack soul». As someone that holds a degree in vehicle design and is a long time automotive enthusiast, IMO once you drive it you realize the car has plenty of soul. It is different and in the form of underdog super car killing kind, it just lacks noise, which just makes it seem more luxurious. But it isn’t just acceleration, with the weight all being under the floor between the wheels with dual motor AWD, the car is absurdly responsive. You don’t have a very heavy engine in the front of the vehicle affecting the cars ability to rapidly respond to steering input, the front is literally an empty trunk or frunk, with no weight whatsoever, making its nimbleness unrivaled by a front engine ICE vehicle. On top of it all the car has ridiculous storage front and rear while seating 5. Everything from traditional vehicles immediately seems obsolete.