Insight to Model 3 design process

Discussion in 'Model 3' started by bwilson4web, Jul 18, 2018.

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  1. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web Well-Known Member Subscriber


    In early 2015, Musk convened a meeting of his top engineers in a windowless conference room at the factory. There were 12 people, including experts in batteries, design, chassis, interiors, body, drive systems, safety, and thermodynamics. Musk, who did not attend himself, had gathered them to figure out what the Model 3 would be.

    Over the course of the meeting, the engineers filled a whiteboard with dozens of requirements, including a range of at least 200 miles and an affordable price. The last of these criteria made the project especially daunting. Even scarier, Tesla would begin selling it in mid-2017, giving the company 2 ½ years to design, test, and build a new vehicle, compared with about five years at a traditional automaker.

    Creating a low-cost electric car is about maximizing range in every possible way. For instance, Tesla’s designers added plastic covers, costing $1.50 each, to hide four pads on the underside of the car where a jack goes. The decision reduced wind resistance and improved the car’s range by 3 miles. They also opted for four-piston monoblock caliper brakes, which are usually reserved for more expensive cars. But since the brakes are lightweight, they lower the car’s battery requirements and overall cost. “Every single decision like that was put back into the context of an electric car,” says Doug Field, a former Apple vice president Musk recruited as a top engineer in 2013. In other words, electric cars require new ways of thinking about cost and performance.

    This is why an 'established' car manufacturer faces a cultural change challenge. Because of the Prius, Toyota has a culture of efficient designs. But other car makers, not even close.

    Bob Wilson
    Pushmi-Pullyu and Domenick like this.
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  3. Interesting, the plastic covers covering the jack points obviously never made it to production.
  4. Domenick

    Domenick Administrator Staff Member

    Huh. I wondered about that. I imagine there are still jack points though, right? Just lacking covers?
  5. Oh, yes there are four jack points. I actually purchased adapters so I can use my floor jack to rotate the tires.
    Domenick likes this.
  6. Pushmi-Pullyu

    Pushmi-Pullyu Well-Known Member

    I see a horror story posted to the Tesla Motors Club forum about damage to the underside of a Model 3 at a tire shop using regular car jacks. The Model 3 needs special adapters for its non-standard jack points.

    There is a downside to Tesla going its own way on so many things. :(


    I guess the lesson here is that if you're gonna get your Model 3 serviced at a non-Tesla shop, any sort of service that normally requires jacking up the car, then better make sure you get or make some jack point adapters and take them along with you, and make sure whoever is servicing your car understands how to use them.

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  8. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web Well-Known Member Subscriber

    BMW i3 has the same jack point design feature.

    Bob Wilson

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