Model 3 ground clearance
Daniel Cappo's picture

Tesla Model 3 Ground Clearance Too Low For India's Roads

The Model 3 has a ground clearance that is currently too low for India. This is expected to delay the launch of the car in the country.
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Tesla is in a bit of a dilemma here because the ground clearance of the Model 3 is 25mm below what is allowed in India. The Model 3 currently has a ground clearance of 115mm, so the front clearance would need to be raised up to 140mm or more. This issue is expected to delay the projected launch date.

Model 3 tested going over speed bumps

The Model 3 underwent some tests going over speed bumps. The car was unable to make it successfully over 160 out of the 200 speed bumps in the test. This could be seen as an issue, but raising the ground clearance could impact the performance of the car.

Possible courses of action

It has been recommended by some engineers that the ground clearance be raised to 165mm. This may not seem like a lot, but it could make the Model 3 feel like a totally different car. Tesla has also thought about just retooling the suspension entirely. The real concerns raised have been that the Model 3 has a hard time going over speed bumps. There are likely a lot of speed bumps in the cities of India. It seems that Tesla might just entirely redo the suspension. It is important for Tesla to thoroughly analyze which parts of the frame are most vulnerable to being hit when driving over a bump.

How the Model 3 could change

In many ways, a higher ground clearance won’t change the Model 3 for the better. The vehicle might do better over speed bumps but will likely have worse handling than it does now. The amount of body roll and the quality of the steering could also be affected. Hopefully a good solution can be worked out so Tesla can sell a product in India that will be looked upon fondly by the buyers.

Image: Tesla

Daniel Cappo reports Tesla developments at Torque News. He has had a passion for cars ever since age five when his grandparents let him drive their old golf cart around their property in Upstate NY. He has attended numerous auto shows, and even got the chance to drive a Ferrari California on the track. Ever since Tesla opened up a dealership at his local mall, he's been an avid follower of their cars and technology. Dan has a B.S. in Public Communication from U Vermont. Follow Daniel on Twitter and LinkedIn for daily Tesla News.


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Comments

That is just 1" higher than the Model 3 is now (6.5" vs. 5.5") so I seriously doubt that it will take much engineering other than using different springs. All economical cars work to reduce aerodynamic drag on the car, especially on the highway. I had Chevy Volts and now have a Cadillac ELR and they both have low air dams/skirts that scrape on speed bumps and steep driveways. The rubber skirt on the Volt was only 4" off of the ground, and Chevy actually did a free swap for customers because so many were scraped off in normal driving. I've driven in southern India and the last thing that you are worried about is scraping on speed bumps, as driving conditions and traffic is a challenge, to say the least. But it is a good thing that they have such an easily fixed issue to be in compliance with local needs. The greater challenges will be getting the price of Tesla models down to more affordable levels, and building out the Supercharger network in India.