Ground clearance

Ground clearance

From looking at pictures of model 3 it appears there is vary little ground clearance. I am concerned that with battery that low to ground it could get damaged easily when going over speed bumps or from debe in road. Does anyone know a what the ground clearance is ? I have not been able to find specs on this.

melinda.v | 11. Februar 2017

There are no specs yet, but it should be similar to Model S

topher | 11. Februar 2017

Contrary to seeming expectation, Tesla engineers have actually been out in the real world.

Thank you kindly.

Red Sage ca us | 11. Februar 2017

topher: +42 Googol! Indeed.

Chesapeake410: The Model S used to come with a sort of plastic 'skid plate' that covered the underside of the car at the frunk. That was replaced with a titanium shield instead in early 2014 as a response to some car fires that resulted from road debris that destroyed the cooling system hidden underneath and behind the frunk. The battery pack itself is sheathed within an aluminum case with 1/4" thick walls, and is well armored on its own. Anything that would penetrate it would likely result in disaster for occupants of an ICE vehicle. Don't worry about it.

jordanrichard | 11. Februar 2017

Since no one outside of Tesla has the specs for the Model 3, we can only go by what the MS has. The ground clearance is 6 inches. As Red Sage said, the underside of the pack is protected by a 1/4" ballistic grade aluminum plate. The underside of the nose of the car is still shrouded in plastic for aerodynamic purposes but as Red Sage mentioned, they affixed a titanium plate to the front leading edge/vertical part of the battery pack, along with a "push bar" that deflects large objects. These new reinforcements not only reduce cinder blocks into dust, but alternators too.
So the point is, Tesla knows the vulnerabilities of the battery pack and how to protect it.

Bighorn | 11. Februar 2017

All Model S batteries have the aluminum plate, since inception.

bigd | 11. Februar 2017

Red Sage ca us | "The Model S used to come with a sort of plastic 'skid plate' that covered the underside of the car at the frunk."

"Bighorn | February 11, 2017
All Model S batteries have the aluminum plate, since inception."

These 2 commits seem to contradict each other, which is correct?

topher | 11. Februar 2017

The battery has always been housed in an aluminum case (the 'plate' in question). There used to be a plastic skid plate in front of it, which is now made from titanium (alloy presumably).

Thank you kindly.

Bighorn | 11. Februar 2017

You have to ask? :)

Bighorn | 11. Februar 2017

Actually, he's referring to the frunk, not the battery. So both are correct.

bigd | 11. Februar 2017

'skid plate' that covered the underside of the car at the frunk." OK so what year(s) was the frunk just plastic? I did not know that it was ever made with plastic.

bmalloy0 | 11. Februar 2017

@bigd: the original yearish (I think) was plastic, but following a few incidents they offered a free upgrade to a titanium plate and began producing all cars with the titanium

If someone knows better than me, feel free to correct me

Bighorn | 11. Februar 2017

They added a titanium plate after the fires and all cars were upgraded. It's still hidden by the plastic undercarriage I believe.

denkav2 | 11. Februar 2017

Ok so from the discussion so far, the battery should be safe. However I'd like to get back to the issue of ground clearance in general. Looking at the three M3s in reveal 1, their ground clearance looks to be on the small side. If the M3 ends up with that amount of ground clearance then in places like Australian where we have lots of speed humps, lots of raised slow points and lots of dirt roads we are going to be bottoming out the underside of the car quite often. Perhaps the reveal 1 cars were just set at that height for visual effect. But nevertheless it is a concern of mine. And adjustable height air suspension (if offered) is not what I'd be interested in.

Red Sage ca us | 12. Februar 2017

bigd: I seem to remember writing above, "That was replaced with a titanium shield instead in early 2014..." There was a big hullabaloo about it three years ago. I thought you were around then. Anyway -- there was a 'voluntary recall' by Tesla to replace the plastic cover with the titanium shield and some other sort of 'cow catcher' accessories.

Consumer Reports posted videos on YouTube about the change:

___ Video before the change [ R3YQandIkPE ]
___ Video after the upgrade [ AHdxakaGrkw ]

Well actually, it seems the change was a little different than I thought it had been, but has been very effective just the same.

denkav1: There will definitely not be a version of the Model ☰ that uses 14" wheels with 75 series tires. So, no -- it's not going to have a default ground clearances in excess of 7" (177.8 mm). But very few modern cars do.

I grew up in a rather rural part of Mississippi. It takes some rather reckless driving in extremely ramshackle vehicles to constantly bottom out on the mud, clay, dirt, and gravel roads there. Typically the best way to navigate such surfaces in a safe manner is to simply slow down.

If you don't intend to get the air suspension, you can certainly go with coils. But again, those are not going to offer a particularly high ground clearance by default. For the sake of comparison, the BMW 3-Series has a ground clearance of 157 mm, just shy of 6-3/16". I would expect a Tesla Model ☰ to be about the same.

denkav2 | 12. Februar 2017

Thanks Red Sage ca us. Speed humps should be ok then. That's one more worry off my list.

jordanrichard | 13. Februar 2017

So there are no Porsches, Ferrari's etc in Australia? If those cars can be sold and driven on your roadways, then certainly a Model 3 will be able to.

M3München | 13. Februar 2017

I'm more concerned about the duplex garage where I hope to park mine. The angle of the platform is not insubstantial.

melinda.v | 13. Februar 2017

T3Muenchen - I did a quick estimate of the max angle to not scrape and came up with about 12º

Shesmyne2 | 13. Februar 2017

Hellooo-Air suspension?

Still Grinning ;-)

M3München | 13. Februar 2017

Thanks Melinda.v. now I just need to find a protractor. ;)

andy.connor.e | 14. Februar 2017

Unless you live on the side of a mountain, Tell me how often the bottom of peoples cars hit or scrape the ground

topher | 14. Februar 2017

"Thanks Melinda.v. now I just need to find a protractor. ;)"

There's an app for that.

Alternatively, take a level sighting (eye height), measure the distance to that sight with a piece of string, measure the string between outstretched arms, 5 or less is greater than 12°.

More generally, a sighting taken at eye level, measured by fathoms (outstretched arms) to that point, divided into 60 gives degrees of slope (roughly).

Remember that what we care about is the angle between two sections of slope.

Thank you kindly.

topher | 14. Februar 2017

"Tell me how often the bottom of peoples cars hit or scrape the ground"

Used to happen all the time in my business partners gen 1 Prius. Lots of dirt roads and driveways around here.

Thank you kindly.

Bighorn | 14. Februar 2017

+1 topher

Rocky_H | 14. Februar 2017

6 inches is pretty common for a lot of passenger cars. Our Tesla Model S has that, and our other car, a 2005 Honda Civic Hybrid has that same 6 inch clearance. The Civic is not known for being a particularly low car, and it usually doesn't scrape on much. The other factor, though, is that small car are less likely than a big car to scrape, given the same ground clearance, due to longer front overhang, and larger wheel base.

There are some driveway and parking lot entrances that I have to take a bit of a diagonal angle on with the Model S in order to not scrape from a high center situation where the pavement has a peak. And there is a speed bump that I go over sometimes where I went a little too fast, and the heavy weight gave a bit of a clunk on it when it bounced down onto it, where my Civic does not do that.

So all that to say, if the Model 3 has about the same clearance specification as the Model S, it should at least be a little better off from being shorter and lighter.

andy.connor.e | 15. Februar 2017

I think that if you're worried about ground clearance for a sedan, you probably should not be in the market for a sedan. Just saying.

Rocky_H | 15. Februar 2017

@andy +1

fly n lo | 01. März 2017

I too thought every MS built came with the same clearance and overall vehicle height as per the Specifications illustration on the website when you order a car online. Not so.
The MS ground clearance is not a fixed number as the website shows at 5.3" for coil spring suspension.
Read the downloadable MS Owners Manual for North America wherein page 161 states the coil spring suspension clearance(and MS height) is dependent on Options added(single, dual, and performance 3 motors, battery size, roof glass or metal, etc.)
My late 2016 S75D with panoramic roof has approx. 4.9" clearance just back from front wheels and about 5.2" just forward of the rear wheels. This is with the recommended 45 psig cold tire pressures an no people or cargo in the car.
Discussions with Fremont revealed the same tire outer diameter for either the 19" wheels I have or the optional 21" wheels. There is no adjustment they could make to my car to give it the stated 5.3".
Nevertheless, I don't scrape by going slow over speed bumps and driveways also taking them at an angle other than perpendicular. I did have to secure a 1" X 8" X 8' plank in one garage to effectively increase the forward clearance placing it's width midpoint 54.5" from the garage pad/driveway apex as I enter or depart slowly.
Unless they add shims or somehow adjust the clearance at final assembly for a given VIN order, you should expect ground clearance to be a variable for the M3 as in the MS. I know nothing about this item for a MX.
Nevertheless, my MS is fantastic and I hope the 2 reservations I have for M3's will not disappoint either.

Red Sage ca us | 01. März 2017

Remember the good ole days, when the only thing hanging lower than the muffler under a car was the differential?

mntlvr23 | 02. März 2017

.... and on the bad days, the muffler would hang lower than the differential ....

millsdmb | 06. März 2017

my volt hits and scrapes the ground regularly. I'm nervous about the Model 3 -- should I consider air suspension?

andy.connor.e | 06. März 2017


Maybe you should consider NOT a sedan.

Madatgascar | 27. September 2017

I see this was never answered, so let's take care of this: It is 5.5".

Variable height will be offered later with air suspension, which is tied to the dual motor configuration. (I'm in the steep driveway club, trying to work the geometry - I need "very high" in my Model S, but with the Model 3's shorter length I am hoping I can take early delivery rather than waiting for air suspension. A cross section view of the car would be nice.)