borrowing from Porche Panamera

borrowing from Porche Panamera

I was reading an article on the Porche Panamera in autoblog "" and came across an interesting idea. One of my main concerns with the model S is the lack of road clearance. The panamera has something called air suspension with on-demand air volume. I wonder if the Model S could have something like this as an option both for people who want to ride lower during high speeds and people who want to ride higher in rough road conditions. I know Audi used to have an on demand air suspension too so this is not new. Anyone else think this might be a good or bad idea?

joesontesla | 29 January, 2011

old volvos and mercedes got hydraulic sls on rear these here not realy reliable and very expensive to repair. new grand cherokee got this kind of technology this can be very usefull with a low ride car like tesla s in snow but please reliable and low cost.

Mehdi | 30 January, 2011

Land Rover LR3 also has the hydraulic suspensions and I hear they are not reliable and expensive to maintain also. The biggest downside of most luxury cars are the maintenance of thier bells and whistles. Lets keep it simple, we need a low maintance car. Simple Elegance.

BTW, I don't understand the road clearance concern. Most sport cars and sedans have a 6 inch clearance. My Mitsubishi Eclipse and my Mazda Miata both had barley 6 inch clearance and I never had an issue with either one.
And I'm certainly not planning to take the Model S off road.

mvbf | 30 January, 2011

I am not looking to drive the Model S off road. It just so happens I have a lot of dirt roads where I live which in the spring means slippery mud and even worse ruts as the temperature drops early in the morning and night. For me clearance is not bells and whistles. I hear you on the maintenance issue though. Has anyone had good experiences with the newer or older air/hydraulic suspensions in terms of reliability?

Timo | 31 January, 2011

I have a pretty much same situation as mvbf, I drive a pretty bad condition forest road every year to get to my friend summer cottage. Wonderful place, but bad road (and he likes it that way, keeps the unwanted people at minimum). Before that I had similar road to my summer cottage, but road got better and neighborhood worse, so it got sold.

mvbf | 1 February, 2011

how long have you had the GL 450? Have you had any maintenance issues regarding the hydraulic suspension?

Despite the different orientation of the GL 450 to the Model S, I do not believe an air/hydraulic suspension is antithetical to the Model S design and goals. The reason I chose the Porche Panamera's air suspension in my original question is that it has a similar mix of practical and high end performance goals to the Model S with the obvious electrical vs internal combustion differences.

In terms of cost, just like The Panamera the air/hydraulic suspension would be an option for those needing and willing to pay for it. Reliability for me is the more important question. At some point reliability issues could outweigh any benefits a system like this would offer. I wonder if any of the more recent air/hydraulic suspension systems have become reliable enough to be practical? Any mechanics with wider experience regarding these systems want to chime in?

searcher | 1 February, 2011

Enjoy reading the ocassional personal antidotes that are brought up within the context of the discussions. Kind of fleshes out the forums, real people with real experiences. To me, very interesting. Was told once that reason Volvo was a big global seller was it was relatively high off ground, which made for good vehicle in more remote parts of the world. The new ones look pretty low now, just like most all other cars. Don't see why hydraulic systems should be such a maintenance issue. My Dad was a Forest Ranger and I worked with him many years during "fire season" and the hydralic system that lifted and lowered the huge plow on the crawler type tractors were very trouble tree, extremely efficient, and actually amazing what hydraulics can do.

Vawlkus | 3 February, 2011

The major reason is the lack of an ICE in the Model S.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't the hydraulic system pressurized by the vacuum system in the ICE engine? If so, the Model S would need aditional equipment to mount such things, and as you add to the complexity, you add to the price, and you probably decrease the range & power.

Tradeoffs people, some just aren't worth it.

mvbf | 3 February, 2011

Thanks Vawikus for bringing your knowledge and viewpoint to the discussion. I personally have very little knowledge of technical hurdles involved in installing a hydraulic suspension in an all electric car. Are there any experts out there who support or have different perspective from Vawlkus on the challenges of installing a hydraulic suspension on a Model S?

Roblab | 5 February, 2011

As I understood the vimeo on the "naked Model S" at the NAIAS, Peter Rawlinson points to the large black bags at each wheel (no springs attached) and says, "this car's got air". Air suspension. Just like Maybach, Rolls-Royce, Lexus, Mercedes-Benz, Land Rover/Range Rover, Audi, Subaru, Volkswagen, etc. Not hydraulic, but I wonder if slightly adjustable, rising when slow, dropping when going fast....

Brian H | 7 February, 2011

Maybe y'all ought to wait till the SUV on the M-S chassis comes out a year or two later, if that's your concern. It will undoubtedly be designed specifically with clearance issues etc. in mind.

Why was it barley 6" clearance? Why not ryely, or wheatly, or cornly?
Sorry, I know it's barely funny.

mvbf | 7 February, 2011

That is an interesting question Roblab. I wonder if there is anyone here at Tesla or otherwise who might be reading this be able to answer your question with a little detail?

mvbf | 7 February, 2011

Brian S, I am aware that Tesla is both working with Toyota on an electric Rav4 and are also making their own SUV. What I am looking for is a safe environmental vehicle for carpooling in varied road conditions from normal to snow and ice to mud and ruts. What I have been driving for this is a 2006 Toyota Highlander Hybrid which can seat 6 to 7 passengers, has clearance, good safety records, and gets around 24 mpg where I live. The biggest problems I have with the vehicle are 24 mpg is not good enough and the handling. Handling is actually also a safety issue for me with the Toyota HH. The truth is I hate being high up. I like feeling like I am part of the road. The Model S comes so close. With a reliable Hydraulic or air suspension this would be my dream car. Based on the rear wheel drive thread, I am guessing I am not the only one who wants a vehicle that can drive in many conditions. Plus with an air suspension like the one in the Porche Panamera the vehicle would actually lower in high speeds for even better performance handling. I guess I want to have my cake and eat it too. Who doesn't?

Brian H | 7 February, 2011

Like I said, one of the uses of the 'S' chassis is going to be a pure Tesla SUV. Why not wait for that if you're so concerned?

mvbf | 9 February, 2011

3 reasons I would rather the model s with some clearance ability over the "S" chassis Tesla SUV:
1. it seats 7 and I am not sure the up and coming suv will,
2. the center of gravity will probably always be high making it harder to feel part of the road,
3. I am a little impatient and the model S feels more like a real thing. ie I am worried the the SUV will stay in the works indefinitely like so many other electric vehicles.
My logical brain says it is mostly the top two reasons, but my gut tells me the third is the most important. I would probably jump for it if the Tesla SUV were available today.

Vawlkus | 11 February, 2011

Try the Toyota RAV4EV then. It's a Tesla engineered upgrade to the RAV4EV, so Tesla will get their feet wet before tackling their own SUV.

Delivery date for the RAV4EV is the same as the Model S if I remember correctly.

Brian H | 13 February, 2011

I'm very disappointed Toyota didn't rename it the REV4. ;)

mvbf | 14 February, 2011

Yes, Toyota does say targeted for 2012, but I have not noticed the ability to reserve/deposit on the RAV4 EV like the M-S or the Leaf for that matter. It makes me wonder whether they are still testing the EV waters before committing. Tesla, on the other hand, has tested the waters and are committed to EV vehicles. Bottom line, I am more confident that an EV vehicle which is Completely under the control of Tesla company and that Is taking reservations will deliver the vehicle to the market in a timely fashion.