After seeing the recurring questions about the ride height of the Model S and given that there is no quantitative answer yet, I decided to set out to determine an estimation based on what we have seen so far.
The way I measured ride height was by measuring distances in photos from Tesla's gallery. I needed a point of reference -- something that I could determine the actual size of so that I could determine the scale of the object and estimate the size of other objects at the same depth in the image. For that, I decided to use the wheel's lug pattern. It's a five-bolt pattern of which there are several different sizes. Specs are listed here: http://www.tirerack.com/wheels/tech/techpage.jsp?techid=92. The question was which one is it? Some of those lug patterns are much more common than others. I can't say I guessed correctly for sure, but the value I chose was 5x100 (or 5x4.0 in inches). My reasoning was that:
- It made the wheels come out to nearly exactly 20" in diameter which several sites have sited as the wheel size.
- It is the smallest of the five lug bolt patterns, so if anything my estimations would be too small, not too large.
The pictures I used to measure from were http://www.teslamotors.com/models/gallery/6307 and http://www.teslamotors.com/models/gallery/5082. I first measured using the silver / grey car that is at an angle and only measured near / around the front passenger wheel to avoid messy perspective calculations that could be wrong depending on the setup of the camera that took the shot. Then I measured the picture of the maroon car (most likely the prototype many of us have seen in person). I measured each car independently, establishing scale for each on separately.
Problems with this method:
- I made several estimations / guesses, so numbers are likely off -- especially if I misjudged the bolt pattern.
- These are all alpha or prototype cars and ride height may change.
- Sub-pixel measurements were made and that will induce a margin of error. Where I included digits after the decimal point, they're not worth anything.
- The images from the links above -- download the original from the link above the image.
- Inkscape to load the images and take measurements at a sub-pixel level (I just drew a line while recording how many pixels long the line was)
- A calculator to determine scale and to scale up measurements from their pixel values to inches
Feel free to remeasure and contradict my results -- I don't claim to be an expert. Also, before you respond saying that this method is wildly inaccurate, you're right -- it is. It's only meant to give us a better idea of the clearance than we had before.
11.25 pixels = 1 inch
5.56 pixels = 1 inch
220 pixels / 19.6 inches
111 pixels / 20 inches
In front of front wheel
Couldn't see well enough
30 pixels / 5.4 inches
Behind front wheel
53 pixels / 4.7 inches
25.4 pixels / 4.5 inches
Base of door near hinge
80 pixels / 7 inches
39 pixels / 7 inches
End of door near midpoint between wheels
45 pixels / 8 inches