5. October 2019 by Guest Contributor
Originally Posted on EVANNEX.
By Charles Morris
More variety! More reach! It is the mantra that has replaced "More power!" From the ICE era. How much range is enough? All we know at this time is that car buyers want more. Tesla, always customized to the consumer's wishes, increased its efforts again in April, increasing the reach of the Model S to what Road & Track colorfully calls "a bladder-busting 370 miles." The interesting thing is that the company achieved this 35 mile increase without increasing the size of the battery.
Tesla's Model S charge at a GreenWay charging station in Wroclaw, Poland. Photo by Zach Shahan | CleanTechnica | Tesla Shuttle
As Tesla explains, engineers were able to increase their reach by making incremental improvements to several parts of the powertrain: “All models S and X vehicles benefit from Tesla's latest generation of drive technology, which combines an optimized permanent magnet synchronous reluctance motor, silicon carbide electronics and improved lubrication, cooling, storage and gear design to achieve more than 93% efficiency. Pairing a permanent magnet motor in the front with an induction motor in the rear provides unmatched range and performance all the time. The net effect is more than 10% improvement in range, with efficiency improvements in both directions as energy flows out of the battery during acceleration and back into the battery through regenerative braking. ”
More reach is bound to appeal to Tesla's world-leading electric vehicles even greater. However, the real story here is not about reach, but efficiency. At the moment, EV designers are focused on maximizing reach, but if the market at some point decides there is something like "enough reach," designers can leverage greater efficiency in the powertrain to reduce battery packs and give vehicles more space, better performance and / or lower prices. Efficiency also provides a direct benefit to consumers – it translates into lower electric bills.
Tesla Model X Powerwall in a garage, via Tesla.
Tesla's EVs are some of the most efficient on the market – To give one example, the full-size Model S Performance sedan is significantly more efficient than the tiny smart EQ fortwo. When it comes to the astonished “Tesla killers” – Audi's e-tron and Jaguars I-PACE, the larger Tesla Model X simply blows them away for efficiency. As Road & Track explained in a recent article, the Model X is so much more efficient that it offers 91 more miles of range than the Audi and 121 more than the Jag, though the Tesla's battery pack is just a bit larger.
As R&T sees it, the reason is that the heirloom car makers' latest and greatest EVs cannot match Tesla's aging models, not only in their drivelines, but in their corporate cultures. Tesla's culture is a continuous improvement – in the eight years that Model S has been on the market, efficiency has increased by 25 percent, from 89 MPGe (miles per gallon equivalent) to 111 MPGe. Tesla has improved vehicle engines, air suspension, tires and even wheel bearings.
Tesla Model S Supercharging, by Zach Shahan | CleanTechnica.
Another policy that Tesla appreciates is open communication between departments, as opposed to "silos" that so many traditional corporate employees complain about. As R&T explains, Tesla's newer wheel bearings are more expensive than the old ones, but they may have added as much as 15 miles of range at far less cost than adding battery capacity. The newer Teslas also use the Brembo monobloc brake caliper. "Because they can be made to retract the pads from the rotary rotors faster and more reliably than the sliding calipers, monoblocks reduce friction – enough to provide up to 20 miles of increased range," writes Road & Track & # 39; s Jason Cammisa. "The extra stopping power, credibility and better pedal feel are just extra bonuses." Is Brembos expensive? Very – but at a per kilometer range, they are still cheaper than batteries, and Tesla figured that out because the braking team communicates with the battery engineers and they work together to continuously improve the company's vehicles.
Related: Our Interview with Tesla President Jerome Guillen, Del Deux
Featured Image: Tesla Model 3 Supplies in Tampa, Florida. Photo by Zach Shahan | CleanTechnica.