First Images Surface Of Tesla Model 3 Aero Wheel Covers Removed


Deep Blue Metallic Tesla Model 3

We now get a glimpse of the real wheel that hides behind those rather ugly aero covers.

When Tesla first revealed the Model 3, two wheel options were shown. One was a 19-inch sport wheel ($1,500 option) and the other was the standard 18-incher, fitted with an aero cover. That cover has been the subject of a lot of criticism. Here’s what it looks like when it’s in place:

Tesla Model 3 With Aero Wheel Cover

But lurking behind those range-increasing covers is a wheel that’s much more visually pleasing.

Via Logan Jastremski on Twitter, we get to see how the 18-inch standard wheels look, minus the aero cap:

It’s quite possibly the best looking wheel offered on the 3 and it saves you $1,500 over the upgraded sport wheels (shown below):

Tesla Model 3 Deep Blue Metallic

Now that you know what lurks beneath those aero caps, which wheel would you choose?

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63 Comments on "First Images Surface Of Tesla Model 3 Aero Wheel Covers Removed"

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Good lord, my eyes! Take those covers off future 3 owners (or just pay the $$$ for the premium wheels), so the public doesn’t have to be subjected to the fugly aero wheels!

“or just pay the $$$ for the premium wheels”

I have the 21″ turbines on my S…..and they look nice but they are a bit of a nuisance because it’s easy to get curb rash, and it’s easy to crack one and they ride rough.

I’m wondering if we will have the same issues with the 19″ ones on the M3.

(⌐■_■) Trollnonymous


Don’t make a mountain out of a molehill. If you don’t like the hubcaps pop them off.

Put them on when you need to go really far.

Leave them off when you want to look more conventionally attractive.

I like this feature.

I agree. Why spend the extra money for a wheel that’t prone to scratches rides much rougher, and gets less mileage? I’m in Wi. and I need the extra handling the 18’s will provide, yeah, put the caps on when you do a cruise.

I somewhat expect Tesla was caught off guard by the range produced by these wheels and so made the covers as a fix. They probably already agreed to take delivery of a lot of these wheels and this was the best way to correct the range hit. Surely the covers add cost to them, so they wouldn’t want to have them even if they weren’t ugly.

I would figure they’ll try to find more aesthetically pleasing aerodynamic wheels once this contract nears its end.

Or, they wanted to advertise 310 miles of range. They couldn’t do that without covers, no matter the wheels.

Steven — Go back and watch the original 2016 first reveal. One of the first two Model 3’s ever displayed had these wheels on it.

They were part of the design from the beginning.

The wheels have a specifically offset air valve just for the covers. They also have tabs and indents just for the covers. So no.

Any other trolling BS you want to fabricate?

Why can’t everybody just be happy that the wheel covers (that we always knew were wheel covers cuz of the nutz) have a really nice set of 10-spoke aluminum gunmetal grey rims underneath as a wonderful bonus?

Nah, that doesn’t fit into the trolls agendas.

I’m keeping my covers on. I want the extra range, however minimal. Plus I think they make the car stand out from the crowd, and I don’t mind if other people don’t like them.


I actually like the aero wheel cover. It seems lot easier to clean, not that I clean my wheels.

I am curious how effective the covers are. How much power do they save over speed? Are they better than “half covered wheel well”?

It would indeed be interesting to know how much range they add. I believe moon discs can make a pretty significant difference over un-aerodynamical wheels, but these aren’t quite moon discs either… would be VERY interesting to know how all three compare – moon discs, the covered wheel, and the uncovered wheel.

I also wonder how easy (or not) it is to take them off and put them on. Would be great if they are quick and easy to switch, so those who think they look bad can still get the full range (well, short of moon discs!) the few times they need it.

I think once we have those wheels in customer’s hand, someone can easily do a range test for sure.

At least a “power consumption” comparison over the same stretch of road for the same speed.

FYI, the original aero wheels for the Model S delivered around 5% better range. That was comparing aero 19″ with standard 19″. Going from 19″ to aero 18″ probably gives another couple percent.

That’s great news, it even has a center cap with the Tesla logo!

Elon wins my vote for throwing in the center cap so I can run nice looking wheels locally, yet when I road trip, I can dust off the wheel covers, snap them on and presto chango, increased range.


Excellent idea. Good for keeping gunk off, too, e.g. in the winter.

I think those rims are damn good looking for stock wheels, and they’ll probably be a tad quieter, too.

My thoughts on the aero wheels, exactly. Keep the cover off unless making a trip where range might be a factor.

Hopefully, it’s a simple operation.


So are the Aero wheel covers standard to game the EPA range rating?

If not, what is the point of it?

I think your absolutely correct.

Elon wouldn’t have put on those aero covers on by choice, that’s for sure. Necessary to reach that 220 EPA figure, I’m sure.

Unless you’ve talked to Elon, or Tesla has intimated it, none of that is “sure”.

So do you believe the “aero” wheels are NOT for range, but rather style?

I have another theory: Tesla intentionally offers the fugly aero wheels standard so people will pony up the $1,500 for the upgraded 19’s!

At least if you take the covers and and you lose 5 miles of range there will be some place you can actually charge the car quickly….

“I have another theory: Tesla intentionally offers the fugly aero wheels standard so people will pony up the $1,500 for the upgraded 19’s!”

I was waiting for some serial Tesla FUDster to make exactly that stupid assertion.

Sometimes anti-EV trolls are sooooooo predictable! 🙄

bro is anti-ev now huh? drive what you hate, that’s what I always say — and apparently what bro lives by?

“…none of that is ‘sure’.”

I find it an interesting psychological trait that we add the words “I’m sure” to a statement to indicate we actually are not sure. 🙂

But I strongly suspect bro1999 is right in this instance; Tesla wouldn’t have put those ugly wheel covers on unless they measurably increased the highway speed energy efficiency (and therefore range) of the TM3. I’m “sure” of it! 😉

Could be. But they are in fact the standard wheels. Modifying the wheels of any car will affect its range. So I think it may be game, but it’s fair game.

I think the 19″ sport wheels are still the best looking of the 3, but the exposed 18″ alloys are a billion times better looking than the fugly covers that go over them.

I hope they are all this gun metal gray and not the bright silver we saw on the RCs.

So they have plastic wheel covers for alloys? Or is this suggesting base models will get steelies?

If you actually look at the two wheels side by side, I don’t think that they are the same wheel. The aero wheel had a curved spoke while the other wheel does not.

I was thinking exactly the same thing. Just because somebody snapped pictures of some dark gray Tesla wheels and posted them on twitter saying they started as the aero wheels doesn’t make it so! People these days…

I wonder if those cover just come off like Hub Cap or are they fastened on.. cheers

Someone Beat me to the punch , so they do snap off… cheers !

I’ve never seen any statement of why the 19″ wheels are better. Do they run at higher speed, allow greater towing, better handling, or something? Because as far as looks go I wouldn’t even notice the difference it people weren’t talking about them so much.

This reminds me of “white sidewall tires”, which were quite the thing when I was young. It took me forever to find out that was just a ring of paint on the tire. Hardly even noticeable.

Traditionally in the luxury sports sedan world, larger diameter wheel packages have always been a trade off.

Larger diameter wheels with stiffer sidewall lower profile tires generally have less body roll. They also tend to come with wider tires with a sticky summer tread tire as part of the larger performance wheel package. All this together tends to increase how well the car can corner.

But for EV’s with a very low center of gravity with the battery in the floor, body roll isn’t generally a big problem in the first place.

The trade-off has typically been worse poor weather traction, and a heavier wheel/tire combo that reduces MPG (range) and slightly slower acceleration. Also they tend to be more vulnerable to wheel/tire damage.

But mostly they are jewelry for aesthetic purposes. Like fancy interior trims with a thin veneer of carbon fiber over plastic trim pieces. Etc. Nothing wrong with that. A significant amount of money is spent on aesthetics in homes and in cars and cell phones, etc.


The stiffness advantage of low-profile tires has nothing to do with body roll.

Sideways load on the tire is a function of mass, speed, and turn radius. And the stiffer the tyre walls, the less deformed the tyre – and the flatter the contact patch with the ground.

Bigger tyres (than, say, 15″) in road cars are however really only about two things: looks and cost – both of which they increase considerably.

Terawatt — you of course are correct. What is perceived as body roll at the driver’s seat is indeed sidewall flex, or in worst case scenario, sidewall folding.

That is indeed the $100 dollar detailed answer that technical folks will understand. but since the question was decidedly non-technical, I gave the $5 dollar answer using the most non-technical answer possible. Which is that larger wheels will improve cornering with the perception that most drivers would have of there being less body roll.

They will feel more like they are on rails going around corners. (Again, no actual rails are involved, it is just terminology people may understand better).

Yes, they are more about fashion than function for a significant number of people who choose them. Sort of like Jeep Rubicon Wranglers that are never used off road.

And weight. Often larger wheels increase weight. Unsprung weight.

Another negative.

You can definitely argue the base 18s (w/o aero hubcap) are better looking than the upgrade 19s from a spoke/dish style perspective. I’m not sure the “finish” on the 18s is quite as good though. I suspect we will see a lot of 18s sans caps though. Indeed, on the Model S the “new” base 19″ slipstream wheels are stylistically closer to the 21″ turbines and I think a lot of folks just go with those 19s as a result.

(⌐■_■) Trollnonymous

meh. Give the stockomatic wheels please.

I just wrote a post last night on another forum where I had found a photo of these exact wheels (without the covers) on a white demo car from months ago, and posted that Tesla should offer these wheels as a $500 dollar upcharge option.

Now it turns out they are free! And they’ve been hidden in plain sight the whole time!

This is really going to bother some folks who grasped desperately onto the meme that you couldn’t buy the Model 3 without $1500 in wheel/tire upgrades.

To be fair if Tesla would actually release pricing and options on a car that is allegedly already available people wouldn’t have to speculate. I don’t think it’s going to bother anyone but when you wear a tin hat and think the world is out to get you I can see how you’d think that.

I say it’s a good thing these covers just pop off. The standard wheels look a lot better. Now if only you didn’t have to get raked over the coals for any paint color other than black…

David, from your insults, it is clear you are EXACTLY one of the desperate folks who I predicted this news would bother.

Your insults simply prove my point. Go ahead, get it all out. Show your colors.

Nix, I do think it is a fair criticism that Tesla hasn’t provided some of the particulars regarding a car that is already in production.

I mean, wouldn’t you find it interesting what the base interior will look like? There must be a prototype somewhere.

No, it absolutely is not fair criticism. Because as Tesla has been VERY CLEAR about for over a year, Tesla has been anti-selling the Model 3, and will continue to anti-sell the Model 3 until they are able to ramp up production. No, they ARE NOT going to do anything but the bare minimum for communication on the product to anybody but people who can finalize their reservations today. Those people have full access to the Tesla configuration site. This is the same answer as to why Tesla hasn’t been showing off their fleet of pre-production cars that they have been building since Feb. This is the same reason why they haven’t been showing of their factory. Heck you can’t even buy a Model 3 tee shirt or hat in the Tesla dot com store. Why is it so hard for everybody to understand the concept that Tesla already has 10 times more reservations than they can possibly build for the rest of 2017, and that the only way Tesla can increase sales for 2017 is to anti-sell the Model 3, and try and sell more Model S/X cars? Is this concept really that hard to grasp?

Thanks,you just saved alot of people some money.

If the covers only save 1-2% pop those suckers off, if for some reason its in the 8-9% range…. looks like its fugly wheels on road trips!

Gotta wait until someone does some range tests to see whats what!

That might be the difference between 0.23 and 0.24. That will probably shave 10 miles off the range of 220 which would have made the promise of 215 miles an “broken promise”..

2.3% drop from 220 will result in 215 miles.

Let me get this straight. They deliver a car that will do 220 miles as delivered. And you call this a “broken promise”?

Will it do it as delivered? Yes. Promise kept.

Sheesh!! What a bunch of whiners.

What we found out today was that Tesla is delivering the Model 3 with a hidden bonus set of very nice 10-spoke wheels under wheel covers that we all knew were wheel covers. (lug nutz excepted). It is like finding an Easter egg in the software, and then crying about not liking the Easter egg.

Only nutters would whine about getting MORE than exactly what they have been shown since the very first day of the 2016 reveal where the early version of these aero wheels were shown on stage.

Promise broken because they deliver 5 MORE miles of range than they promised? Get a grip!!!!

Good grief, Nix, take a stress tab and chill out!

First of all, that’s not what he said; and secondly, he used not one but two qualifying words in his statement, making it clear he was just speculating.

“They deliver a car that will do 220 miles as delivered. And you call this a “broken promise”?”

Geez, someone is getting extra defensive today…

I said:”That will probably shave 10 miles off the range of 220 which would have made the promise of 215 miles an “broken promise”..”

“IF” the range is dropped to 210 miles without the wheel cover, then some people “Might have” viewed a car with 210 miles range (while it was claimed to have 215 miles) as “broken promise”…

Since it didn’t, it wasn’t broken promise.

It is just a speculation whether that wheel cover was the “difference” between above and “below or at 215 miles”..

Great, so we both agree there aren’t any promises broken. That’s settled.


Altho in general I prefer function over style, in this case I would be mightily tempted to pop off those fugly aero wheel covers. The actual wheels look so much nicer!

Obviously a potential there for aftermarket wheel covers that are, perhaps, almost as aerodynamic but not an eyesore. Surely those could be sold for substantially less than $1500?

Thank GOD! I was so annoyed that I might have to spend the extra money for 19″ wheels, which I really didn’t want to do. Not only is it an unnecessary $1500, but it also ups the price of replacement tires.

I was already dreading the extra $9K for the longer range version, but was going to bite the bullet anyways, not having to spend $1500 more makes it easier to swallow.

Why exactly does everyone believe those are the wheels under the aero covers? The center caps are definitely different between the two.

The wheel covers entirely cover the wheel, so there is no way to see what wheel is under the cover. EXCEPT if you look at the outer rim, it matches perfectly. There is no part of the wheel showing otherwise.

I guess we will soon find out as soon as some early adopters order the 18″ and show us.

OF course, Tesla can always “change” it underneath without saying anything since they are “not” obligated to deliver what “we think” it is underneath that cover rather than what we see with the covers on.

I’m taking the 18″ wheels. I’ll probably use the aero covers for travel and winter. I’m thrilled it’s not a plain steel rim with an ugly hub cap. On a separate note, that blue paint isn’t nearly as dark as I thought it was. I love it.

I like the Aero wheels, a lot. Why would you want to waste energy? Going farther on a charge – for free – is a good thing.