Musk Says Model 3 Will Get Optional Smart Air Suspension In 6 Months

3 months ago by Eric Loveday 48

Smart Air Suspension Coming In About 6 Months

You can have a Tesla Model 3 anyway you want it as long as you’re willing to wait.

Or something like that.

Initial Model 3 orders are limited in terms of choices. You basically pick a battery size, color, wheel choice and a couple of other optional items (see configurator here) and that’s it for now, but in half a year or so, that will all change.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has just confirmed, via Twitter, that the Model 3 will get an optional Smart Air suspension in about 6 months when dual-motor Model 3 variants become available.

Tesla Model 3 Configurator Screen Grab

Smart Air suspension has the ability to raise and lower on its own using road detail logs, GPS, driver input and so on. For those with “weird” driveways, the Smart Air setup can remember to raise the vehicle just prior to encountering said drive. Additionally, the suspension can tuck down at highway speeds to increase efficiency.

The Smart Air suspension has proven to be popular with Model S and X owners. So much so that Tesla recently made it a standard item. Previously, it was a $3,000 option, which might give us some indication of what the feature will cost when it becomes available on the Model 3.

We’ve include a couple of Smart Air suspension videos below (via Teslarati):

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48 responses to "Musk Says Model 3 Will Get Optional Smart Air Suspension In 6 Months"

  1. cab says:

    Well, THAT interesting! One of my big concerns about the Model 3 involves ride quality. The Model S and X ride a bit firm as it is, and it is not uncommon to see the owners of those cars with coil suspensions in particular complain it is too firm.

    Indeed, before I purchased a CPO model S I tested both coil and air and knew air was a “must have” option for me. I height raising is just a nice to have… It’s the way it rounds off bumps that is its real benefit.

    In the Motor Trend short test drive review, the reviewer IMMEDIATELY notes the firmer suspension and appears to ask if this is the sports suspension. The response, of course, is that this is THE suspension tune.

    I’m stoked about the availability of it, but bummed at the timing and pairing with dual motors… Dang car will be $70k loaded before “performance” options… Ugh!

    1. FISHEV says:

      The $70K was always the estimated price of the loaded Model 3. Also the fact that Tesal is shipping semi-loaded models first is something that was predicted. Likewise, the availability of the “$35,000 Tesla” was always going to be problematic.

      With the $70K AWD, smart suspension (maybe even the towing that Musk promised) being available at the same time as the “$35,000 Tesla”, orders for the $70K will push the “price leader” delivery even further in the future.

      Still will likely be 2019 for my April 1 reserved Model 3 which I want with AWD, air suspension, 300 mile range, cold weather options.

  2. Bacardi says:

    Air suspensions in general have been notoriously unreliable…Do we have any data of the reliability of Tesla’s air suspension and the out of warranty replacement parts cost? That could be a good insideevs story idea…

    1. Mark.ca says:

      Good point. Benz would know about this especially because their SL500 model. I’m skeptical about this option too.

    2. stimpy says:

      Long term reliability and repair cost is my main concern with this too. Everything comes with trade-offs.

    3. JustWillimPDX says:

      So true. The air suspension on the Audi Allroad models are legendarily unreliable and expensive to repair. Driving an EV has spoiled me with reliability and I would be loath to give it up.

      It will be fascinating to see the eventual “take rate” for loaded Model 3s. Model S and X buyers tend to load them up heavily, but 3 buyers may not be as inclined to do so.

  3. (⌐■_■) Trollnonymous says:

    Another option for people to complain about where if they opted for it it will cause the price of the car to increase.
    😛

    bu bu but if I add all the options I want the car will too much…….whaaaaaaa, whaaaaaa…

    1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      Indeed. Yet another “first world concern”. “Oh, I have to have air suspension! I couldn’t possibly put up with spring coils; you can actually feel it when you run over a pothole!” Reminds me of the title character in “The Princess and the Pea”.

      I realize this is just me, but I’ve always preferred the firmer, rougher ride of a pickup to the mushier, smoother ride of a typical passenger car. If the suspension is taking a pounding, the driver should be warned and should slow down or find an alternate route.

  4. pjwood1 says:

    At >$3,000 per corner, the Continental air struts are a future revenue source, for Tesla.

    The first video is all about the gain of air. It’s marginally smoother on small bumps and rough pavement. But on transients, or in a slalom, its more disconnected. Air suspensions have been around since the 50’s. Sport suspensions have evolved, too, and nobody is reaching airbags who wants an extremely precise car.

    Tesla isn’t reinventing the car. Most are used for comfort, and not pushed, which helps air’s popularity. That does not make it any better than coil, nor does Tesla’s refusal to initially offer coil (P85, P85+, P85D). If you cancel options, they become less popular..

    1. Bacardi says:

      There are two other benefits, despite them at one time disabling it, it can lower itself at highway speeds for slightly more range…Then you can raise it for driveways and such which is even GPS enabled…Like anything, it’s cool when it works but sucks when it breaks and its out of warranty…

  5. philip d says:

    Under Coming Soon they show the $35,000 base with Premium Upgrades as being optional. Could this be implying that if one chooses the $9,000 long range battery option that premium upgrades are always required?

    I can’t imagine that is the case but the fact that under Coming Soon it makes the point to include that wording makes me worry since I am definitely wanting the long range pack but am already pushing the budget just for that.

    If I ever wanted to eventually spend another $5,000 on the car I would much rather spend it on autopilot rather than a glass roof and power seats.

    1. MTN Ranger says:

      I guess it depends on your situation. I feel the EAP is a waste of money for $5k for fancy cruise control. On the other hand, the premium package has a ton of nice items: power seats, custom driver profiles, full synthetic vs fabric seats, rear seat heating, premium sound system, glass roof, premium surfaces including wood, rear USB, LED fog lamps, center console and docking for smartphones, auto dimming and power folding mirrors.

      1. ffbj says:

        Yeah, you get quite a bit of cool stuff for that 5k.

      2. pjwood1 says:

        “full synthetic vs fabric seats” Oooooo!

        Honestly, the other thing about a recent loaner experience was the stay-puff white vegan seats. They really did feel nice. Maybe it was just the one I spoke to, but the OA’s have taken to down-selling the discontinued tan leather, as “sweaty”. Definitely not the “hotness”, anymore.

      3. Rob Stark says:

        EAP is fancy cruise control in the same way an Iphone is a fancy calculator.

        1. Terawatt says:

          I couldn’t disagree more! For me, today, the ONLY real advantage it can offer in everyday driving is adaptive cruise control, and only if that works also at very low speeds (in rush traffic).

          There’s one important component in it, and that’s the safety stuff. But Tesla promised everyone gets that, even the base version. And since all the cars have the hardware, it’s sunk cost once the car is it the door. You should expect Tesla to gradually drop the price of software enabling the features as time goes by.

          They did the same thing with the software limited battery packs in the 60 with 75 pack. Enabling the additional capacity dropped to eventually 25% of the original price. Of course, enabling the software is free to Tesla, so it’s just a matter of segmenting. Get right thousand from the people willing to pay that, then six from the next batch of people, then four and so on. Even at one dollar Tesla is better off than they are selling you the hardware and never get anything more for freeing your use of it. The software after all has to be developed whether or not they allow everyone to use it.

          This is how it’s become. Modern business and old fashioned scam are not far apart.

  6. ModernMarvelFan says:

    What Tesla needs is the magnetic ride from GM that can have the sports rides as well as comfort at the “same time”.

    Of course, that system isn’t cheap and I am not sure if GM is willing to sell that.

    1. ModernMarvelFan says:

      Nevermind, I guess GM doesn’t own it anymore (GM sold Delphi which sold that technology to others).

      So, Tesla can effectively install a version of that magnetic ride in its Model S and high end Model 3.

      1. Bacardi says:

        Ferrari, Ford and Audi use it in addition to GM so even the majority of automakers decided to pass on it so it’s more of a “gimmick” than you want to believe…If you look at the GM forums not even everyone like it and several avoid Magnaride like the plague…

        You’ll hate this from Motortrend…

        “What’s blanching, though, is the car’s ride and handling. If anybody was expecting a typical boring electric sedan here, nope. The ride is Alfa Giulia (maybe even Quadrifoglio)–firm, and quickly, I’m carving Stunt Road like a Sochi Olympics giant slalomer, micrometering my swipes at the apexes. I glance at Franz—this OK? “Go for it,” he nods. The Model 3 is so unexpected scalpel-like, I’m sputtering for adjectives. The steering ratio is quick, the effort is light (for me), but there’s enough light tremble against your fingers to hear the cornering negotiations between Stunt Road and these 235/40R19 tires (Continental ProContact RX m+s’s). And to mention body roll is to have already said too much about it. Sure, that battery is low, way down under the floor. But unlike the aluminum Model S, the Tesla Model 3 is composed of steel, too, and this car’s glass ceiling can’t be helping the center of gravity’s height. Nearly-nil body roll? Magic, I’m telling you. Magic. And this is the single-motor, rear-wheel-drive starting point. The already boggled mind boggles further at the mention of Dual Motor and Ludicrous.”

        “Have I ever driven a more startling small sedan? I haven’t. At speed, it gains a laser-alertness I haven’t encountered before. By happenstance, associate road test editor Erick Ayapana had penciled me into a 2.0-liter Alfa Romeo Giulia to get here, and it feels like a wet sponge by comparison.”

        This is just coil springs…

        http://www.motortrend.com/cars/tesla/model-3/2018/exclusive-tesla-model-3-first-drive-review/

        1. ModernMarvelFan says:

          “The ride is Alfa Giulia (maybe even Quadrifoglio”

          So, it isn’t Quadrifoglio yet.

          GM currently makes one of the best chassis tuning sports sedan class in the world. ATS-V, CTS-V and entire alpha chassis are the best of the world in terms of handling and ride. (certainly more than the class where Model 3 is at).

          That is all done with Magnetic Ride.

          Yes, Motortrend, the magazine that with Reviewer that invented a word called “dynamagic” just for GM’s sports sedans with magnetic rides…

          If you want to compare (which I seriously doubt that you have followed any other ICE sports sedan’s review from Motortrend), you can look up some of reviews for those cars.

          1. pjwood1 says:

            I didn’t miss Bacardi’s MT quote, when MT wrote it. A double wishbone, 4-corner, independent coil suspension, on Bilsteins, (apart from the low cg), goes a long way to why the Model S handles so well. Not a lot of re-invention here. If I had the chance to catch up to the Model 3, that passed me two weeks ago, strut markings would have been one of the first things I checked. We know the car is down ~1,000lb on MS, which is to say it’s also down 500-1000 from that Italian Q-thing MT referred to.

            I go back and forth on whether Tesla needs to re-do its suspensions, for multi-modes. When roll center is high, and you have a big engine off the front, you almost have to firm up the spring and damp rates. Otherwise, dive, roll and float at all four corners feels precarious, at speed. Like MT said “to mention body roll is to have said too much”, about Tesla. So, you don’t have to loose your dental work with by modding ones suspension. People were up in arms when “PD” and regular AWD settled on the same suspensions (Q2 2015). My argument was, and still is, that Tesla didn’t have to do it any differently.

            1. ModernMarvelFan says:

              The reason that P85D couldn’t keep up with the CTS-V in American Top Gear on the race track was the clear reason. It beat the CTS-V to the first corner on the race track but lost the race by more than 3 seconds per lap..

              I am sure Model 3 is “way better” in handling than Model S due to much lower weight which would help a lot. But saying that there is no room for improvement is a bit early claim.

              Also, wasn’t the MT “early review” of the Model 3 a “special edition” of something that Tesla Executive personally brought over?

              So, let us wait for production version comparison before we make the claim that there is no need for magnetic ride. The best thing about magnetic ride is to absorb small bumps which gives it a better (less stiff) ride while still handles great on the race track corners…

              The adjustment or variance of “damping” is independent of body roll which MT keeps mentioning about.

              1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

                “…wasn’t the MT “early review” of the Model 3 a ‘special edition’ of something that Tesla Executive personally brought over?”

                Yup. A special edition owned by Franz von Holzhausen, chief designer for Tesla.

              2. Rob Stark says:

                There was no special edition made for Franz.

                It was simply a Model 3 loaded with currently available options that any Model 3 reservation holder can buy for $59,500 including the pearl red paint.

                1. ModernMarvelFan says:

                  No special…

                  Sure, just happens to be his “personal company car”…

              3. pjwood1 says:

                P85D, as with all single-gear Teslas, loses torque the faster you go. It follows one curve. The Caddy shifts.

                I don’t know the comparo you are talking about, but things like 245 tires under a 4,800lb car begin to matter on a race track. What was the CTS-V on? Has Top Gear been proven to lie about Tesla, in the past (bricking)?

                In any event, it isn’t that Tesla’s suspension is perfect. It can stay compliant without giving up much roll. Some really liked the P85+, which I’ve driven a friend’s, too, but that’s air. One of the nice things about it is a fatter (26mm, hollow) front sway bar. However, all those early cars (pre-15, I think) had rubber bushed upper control arm links (not the steering knuckle). Balljointing those arms, I’d argue, is another reason the front end feels more crisp in the later cars (all of them). Did they do that with Model 3? All this should be coming out of the wood work soon. Evolution has been kind, but what did they do on a budget?

          2. Bacardi says:

            Well then, let’s put this “magic” on the Bolt EV and perhaps it’ll sell!

            1. ModernMarvelFan says:

              It will certainly shut some of those critics up… Especially those that complain about the Bolt suspension.

              Now, realistically, it won’t since Bolt is a low $40K car at most. Most GM models under that price range don’t get it either.

              But Model 3 is aimed at premium market which is “fitting” for that.

        2. Priusmaniac says:

          Not to confuse with full magnetic suspension like the one from Bose.


          https://www.cnet.com/news/bose-new-beat-ceo-maresca-profile/

          By the way if one car would be to have a magnetic suspension first, then it would rather be an ev and amongst them a Tesla first would be natural.

  7. speculawyer says:

    Kinda interested but for $3K? I’ll probably pass.

    Nice to see them adding profitable options. Though I wonder if they are reducing the market segmentation between the Model 3 and Model S once they have air suspension, dual motors, performance option, etc.

    1. BenG says:

      I fully expect that a highly optioned Model 3 Performance will overlap in price with the bottom end of the Model S.

  8. Mister G says:

    Let’s help decrease future weather catastrophes and go electric asap.

    1. Dan says:

      It all depends on how the electricity is made!

      1. Mister G says:

        That goes without saying but I’ll say it….electricity produced from renewables only.

  9. Elmo says:

    French carmaker Citroen developed and used it since decades.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydropneumatic_suspension

  10. unlucky says:

    I don’t get why he even mentioned it. Those I know who have it don’t any anything about it except they believe maybe it increases their economy on the highway due to it lowering the car at speed.

    No one says it makes for an amazing ride. Mostly it just adds costs. That’s why Tesla made it a standard item. Same reason if you tried to order a Model S early on without it Tesla told you you’d have to wait longer unless you ordered it. Tesla wants more revenue, like any other company. And raising the price while bundling options does that.

    And that’s all fine and dandy, I just really don’t get why you talk about it if you don’t have it yet. Are you trying to get people to wait to order?

  11. Jason says:

    Come on Elon, just get the $35k model available already! Plenty of people will dream about all the options they can get, and plenty of those people will not reality and just want the $35k model so they can be in a Tesla.
    That was the claim right at the start, at least 210mi for $35k. That’s all I want, but what I can’t get.

  12. Priusmaniac says:

    Does “Linked to dual motor config.” mean that, if you want to have dual motor, you will have to take air suspension as well or is it that the two options will be separate but be available at the same time?

    1. ffbj says:

      The later, I would say. Separate but available at the same time. Check out the comparison of the two ride modalities below.

  13. ffbj says:

    Video comparing coil vs air suspension in the Z axis. Data dump at 7:00

  14. Four Electrics says:

    So twelve to eighteen months, then.

  15. Russell D. Ollie Sr says:

    Blah Blah Blah, get to work on the Model Y Elon. The market demands CUVs/SUVs not small sedans. The market of Tesla fans who are willing to wait forever for an overpriced small sedan is going to dry up before Tesla hits pay dirt at this rate (Chevy, VW, and Nissan are going to take away those who really thought they would get a Model 3 for $35k and Porsche/Audi/BMW are going to take away the audience for the aging Model S.)

    1. Priusmaniac says:

      A Model Y would have less range than the Model 3 just like the Model X has less range than the Model S. That is due to a difference in aerodynamics, the Model S is better than the Model X. So hoping for more range with the Model Y versus the Model 3 is not realistic. Model 3 is simply better since it is more efficient and has more also more range. The going SUV trend is just wrong just like driving hydrogen cars instead of electric cars. It is just less efficient and a waste of resources. What’s next, back to the Hummer?

      1. Mister G says:

        Well in the South monster trucks that spew diesel pollution is very popular

  16. BillT says:

    I really hope they don’t make the $mart air $u$pen$ion standard on the model 3 (or require it to get the long range battery) at some point like they did on the model S. Very expensive to repair and very likely to need it out of warranty.

    1. Terawatt says:

      Surely you mean the Model $?

  17. Terawatt says:

    I’m not sure why the magnetically controlled style dampers aren’t common yet. It seems far superior technology and I can’t really see why it would cost much.

    The kind of thing I’m thinking of is one where the door oil is infused with tiny metal particles that change orientation in the presence of a magnetic field, leading to the oil viscosity changing instantaneously. Coupled with software, Tesla’s string suite, this can lead to both superior comfort and superior performance, and the suspension no longer need to be tuned for a particular road roughness as it can adapt thousands of times per second.

    Ferrari got this many years ago and I would have thought sometime would apply it to volume cars and make it cheaply available. My guess is the software but is the most expensive. It should be easy enough to make the dampers cheap.

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