Long Term Cost Of The 18" vs 19" Wheel Options

Dan Detweiler

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#1
OK, I fully admit that this post is based on here say and assumptions on my part. I am looking for confirmation/correction on my assumptions and conclusions (so don't kill me!) ;)

I am trying to get an idea of what the very long term expectations might be on the cost of the 18s vs 19s on the Model 3. All aesthetics aside on this conversation (yes, I agree the 19" wheels look better). Here are some of my assumptions, correct me if I am wrong. 1) 18" tires will last somewhat longer than 19". 2) 19" tires will be more expensive to replace (I am assuming about $50 per corner more for the same brand tire). 3) I will have this car for at least 200,000 miles (Not really an assumption as I keep my cars long term). 4) 18" wheel covers add up to 10% to the efficiency of the vehicle (This is the one I am most unsure about).

So, assuming 200,000 miles over the life of the car, I am guessing 3 tire changes on the 18s and 4 on the 19s. That amounts to a $200 savings per tire change and the added $600 for the additional 19 inch tire change. At a 10% efficiency increase I get about 50,000 Kw on the 19s and 45,000 Kw on the 18s. 5,000 Kw difference at my cheap Georgia electricity rates ($.10/Kw) is about $500 in electricity savings.

That means that the 19s will cost me the initial $1,500 plus $1,200 for tires and $500 for the additional power for a total of $3200 over the life of the car. Seems like a lot to justify for the sake of looks, but that's just me. Now, am I close on my assumptions? Does this sound reasonable? Just trying to weigh the long term options.

Thanks for your insights and opinions on this one. I'll look forward to your responses.

Dan
 

zkmusa

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#2
There’s only a few decisions to make when customizing the car, but the choice of wheels has given me the biggest angst. I’m not one to pick wheels because they look nicer, but I’m not a huge fan of the dark color of the aero wheels.

That being said, there are several benefits of the 18” wheels like you outlined. I also am one who keeps my car forever, so picking the more economical wheel seems like a better choice.

What will really sway me will be if there is a true efficiency benefit to the aero wheels. Of the two M3OC owners here, one has a car with the aero wheels and the other has a car with THR sport wheels. The car is reporting 310+ miles for both of those cars. If it’s true that Tesla is underestimating the true EPA tested range of the car (334 miles), then I’d imagine the 18” wheels were the ones tested by the EPA.

From a looks standpoint, I have a feeling the aero covers will have a healthy accessory market with many possible choices, just like the case market for phones. Or maybe I just want to believe that!
 

garsh

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#3
1) 18" tires will last somewhat longer than 19".
2) 19" tires will be more expensive to replace (I am assuming about $50 per corner more for the same brand tire).
4) 18" wheel covers add up to 10% to the efficiency of the vehicle (This is the one I am most unsure about).
1) Probably not much of a difference
2) Definitely true. Go price some tires at the two sizes.
4) Since Tesla is offering Aero covers, it must help a good bit. But those covers only help at highway speeds.
Another difference: the 18" wheels & tires will most likely weigh less than the 19's. This will help efficiency at all speeds.

I think #2 is going to be by far the most important factor from a purely economic point of view.
Let's say you really like the OEM tires. Here are those prices:
Looking at other all-season tires at Tire Rack in those sizes, I see the following price ranges:
  • 235/45R18: $82.05 - $283.40 (61 models to choose from)
  • 235/40R19: $171.46 - $286.46 (11 models to choose from)
 

danzgator

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#4
1) Probably not much of a difference
2) Definitely true. Go price some tires at the two sizes.
4) Since Tesla is offering Aero covers, it must help a good bit. But those covers only help at highway speeds.
Another difference: the 18" wheels & tires will most likely weigh less than the 19's. This will help efficiency at all speeds.

I think #2 is going to be by far the most important factor from a purely economic point of view.
Let's say you really like the OEM tires. Here are those prices:
Looking at other all-season tires at Tire Rack in those sizes, I see the following price ranges:
  • 235/45R18: $82.05 - $283.40 (61 models to choose from)
  • 235/40R19: $171.46 - $286.46 (11 models to choose from)
Agreed on #3. That will only matter at fast steady highway speeds. If most of your driving is around town or stop and go traffic on the highway, the savings there will be negligible.
 

garsh

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#5
Here are some simple assumptions and quick math comparing a 10% efficiency gain vs tire costs.

Assume 237 Wh per mile efficiency for the Model 3.
10% of that will be 24 Wh per mile.
And let's say you pay 12 cents per kWh for electricity.
For 200,000 miles, that's a difference of 12 * .024 * 200,000 = $576 saved.

Now, how many sets of tires will you go through in 200,000 miles? OEM + 3 more sets? If you always buy the OEM model of tires, that comes out to about $1050.

That actually came out closer than I thought it would. :)

EDIT: somehow I got 10% of 237 == 34 instead of 24. I fixed the math.
 
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Akilae

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#6
Here are some simple assumptions and quick math comparing a 10% efficiency gain vs tire costs.

Assume 237 Wh per mile efficiency for the Model 3.
10% of that will be 34 Wh per mile.
And let's say you pay 12 cents per kWh for electricity.
For 200,000 miles, that's a difference of 12 * .034 * 200,000 = $816 saved.

Now, how many sets of tires will you go through in 200,000 miles? OEM + 3 more sets? If you always buy the OEM model of tires, that comes out to about $1050.

That actually came out closer than I thought it would. :)
So... Sport wheels it is :D
 

danzgator

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#7
Here are some simple assumptions and quick math comparing a 10% efficiency gain vs tire costs.

Assume 237 Wh per mile efficiency for the Model 3.
10% of that will be 34 Wh per mile.
And let's say you pay 12 cents per kWh for electricity.
For 200,000 miles, that's a difference of 12 * .034 * 200,000 = $816 saved.

Now, how many sets of tires will you go through in 200,000 miles? OEM + 3 more sets? If you always buy the OEM model of tires, that comes out to about $1050.

That actually came out closer than I thought it would. :)
You all don't seem to take into account that you will be fighting to be first in line and floor it at every light in total silence, and be two blocks ahead of everyone else with a grin on your face looking at them disappear in your rear-view mirror. Efficiency is based on grandma driving. Enjoy your car and don't make it into a perpetual math equation! :D
 

Dan Detweiler

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#8
You all don't seem to take into account that you will be fighting to be first in line and floor it at every light in total silence, and be two blocks ahead of everyone else with a grin on your face looking at them disappear in your rear-view mirror. Efficiency is based on grandma driving. Enjoy your car and don't make it into a perpetual math equation! :D
Yeah well...then there's this.

...and you're not wrong!!! ;)

Dan
 

MelindaV

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#9
Here are some simple assumptions and quick math comparing a 10% efficiency gain vs tire costs.

Assume 237 Wh per mile efficiency for the Model 3.
10% of that will be 34 Wh per mile.
And let's say you pay 12 cents per kWh for electricity.
For 200,000 miles, that's a difference of 12 * .034 * 200,000 = $816 saved.
But how many of those 200k miles are in the speed range that make the optimum aerodynamic difference? Not 100% for sure.
 

garsh

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#11
But how many of those 200k miles are in the speed range that make the optimum aerodynamic difference? Not 100% for sure.
Again, the 18s are probably lighter than the 19s, giving an efficiency advantage at all speeds.

The 17s I currently have on my Leaf make the car about 10% less efficient than the 16s it originally came with.
 

garsh

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#13
But the 50% improvement in looks is a good trade off.
Agreed.

But when I get my 3, the wife will be getting the Leaf. At that point, I'm putting the 16s with LRR tires back on the car. Otherwise, she'll be worried about having enough range to run errands around town.
 

Justmurr

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#14
The 17s I currently have on my Leaf make the car about 10% less efficient than the 16s it originally came with.
You do have one of the most pimped out Leafs that I've ever seen. All blacked out.

I've recently moved my selection from Aeros to Sport. Another victim of reading this forum.
Somewhere about a week or so ago someone gave the opinion that the aeros without the cover look like the temporary spare - now that's all I see when I look at them.
I'm going all in (except for EAP) and now have aspirations to modify my sport rims (wrap or dip) somewhere down the line.
 

MelindaV

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#15
Agreed.

But when I get my 3, the wife will be getting the Leaf. At that point, I'm putting the 16s with LRR tires back on the car. Otherwise, she'll be worried about having enough range to run errands around town.
this week's "The Tesla Show" really drove home the range issues with the leaf. If you've not listened, their perspective is interesting.
 

BobLoblaw

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#18
Just food for thought but in the same tire, those sizes aren't that different in price. More in the realm of $50-75 for 4, not $50 per corner, at least with the quick look I had online.

I think you can eliminate tires as a meaningful argument against the 19s. I've said it before, buy either wheel option, the differences in performance, range, treadwear, comfort and price (for replacements) will be negligible - given the comparison is the same tire in either size.

I suppose there is an argument for the extra range of the aeros, but like others I suspect 10% is generous and very specific to certain situations (highway, etc. etc. etc.)
 

garsh

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#19
I'm considering putting snow tires on the OEM wheels and getting another set of wheels for summer.
Looking at snow tires in each size at Tire Rack:
  • 235/45R18: $143.09 - $235.20
  • 235/40R19: $219.26 - $288.46
 

BobLoblaw

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#20
OK, had a more detailed look at available options in the 18s vs the 19s. I will definitely agree that there is more to choose from, and some of those options are less money and may even be a better choice for the car. Apples to apples I'm not sure if the price difference is significant, but I get your point.

I'm honestly thinking my 1st choice would be exactly what you're doing as well. Aeros for winters, and then a set of aftermarket "turbines" like the TST...or even better a factory Tesla wheel if it's available when I order.