Low friction ceramic wheel bearings?

PNWmisty

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#1
I've seen super low resistance ceramic wheel bearings for other applications. Anyone know where one might get these for a Model 3?
 

goto10

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#2
I've never heard of ceramic bearings being used for automotive wheel bearings. Is suspect they would be prohibitively expensive, susceptible to damage, and offer negligible improvements to range. Otherwise we'd already see them being used by deep-pocketed Model S/X owners.
 

PNWmisty

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#3
I've never heard of ceramic bearings being used for automotive wheel bearings. Is suspect they would be prohibitively expensive, susceptible to damage, and offer negligible improvements to range. Otherwise we'd already see them being used by deep-pocketed Model S/X owners.
http://www.microbluebearings.com/
The company above has a number of low friction bearing types (including ceramic) for automotive wheel applications. Pricey, yes. How well do they work? I have no idea!
 

EV-Expert

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#6
I'm not sure what you mean by "Is this an issue?"
If I was talking about low rolling resistance tires (on a vehicle that didn't come with them) would you ask me if tires were an issue?
Ah, I misunderstood. This is about friction.
 

m3neko

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#7
When it comes to ceramic wheel bearings, stay far away for heavy, street-driven car! They are designed for motorsports / competitive use, as they require considerably more maintenance (regular greasing), and overall they're not as durable for heavy vehicles, particularly ones with high torque.
 
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#8
When it comes to ceramic wheel bearings, stay far away for heavy, street-driven car! They are designed for motorsports / competitive use, as they require considerably more maintenance (regular greasing), and overall they're not as durable for heavy vehicles, particularly ones with high torque.
Where are you getting your information from?
 
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#9
I've seen super low resistance ceramic wheel bearings for other applications. Anyone know where one might get these for a Model 3?
Yes, I am currently working on creating a ceramic bearing for Tesla Owners. I am currently trying to determine how many owners would be interested. We have made one for a Model S and luckily the Tesla Lineup only has 4 different types of hubs, two for the Model S and X and 2 for the Model 3. So, to answer your question, yes, there are options out there with Performance Bearing and it will reduce ball weight by 70% and also be 1/10 the rolling resistance. We build bearings for customers all over the world and currently build them for numerous pro racing teams. They are less maintenance and last about five times longer than a standard bearing.
 
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#10
I've never heard of ceramic bearings being used for automotive wheel bearings. Is suspect they would be prohibitively expensive, susceptible to damage, and offer negligible improvements to range. Otherwise we'd already see them being used by deep-pocketed Model S/X owners.
They are definitely used in automotive wheel hubs. They are pricey but I am not sure where you get your information on them being susceptible to damage. Ceramic bearings are considerably stronger than steel bearings and offer 1/10 the rolling resistance, adding range.
 

PNWmisty

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#11
So, to answer your question, yes, there are options out there with Performance Bearing and it will reduce ball weight by 70% and also be 1/10 the rolling resistance. We build bearings for customers all over the world and currently build them for numerous pro racing teams. They are less maintenance and last about five times longer than a standard bearing.
I'm all for a higher performance bearing but I think it's misleading to say "1/10th the rolling resistance" without specifying that it won't reduce your total rolling resistance by 90%. I assume your claim is the bearing will have 10% of the drag of a normal sealed wheel bearing. Most of a cars rolling resistance comes from the tires, not the bearings. I find even the 10% claim (just for the bearings) somewhat questionable (but I'm willing to be enlightened).

My understanding is the bearing seal is responsible for much of the drag of a traditional wheel bearing. Are these ceramic bearings sealed? What type of grease is used? Are you familiar with the bearings used by Tesla? Do they specify bearings with special low-friction seals or bearing grease or do they use the same type of bearings that come in, for example, a Honda Accord?
 

modelo tres

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#12
Great questions. I'd like to know as well. Where is this 1/10th the rolling resistance coming from? Since every OE bearing is different.
 
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#13
The reduction in resistance is in the bearing not how much pressure your tires have or if you have a head wind. I am familiar with the bearings, we are a performance bearing company that makes bearings for the top performers in the racing industry all over the world.

Ceramic bearings are much harder than steel. A steel ball will actually deform under load just slightly, this is one reason why they have more friction. Plus they are heavier and this also slows them down quite a bit.

[mod edit: self-promotion removed]
 
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PNWmisty

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#14
The reduction in resistance is in the bearing not how much pressure your tires have or if you have a head wind.
A headwind has nothing to do with rolling resistance!

Ceramic bearings are much harder than steel. A steel ball will actually deform under load just slightly, this is one reason why they have more friction.
This is true. And the exact amount of deformation will depend upon the weight of the loaded vehicle and the number and size of bearings supporting that load.

Plus they are heavier and this also slows them down quite a bit.
Wheel bearings are too small and too close to the axis of rotation to have enough moment of inertia or weight to significantly affect the performance of a car. I'm calling foul on this claim (which would only have validity if the bearings were spun alone, without wheels).

I went to your site but all I see are a bunch of claims without any test results or performance data to back them up. Consumers are more educated than ever. What is needed is documentation of the actual benefits in the actual application.
 
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#15
It's hard to have numbers on how a bearing interacts with a specific application without having said application to measure. There is no company out there making these for your car. However, we can and want to know if there is a desire from the owners. Once they are being used and I am able to get feedback, then I can say customer x had y amount of improvement. They are not for everyone, and that's fine. Those that are enthusiast, race, or just want the best... well, that's why I am here.
 

PNWmisty

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#16
It's hard to have numbers on how a bearing interacts with a specific application without having said application to measure. There is no company out there making these for your car. However, we can and want to know if there is a desire from the owners. Once they are being used and I am able to get feedback, then I can say customer x had y amount of improvement. They are not for everyone, and that's fine. Those that are enthusiast, race, or just want the best... well, that's why I am here.
Well, the claim that the higher weight of typical metal wheel bearings "slows them down quite a bit" is not going to be true no matter which model car you are talking about. I suspect that most Tesla buyers are educated enough to not fall for misleading claims like that.

It would be helpful if you had performance data, longevity, etc. in applications of cars of similar weight. Not hype, just facts and real-world data.
 

MJJ

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#17
This really does not seem like the low hanging fruit. Now, if you were to make ceramic *tires* I could see the advantage.

Cornering might be affected though 😏
 

modelo tres

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#18
So let's say one of us were to get these bearings. How would we scientifically and accurately measure the difference?
 

MountainPass

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#19
So let's say one of us were to get these bearings. How would we scientifically and accurately measure the difference?
To remove the factors of wind, elevation, surfaces, temperature and traffic I would suggest driving on an indoor rolling road dyno for a set period of time and measuring your energy usage back to back with the OEM vs new bearings.