With Tesla rapidly becoming the household name in the US and most of Europe, it is now time to investigate the limitations of the models presented by Tesla Inc.
Electric vehicles are no doubt the best alternative to gasoline-fueled vehicles. Electric vehicles are portrayed as the heroes for saving the earth by not aiding carbon emissions and destroying the atmospheric layer of the planet. They might be the commuting goals for this century, but they are hardly affordable for all public.
Not everyone can buy an electric vehicle. Similarly, the cars produced by Tesla are also highly out of range for an average salary person in the US. Since the prices of these luxury cars are only a hefty one-time investment that can be made, the customers must know which model can be fit for a little off-road experience on the weekends. Good ground clearance is always known to give a better off-road experience in rugged landscapes without the fear of wear and tear.
However, not everyone can understand ground clearance and its importance. In this post, we will be providing all information to potential Tesla buyers who are not only in-city commuters but also love to go on trips along the rugged trails and countryside of the US. So, let’s dive into the Tesla model ground clearance without much further ado. This information is vital to those who want to compare the latest Tesla car models.
What Is Ground Clearance?
Before we hit the main part of the topic, it is crucial to address the basics of ground clearance to understand the concept better. It is mainly related to physics and how a good ground clearance can improve the car’s balance on off-road terrains.
Another name for ground clearance is the ride height of a car; this is the measure of the dimensions of a vehicle. The minimum distance between the surface of the road and the lower end of the car is the ride height of a vehicle. So, how is it measured? Well, manufacturers can measure this and report it in two ways, one is in which there is no weight added to the car; it is just the body mass of the vehicle, and the other method is to measure the distance when the car is filled with the mass that is optimum for a vehicle.
This is a general way of reporting control, and in the experiment, it is evident that the additional weight is the weight of the bodies in the car. It must be measured to know how much of the car body would sag under the weight of the driver and the passengers.
Specific heights are allowed while making a car design and then making it. Where terrains are more rugged, cars with a higher ground clearance must ensure that the car’s chassis or underbelly is not scratched due to bumping and uneven off-road area. There is a low ground clearance for vehicles like a sedan and other sports cars; however, SUVs always have a high ground clearance and can be used for off-road experiences.
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Importance of Ground Clearance
Why does it matter if the ride height is higher or lower? It may not be an issue for people who are always driving on carpeted roads or have no intention of going on off-road trips.
However, electric vehicle drivers who are avid fans of off-road traveling or going to the countryside in sandy or desert areas need a vehicle that has a good ground clearance to ensure that the car is higher above the ground and the sharp bumps or rocks in the way cannot bottom out the car.
So, which Tesla models are apt for off-road and which are not? Let’s find out below.
Ground Clearance of Tesla Model S
The first mass-produced model by Tesla for the public was the Model S sedan in 2012. The Model S followed the Roadster by Tesla, a sports luxury electric car. This was a costly car; compared to this, Model S was “affordable.” The year Model S was launched marked the first electric car made for the public by Tesla, which was in the price bracket of elite people. However, it did impact the automotive world that, within a decade, shifted to a different fueling method and integrated technology for cars.
In 2022, there are two trims in which Model S is found, one is base S, and the other is Plaid trim. There is a vast difference in the horsepower each model provides, with the latter proving to be the one with unlimited strength and acceleration time 0-60 in just 1.99s. However, the ground clearance in these models is the same at 4.6 inches above the ground. This height is relatively low.
Although Model S was first introduced in 2012, its dimensions and ground clearance over the years have changed multiple times, going up and down each year when it was upgraded. Let us review the history and trend of the heights between 2012 till 2022.
In 2012 and 2013, the ground clearance was 6 inches. However, it lowered to 5.7 to 6.1 inches in the following years, from 2014 to 2016. It further lowered in 2017, with the lower end reaching 4.6 and the high end at 6 inches. The higher end was changed to 5 inches in 2018 but reverted in the 2019 model. The range of ground clearance is 4.6 to 6.3 inches since the 2020 model and has not changed in 2022. Let’s see what changes occur in the upcoming years.
Is Model S Sedan A Good Option for Off-roading?
The Model S Sedan is definitely not made for heavy off-roading, a little bit of snow it might be able to handle; however, if you are living in areas where you might experience more off-roading, it is better not to buy this model by Tesla.
Ground Clearance of Tesla Model X SUV
The next model that Tesla introduced was Model X SUV; this was introduced in 2015 after the Model S. This is an electric version of an SUV and contains the latest AI technologies in the system to ensure that it works efficiently in any situation.
SUVs are generally more spacious and large to fit in families and cargoes or manage to fit in a shopping spree of someone. They have more horsepower and can be used to tow as well. Since the objective of the vehicle is clear, it can be inferred that the SUV introduced by Tesla would also be capable of managing huge weights, so it must have higher ground clearance.
So, yes, the ground clearance of the Model X SUV is higher than Model S; this year, it lies between 5.4 inches to 8.1 inches. The driver can change the height settings in both the Model X categories, the basic and the plaid trims. The 5.4 inches is the very low mode, 6.6 inches is the standard or medium mode, and the 8.1 inches height is the very high mode.
Although drivers are free to choose the car’s ride height, the suspension system lowers it automatically when the car accelerates at high speed to provide a better center of gravity and balance. However, it may be the case with high and medium modes after an acceleration of 100 feet, but the car does not go into low height without the manual change performed by the driver in height settings.
Since the car is relatively new, not much variation is seen in the ride height trend for the Model X SUV. The lower end of the height remained static at 5.4 inches, while the medium height, initially at 7 inches from the models between 2015 to 2020, dropped to 6.6 inches in the 2022 model. Similarly, the highest ground clearance option was also changed only once in 2022, which landed at 8.1 inches after remaining at 9 inches from the start till 2020.
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Is Model X SUV A Good Option for Off-roading?
Well, Model X SUV has a higher ground clearance than the Model S, and it has more capacity to endure the off-roads, so it might be a good option for off-roading and can be bought if you have a big family, or your nature of work has you doing a few heavy cargoes every day. However, you cannot drive this car at high speed on bumpy terrains because it would automatically lower the ride height, and the chances of bottoming out would be higher.
Ground Clearance of Tesla Model 3 Sedan
The Tesla Model 3 is again a sedan, so we cannot expect it to have a higher ground clearance than an SUV. However, it is not the same as the Model S Sedan too.
The ground clearance has remained the same since the release in 2017, staying at 5.5 inches. However, it could be allowed a little off-roading if some changes in suspension kits and tires are made because the other specifications like powerful electric torque, all-wheels-drive dual motor setup, and long driving range on electric give the Model 3 power to show good response on off-road trails.
However, there are three categories of the Model 3, and the cheapest one, the Standard Plus, is a rear-wheel-drive motor setup so keep it out of the options if you are shopping for a vehicle that can do well in rugged landscapes. Model 3 is advertised as the cheapest Tesla model; however, if people think that buying that and making some alterations in the shock system can make it apt for off-road, then it will be a waste of money because, in the end, it is a sedan that has a lower ground clearance and will not be resistible against underbelly wear and tear.
Is Model 3 Sedan A Good Option for Off-roading?
If you want a model that is not too high and can go a little off-road after some physical alterations, then yes, it could be a good model to apply the changes to. However, these changes will be costly and will not give the same satisfaction as an SUV with higher clearance would do.
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Ground Clearance of Tesla Model Y Crossover
A family-friendly SUV model by Tesla was released in 2019, known as Model Y Crossover. This model has two trims available: the Performance and the Long Range. Although they are very different in all other categories, one thing they have the same is the ground clearance which is 6.6 inches, a lot below the off-road ground clearance of 8.5 inches.
Since it was released only three years ago, there has been no variation in the ground clearance over the years for both trims. Furthermore, since there is no air suspension in the car, there is no high-end ground clearance, unlike the other models mentioned above.
Is Model Y Crossover A Good Option for Off-roading?
Model Y Crossover is a great vehicle with an all-wheel-drive dual motor, high performance, and off-road assist, but it can not only be used for solely off-roading purposes.
Concluding It All
Tesla has been in the automotive industry for twenty years and stays at the top of the game with its innovation and the power to make a dream into reality. However, out of all the models, only the Model S SUV can be considered good for off-roading. So, if you want to buy an electric vehicle that can be good on rugged trails of the US, then the Model S should be the go-to option.
The price of the Model X SUV in 2022 starts from $116,440, which is the model’s base price without any additional charges of customization or other add-ons. The price is nowhere near in an affordable bracket, but it could be an investment if you are expanding your family or an electric SUV is your need of the hour.
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My name is Matthew, staying in Seattle, Washington. Electric Vehicles (Electric Cars & Electric bikes) caught my attention for the last few years and my love for electric cars and bikes is everlasting. I spend many of my weekends traveling to various places all over various cities with my electric vehicle (e-bike and electric car). Here I am sharing my expertise, experience, and invaluable information about electric cars and electric bikes. Check out more.