The aero wheel covers are a hot topic with the Model 3. Do they really make the car 10% more efficient?
If you look at details of the claim it was that the aero wheels are up to 10% more efficient. This includes the tire and the wheel itself, along with the wheel caps. It is reasonable to assume that much of the efficiency improvement is from the lighter and less performance oriented tire on the aero wheels in addition to the aero cover.
The question is: how much do aero covers improve efficiency? Well, I set out to answer that question, using my special test route that closely mirrors the EPA test. You can read more about it in my previous post: Model 3 LR AWD Range Test
Since I didn’t really feel like driving 6 hours again I figured I would rely on my car’s built in efficiency calculator. I drove my same test loop in the same manner as before and looked at the efficiency recorded by the car.
The result was 236 Wh/mile. If you look at my results from the previous post with aero covers, it was 230 Wh/mile. This is a noticeable, but small difference. I only drove two loops this time to average out wind vs the almost 300 miles I drove with the previous test. However, this gives me the feeling that in this mostly controlled test the aero caps are about 2.5% lower consumption at an average speed of about 48 mph. Again, high speeds were about 70 mph and quite a bit of 60 mph.
Next I would have to try them at 70 mph, as I expect the benefit will be higher at higher speeds. Yes, they make a difference. No, you aren’t breaking the bank taking them off. If you are one of those that likes to drive down to 0%, use your aero caps please and improve your odds of reaching your destination by car instead of by foot.