Tesla has just switched stock 18″ tires for the Model 3 from Michelin Primacy MXM4 to the new Hankook Kinergy GT H436 ones. The tire width, aspect ratio, and rim diameter are the same as before i.e. 235/45/R18 (refer to the visual guide below).
The only thing that has changed in the new tire specifications is the Load Index or Carrying Capacity which has been altered from 98 XL to 94 LI. The load index of 98 refers to 1,653 lbs of carrying capacity and 94 equals 1,477 lbs of capacity (chart below).
This change in Tesla Model 3 stock tires has been first noticed and reported by none other than the tire guru and my friend Ian Pavelko who lives in Montreal Canada. And the specific Model 3 he saw and took pictures of was delivered from the Tesla store in Montreal, Canada — produced at the Fremont factory.
According to Ian, a load index (LI) of 94 is standard for the size and weight capacity of a car like the Tesla Model 3 and 98 XL was not absolutely necessary. Not all tires in 235/45R18 are available with the higher XL load index, but Pavelko has said for years that the 94 Standard Load Index versions still had more than enough capacity to do the job for any version of Model 3, and interestingly Tesla has now officially installed tires with the 94 LI
Some questions popped up about these new tires that I asked and other Tesla Community members asked in the discussion thread on Twitter that you can read below. This discussion reveals some interesting information about the weight rating of the front and rear axles of a Tesla Model 3 as well.
Q: So what does this mean? The Tesla is lighter or the Tesla has a lower payload capacity?
A: The lower max load capacity of this tire at 42 PSI – 1477 lbs – still exceeds the highest Gross Axle Weight Rating of any Model 3 built, which is 2839 lbs. So each tire need only carry 1419.5 lbs.
Q: 1419.5 x 4 is the total capacity?
A: No, that’s only for the rear axle on the few 3’s in 2018/19 that had that higher rating (most are 2771 lbs, so only 1385.5 required per rear wheel/tire).
The front axle rating on all Model 3s to date is 2447 lbs, so each front wheel/tire needs to have 1223.5 lbs rating or higher.
Q: So, all 4 of these tires are the same on the new Model 3, right?
A: CorrectIan Pavelko via Twitter.
The new Tesla Model 3 Hankook Kinergy GT tire is an all-season tire, the price of which I found was $156.63 on Amazon vs. $197.99 Edward found on a website he mentioned in the tweet above.
However, tires shipped with cars from the Tesla factory are equipped with noise-canceling foam which is not available from a third-party tire dealer.
It is not confirmed that this change has also been implemented at Giga Shanghai as well which is the only other factory after Fremont where Tesla is producing Model 3 cars. The Hankook Kinergy GT tires are Made in Korea, therefore ideally it is easier and cost-effective to import Korean-made tires to China rather than Michelin Primacy MXM4s that are made in North America.
Tesla has most probably resolved a part of its supply chain issues by switching to Hankook tires for the Tesla Model 3 from Michelin. We might perhaps see the same change for Model Y Standard and Long Range AWD variants in the near future.
Let us know your thoughts about this change by Tesla in the comments section below.
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