One of the biggest configuration choices on any Tesla order is what tires to go with. Between looks, range, and overall driving comfort, there are some big implications depending on the size. For my EV configuration, I flip-flopped on what Model Y tires to select. Turns out, I’m not the only one.
With that in mind, here is a recap from one future Tesla owner on his thought process for which Model Y tires to choose. I am also including a great video below with real-world tests between the Performance Model Y with 21″ tires and the AWD Model Y with the Gemini 19″. The results are very surprising.
Note: I have since updated this post with my takeaways after my second Tesla Model Y delivery. Be sure to see that section below before making your final decision! It can save you a ton of money!
Gemini or Induction?
While perusing a Tesla Facebook group the other day, future Model Y owner Craig Temple shared his thorough thought process on choosing the upgraded 20″ Induction tires over the stock 19″ Induction ones. It was something he agonized over and was bang on with what I went through. With that, I reached out to see if I could share his write up here.
One word of warning, neither I or Craig have driven a Model Y with either tire configuration at this point. The following stats and discussions are compiled from searching online. Craig did a lot of digging and I figured plenty of folks would be in my same boat. Hopefully his rationale will help others make their own decision.
Craig starts off noting that people in the Facebook groups and forums seem to agree that selecting the larger 20″ Induction tires ($2,600 CAD upgrade) means a 10-15mi hit in range. For his purposes this issue is more about the *slightly* longer charging and not the loss of distance.
Here’s why it’s a non-factor for him:
- For battery life, Tesla recommends driving between 20-80% charge. That means the 10-15mi difference is closer to 6-9mi lost during your 80%->20% drive.
- In general, range is not an issue except for road trips.
- For road trips, Super Charger stations are almost 100% never going to be much further apart than 180mi. The 15mi will, in practice, never be the deciding factor on whether or not he skips a SC. Even with the 19″ wheels, he’ll want to stop at both. It’s ALWAYS more efficient to stop at both chargers and get super-fast charging, rather than skip one and have to charge to 100%. (Only exception is if you can skip the first one closest to your starting point, where you start out at 100% before a road trip.)
- With this in mind, he will be stopping at the EXACT same superchargers, and the only real effect is that he’ll have 6-9mi more to charge before moving on. That’s 1-3 minuntes depending on the Super Charger.
- On top os that, the range issue might be solved by a small suspension upgrade which is discussed below.
Having a smooth ride is a big factor when purchasing a new ride. There are many reports that the 20″ tires on the Model 3 are really rough and a curb magnet. That said, the Model 3 20″ tires are really equivalent to the Model Y 21″ ones as they have the same sidewall.
On top of that, the *slightly* bigger diameter tires on the Model Y mean you’ll get a moderately smoother ride for the same sidewall. Bumps are just smaller to a larger tire. There’s less shock and acceleration as the height change is distributed over slightly longer distance. People with baby-strollers understand the difference a bigger wheel makes for ride smoothness.
So, in theory, the 20″ Model Y tires should be slightly more comfortable than the 19″ Model Y tires. In fact, Edmunds actually found the Model 3 19″ to be MORE comfortable than the Model 3 18″ tires, but I digress.
Lastly, there are loads of reports that the best thing you can do for your Model Y comfort is to add a better suspension. For $2500 USD you can put in a suspension kit from Unplugged, and have it WAY more comfortable ride than the stock with 19″ wheels. The adjustable height may also make up for the slight range loss.
The 20″ stock Model Y tires are just WAY better than the 19″ stock tires. Especially for wet conditions in the Pacific Northwest. Here’s a break down on why:
19″ Model Y Tires
The stock 19″ Model Y tires are the Continental ProContact RX. On the TireRack site they only get a user recommendation of just 3.8 out of 10.
These tires receive a failing grade thanks to the poor tread and winter and wet driving performance. One Model 3 owner claims that after 9,000 miles he replaced two of these tires and that they do not do well with potholes. Several owners report that the tread life is less than optimal.
20″ Model Y Tires
The stock 20″ Model Y tires are the Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric All-Season. On the TireRack site, they get a user recommendation of 7.8 out of 10.
In short, they offer better handling, same comfort, better tread, and provide better wet/snow performance.
The tires are the only part of your car that touch the road. Good tires make a huge difference on everyday driving and safety. This was a no brainer for Craig and was the tipping point where he upgraded to the 20″ Model Y tires. For me, it was the sexy appearance that won me over.
Who are we kidding? The only reason Craig did all this research is because the 20″ Inductions are just so dang sexy. As noted in my Model Y Order, the black Induction wheels look so much better with the chrome delete theme of the Model Y.
Craig shared that he was going to paint the Aero covers on the 19″ Model Y tires and powder-coat the rims both in satin black to match the Inductions. He even went as far as Photoshopping some pictures to see what they would look like.
Now personally, I really like the look of the matt black Aero wheels. That said, with the tire ratings on the stock Model Y 19″, it’s not worth the added hassle for me.
After his research, Craig was pleasantly surprised that there just doesn’t look to be that much of a range or comfort hit. With that in mind, he switched to the 20″ Induction wheels. If he wants a bit more comfort, he’ll get the suspension kit.
For me, the upgrade came down to a couple factors. Looks, range, and cost. I ended up justifying the cost by removing Full Self Driving, something I may later regret. Still, the loss in range is concerning for me, especially with my big road trip coming up. Thanks to Brian at i1Tesla, this range loss is less of a concern. In his real world test, the 21″ Model Y tires actually out preformed the 19″ ones!
Gemini or Induction? How about Neither?
An alternate option (and one I am pursuing with my 2022 Model Y order) is going with the Gemini wheels then swapping them out with custom wheels immediately. Instead of spending the money on the upgrade from Tesla, you can get Replika R241 Satin Black wheels (which look very close to the Inductions) for almost half the price. Those in cold climates can then use the Gemini set for your winter tires. Those in warmer regions can sell the Gemini wheels and recoup some of the custom wheel set.
2022 UPDATE! Go With Gemini + Wheel Covers!
I have since taken delivery of my 2022 Tesla Model Y and shifted my thinking a little! I am absolutely blown away by the ride quality difference between the 2020 Model Y with Induction wheels and the smaller Gemini wheels on my 2022 Model. So much so that I have decided to roll with them! I am still not a fan of the silver wheel covers but there is an affordable fix for that!
I ended up getting a set of Rimetrix wheel covers and love how they look. That said, I am likely going to swap these out for these ones instead. The Rimtrex ones are more expensive at $290 USD + tax for a set vs $85! Also, the Rimtrex ones have their own logo centre cap vs. a Tesla one.
That all said, this is a fantastic option for those looking for the best ride quality along with a much-improved look! They are super easy to install as well – full post on that coming up.
Protect Those Rims!
Just a quick update to add that if you go with the black Induction tires and rims, be warned, it’s super easy to scuff them. As pointed out in my post on Tesla Model Y issues and the accessories that fix them, the rims stick out farther than the tires. This makes curb rash inevitable. To prevent and protect this, I highly recommend installing rim protectors. Not only will they take the brunt of any curb hits, but they also come with a 5-year warranty and can be replaced if damaged ie. doing their job!
What Model Y Tires Are You Going With?
There you have it. One future Model Y owners back and fourth on selecting the Induction wheels over the Gemini. Big thanks to Craig for sharing his thoughts!
What did you go with? If you are still undecided, are you thinking about upgrading? Let us know in the comments bellow!
If you are thinking about placing a Model Y order, be sure to use my referral code and get 1,500 Super Charger kilometres!*
*As of September, 2021 Tesla has put the referral program on hold.