Tesla Model 3 ground clearance issues slow launch in India

Tesla’s Model 3 sedan has a ground clearance that is too low for Indian roads, according to a new report. The vehicle’s low body design may slow its launch in India, where the sedan has been testing for nearly two months.

A report from AutoCar India indicates that the Tesla Model 3 has a ground clearance of 115 millimeters, just 25 mm too low for Indian roads. According to the report, Tesla will have to increase the ride height to at least 140 mm for the Model 3 to be approved for operation on India’s roads, meaning the Model Y may launch before the sedan does.

Credit: Tesla

Tests of the Model 3 have been going on for almost two months now in India, but the latest trials assessed the vehicle’s maneuverability over speed bumps. During testing sessions with the IDIADA, a Spanish-based engineering company with an office in India, the Model 3 bottomed out on 160 of the 200 speak breakers it attempted to drive over. Engineers have recommended the suspension design be revisited and the ground clearance increased to 165 mm.

Tesla vehicles have a lower body style naturally due to their design, which houses the battery pack underneath the car’s body. This naturally assists the vehicle in being lower than normal. It is not uncommon for most electric vehicles to have a slightly lower orientation than other vehicles due to this. However, Tesla will likely have to experiment with other suspension options and body modifications to prohibit the undercarriage from scraping against speed bumps or uneven terrain.

Tesla’s attempt to enter the Indian market has been going on for several years. However, 2021 has seen the most progress as the company gained business licenses early in the year. Additionally, CEO Elon Musk has hinted that the company’s entrance into the market is imminent. Still, Tesla has been attempting to reduce the hefty import duties that apply to cars that are manufactured outside of the country.

The most recent developments from India have indicated that Tesla is sourcing automotive components from Indian suppliers and the company is receiving some support for reduced import duties from politicians.

What do you think? Let us know in the comments below, or be sure to email me at joey@teslarati.com or on Twitter @KlenderJoey.

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