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Does The Tesla Model S Have Air Suspension?

Does The Tesla Model S Have Air Suspension?

Air suspension is an advanced automotive suspension system that replaces traditional steel springs with adjustable air springs or air bags. Instead of relying on metal coils to absorb road impacts and support the vehicle’s weight, air suspension utilizes compressed air to provide a smooth, adjustable ride.


The air springs are connected to an air compressor and a system of valves and sensors that monitor the vehicle’s ride height and load. When the suspension needs to be firmer or softer, the system automatically adjusts the air pressure in the air bags, altering the ride height and stiffness accordingly.


One of the primary advantages of air suspension is its ability to adapt to different driving conditions and load scenarios. The ride height can be raised or lowered at the touch of a button, allowing for improved ground clearance when driving over obstacles or lowering the vehicle for better aerodynamics and handling at higher speeds.


Additionally, air suspension systems often include a self-leveling feature that maintains a consistent ride height regardless of the vehicle’s load. This ensures optimal comfort and handling characteristics, even when carrying heavy cargo or additional passengers.


Overall, air suspension provides a more comfortable, adjustable, and adaptable ride compared to traditional coil spring suspensions, making it a desirable feature on luxury and high-performance vehicles.

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Does the Tesla Model S Have Air Suspension?

The Tesla Model S comes standard with a traditional coil spring suspension setup. However, an optional air suspension system, known as “Smart Air Suspension,” is available on several trim levels and model years of the Model S.

This air suspension replaces the standard coil springs with adjustable air bags that can raise or lower the vehicle’s ride height. The Smart Air Suspension is an advanced, adaptive system that automatically adjusts the ride height based on driving conditions and the driver’s preferences.

Specifically, the Smart Air Suspension has been offered as an optional upgrade on the following Model S configurations:

 

  • Model S 60, 60D, 70, 70D, 75, 75D, 90D (2012-2020 model years)
  • Model S P85, P85D, P90D, P100D (2015-2020 model years)
  • Model S Long Range, Long Range Plus, Plaid (2021-present model years)

 

While the air suspension is not standard equipment on all Model S trims, it has been a popular option for many buyers seeking an enhanced driving experience and additional versatility from their electric sedan.

 

Air Suspension on Tesla Model S: Key Features

The air suspension system on the Tesla Model S is a marvel of automotive engineering, offering a range of advanced features that enhance the driving experience and performance. At the heart of this system is the ability to adjust the ride height, allowing drivers to tailor the vehicle’s stance to their preferences or road conditions.

One of the key advantages of the air suspension is its self-leveling capability. This feature automatically compensates for changes in load distribution, ensuring that the Model S maintains a consistent and level ride height regardless of the number of passengers or the amount of cargo on board. This not only contributes to a smoother ride but also optimizes handling and stability, making the Model S feel planted and composed even when navigating tight turns or emergency maneuvers.

Another standout feature is the adjustable ride height. With the touch of a button or through the intuitive touchscreen interface, drivers can raise or lower the Model S to suit their needs. Increasing the ride height can provide additional ground clearance when navigating rough terrain, steep driveways, or deep snow, while lowering the vehicle at higher speeds can improve aerodynamics and range by reducing drag.

The air suspension system also plays a crucial role in enhancing the Model S’s performance capabilities. By actively managing the vehicle’s ride height and suspension damping, the system can optimize the car’s handling characteristics for a more dynamic and engaging driving experience. Whether you’re carving through winding roads or accelerating onto the highway, the air suspension helps the Model S remain composed, responsive, and planted, delivering an exhilarating yet refined driving experience.

 

Model Years and Trims with Air Suspension

The availability of air suspension on the Tesla Model S has evolved over the years. Initially, it was an optional upgrade, but more recent model years have made it a standard feature on certain trim levels.

For the 2016-2020 model years, air suspension was an optional extra that could be added to any Model S trim for an additional cost. This allowed buyers to choose whether they wanted the adjustable ride height and self-leveling capabilities.

Starting in 2021, Tesla made air suspension standard equipment on the Long Range and Plaid trims of the Model S. The base Model S still uses a conventional coil spring suspension unless the air suspension option is selected.

For the 2023 model year, all versions of the Model S come equipped with the Adaptive Air Suspension system. This includes the base rear-wheel drive model as well as the Dual Motor All-Wheel Drive and Plaid trims.

It’s worth noting that used Model S vehicles from earlier years may or may not have the air suspension installed, depending on the original owner’s preferences and options selected. Prospective buyers of pre-owned Model S cars should verify the suspension type before purchasing.

 

Benefits of Air Suspension for Canadian Drivers

Canadian roads can be harsh, with potholes, frost heaves, and uneven surfaces taking a toll on vehicle suspensions. The Tesla Model S’s optional air suspension system provides several key advantages for drivers navigating these challenging conditions.

One of the primary benefits is improved ride quality and comfort. The air suspension uses adjustable air springs that can adapt to bumps and road imperfections, absorbing impacts more effectively than traditional coil springs. This results in a smoother, more controlled ride, reducing fatigue on longer journeys.

Another advantage is the ability to adjust the ride height based on driving conditions. With the tap of a button, Model S owners can raise the vehicle’s clearance, allowing for easier navigation over deep snow, steep driveways, or rough terrain. This added ground clearance can be invaluable during Canadian winters or when venturing onto unpaved roads.

Additionally, the air suspension system features self-leveling capabilities. As passengers or cargo are added, increasing the vehicle’s load, the air springs automatically adjust to maintain a consistent ride height. This not only enhances driving dynamics but also prevents the vehicle from sagging or squatting under heavy loads, improving safety and handling.

For Canadian drivers seeking a luxurious and adaptable driving experience, the Tesla Model S’s air suspension offers a compelling blend of comfort, versatility, and capability to tackle the diverse road conditions across the country.

 

Controlling the Model S Air Suspension

One of the key advantages of the Tesla Model S air suspension is the ability to adjust the ride height according to your needs or driving conditions. This feature is conveniently controlled through the touchscreen display in the center console.

To raise or lower the vehicle, simply navigate to the air suspension controls on the touchscreen and select the desired ride height setting. You can choose from several preset levels, ranging from the lowest setting for improved aerodynamics and range at highway speeds, to the highest setting for maximum ground clearance when traversing rough terrain or deep snow.

In addition to the touchscreen controls, the Model S air suspension system also allows you to manually raise the vehicle for jacking or service purposes. This is typically done by activating a specific setting or sequence through the touchscreen interface, which instructs the air suspension to increase the ride height to its maximum level, providing ample clearance for lifting equipment or service ramps.

As the air suspension system adjusts the ride height, you may hear the distinct sound of the compressor operating. This is a normal occurrence and simply indicates that the system is actively inflating or deflating the air springs to achieve the desired ride height. The compressor noise is typically brief and should not be a cause for concern.

 

Cost of the Air Suspension Option

For Canadian buyers considering the Tesla Model S, the air suspension is an optional upgrade that comes at an additional cost. While the base suspension setup on the Model S is a traditional coil spring system, the air suspension provides enhanced ride quality and adjustability.

As of 2023, Tesla lists the air suspension as a $2,000 CAD option for the Model S Long Range and Plaid trims when configuring the vehicle online. This price is on top of the starting MSRP of $109,990 CAD for the Long Range and $149,990 CAD for the high-performance Plaid variant.

It’s important to note that the air suspension option is typically bundled with other upgrades like the premium interior and larger wheel options, potentially increasing the total cost further. Canadian buyers should carefully review the configuration and pricing details on Tesla’s website to understand the full impact on the vehicle’s final price tag.

While a $2,000 CAD upcharge may seem steep, many luxury vehicle owners view the air suspension as a worthwhile investment for the enhanced comfort, adjustability, and driving dynamics it provides. Additionally, the self-leveling feature can help maintain an optimal ride height when carrying heavier cargo or towing a trailer.

For those looking to maximize their driving experience and extract the most value from their Tesla Model S purchase, the air suspension option is certainly worth considering – provided the added cost fits within their overall budget for the vehicle.

 

Air Suspension Maintenance and Longevity

While the air suspension system on the Tesla Model S provides an exceptional ride quality and adjustability, it does require some maintenance and care, especially for Canadian drivers who face harsh road conditions and extreme temperatures. Rough roads, potholes, and debris can take a toll on the air suspension components over time, potentially leading to leaks or premature wear.

One of the primary concerns for Model S owners in Canada is the impact of cold temperatures on the air suspension system. In freezing conditions, moisture can accumulate and freeze within the air lines or suspension components, potentially causing blockages or damage. It’s essential to keep the suspension area clear of snow and ice buildup to prevent any issues.

As with any vehicle component, the air suspension system’s longevity is also affected by age and mileage. Over time, the air compressor, air lines, and other parts may wear down, requiring replacement or repair. Tesla recommends having the air suspension system inspected and serviced as part of regular maintenance to catch any potential issues early.

Repair costs for the air suspension system can be substantial, especially if major components like the compressor or air struts need to be replaced. While Tesla provides warranty coverage for a certain period, repairs outside of the warranty can be expensive, potentially running into thousands of dollars depending on the extent of the work required.

To maximize the longevity of the air suspension system, it’s crucial for Canadian Model S owners to be proactive with maintenance and inspections, especially before and after the harsh winter months. Addressing any issues promptly and following Tesla’s recommended service intervals can help prevent more costly repairs down the line.

 

Retrofit Options for Older Model S

For Tesla enthusiasts who purchased a Model S before air suspension became available, there are aftermarket solutions to retrofit the system on earlier models. While not an official Tesla upgrade, third-party air suspension kits can provide the adjustability and ride quality benefits to owners of pre-air suspension Model S vehicles.

Several companies specialize in engineering air suspension kits specifically for the Tesla Model S. These kits typically replace the factory coil springs and dampers with air struts and a compressor system to control the ride height. High-quality kits use components designed to meet or exceed OEM specifications.

The installation process for an aftermarket air suspension usually requires raising the vehicle, removing the original suspension components, and installing the air struts along with Airlines, sensors, and a controller unit. It’s a complex job best left to experienced professionals familiar with both air suspension systems and Tesla vehicles.

While adding air suspension aftermarket can be costly, ranging from $3,000 to $6,000 depending on the kit, it provides Model S owners with modern adjustability lacking from earlier models. The ability to raise the ride height for snow clearance, lower for better aerodynamics, and self-level with passengers and cargo can breathe new life into an aging Model S.

However, retrofitting does come with some caveats. It may void any remaining factory warranty coverage and could impact other vehicle systems if not installed properly. Owners must also weigh the benefits against the cost and complexity of the project before committing to an aftermarket air suspension retrofit.

 

Model S Air Suspension vs Competition

While air suspension systems are not unique to Tesla, the implementation on the Model S sets it apart from many competitors. Unlike traditional air suspension setups that rely on air shocks and struts, Tesla’s system utilizes an air reservoir and compressor to adjust the ride height independently at each wheel.

This design allows for more precise control and a wider range of height adjustments compared to some rival systems. For example, the Mercedes-Benz air suspension can only raise or lower the vehicle by a couple of inches, while the Tesla Model S can vary its ride height by up to 4 inches.

Another advantage of Tesla’s system is its self-leveling capability. As passengers or cargo are added, the air suspension automatically compensates to maintain an optimal ride height and balance. Many competing air suspensions require manual leveling or lack this feature entirely.

From an operational standpoint, Tesla’s air suspension is incredibly user-friendly. Ride height can be adjusted with a few taps on the central touchscreen, unlike some luxury brands that require navigating through complex menus or using physical buttons.

However, one area where Tesla may fall behind is in the tuning and damping of the air suspension. Brands like BMW and Audi are renowned for their finely-tuned suspension setups that balance ride comfort and handling prowess. While the Model S air suspension is smooth and capable, some enthusiasts may find it lacking the precise, sporty feel of German competitors.

Overall, Tesla’s innovative approach to air suspension technology gives the Model S a distinct edge in terms of adjustability, self-leveling, and user experience. But when it comes to pure suspension refinement, the legacy luxury brands still hold an advantage – at least for now.

 

Should You Get Air Suspension on Your Model S?

For Canadian drivers considering the Tesla Model S, the air suspension option presents both advantages and potential drawbacks to weigh. As a premium feature, it does come at an added cost, but it can significantly enhance the driving experience and capabilities of the electric sedan.

 

Pros of Air Suspension on the Model S:

  • Improved ride quality and comfort, especially on rougher Canadian roads
  • Ability to raise the ride height for additional ground clearance in deep snow or over steep driveways/entrances
  • Self-leveling capability to maintain a consistent ride height regardless of passenger and cargo load
  • Lowered height at highway speeds can improve aerodynamics and range
  • Enhanced handling and stability from the adjustable suspension dynamics

 

Potential Cons of Air Suspension:

  • Higher initial cost compared to the standard coil spring suspension
  • Increased maintenance requirements and potential repair costs for air suspension components over time
  • Possibility of air leaks or compressor failures, which can affect ride height
  • Added complexity compared to a conventional suspension system

 

Ultimately, the decision to opt for air suspension on the Tesla Model S will depend on your specific driving needs, budget, and priorities as a Canadian owner. If you frequently encounter rough roads, deep snow, or steep driveways, the adjustable ride height and improved comfort could make the air suspension a worthwhile investment. However, if you primarily drive on well-maintained roads and don’t anticipate needing the additional ground clearance, the standard suspension may suffice, saving you the added cost.

 

Suspension Options on Newer Tesla Models

While the Model S has offered air suspension as an optional upgrade for several years, Tesla’s newer vehicle lineup takes a different approach to adaptive suspension technology. The Model 3 and Model Y currently do not have an air suspension option, but they do feature an advanced adaptive suspension system that can automatically adjust damping and ride height based on road conditions and driving scenarios.

For the Model 3, Tesla introduced a “Smart Air Suspension” in 2021 through an over-the-air software update. This system uses the existing suspension components and adjusts the adaptive dampers to raise or lower the ride height slightly, providing improved comfort, handling, and efficiency. However, it does not offer the same level of adjustability as a dedicated air suspension system.

Looking ahead, Tesla has not yet confirmed suspension details for the upcoming Cybertruck, but many industry experts anticipate that the all-electric pickup will feature an advanced air suspension system as standard equipment. Given the Cybertruck’s unique design and intended off-road capabilities, an adjustable air suspension could prove invaluable for optimizing ground clearance, load-leveling, and overall ride quality.

As for future models beyond the Cybertruck, it’s likely that Tesla will continue to refine and implement adaptive suspension technologies across their lineup. The company’s focus on innovation and constantly improving vehicle dynamics could lead to the development of even more advanced air suspension systems or alternative solutions that provide similar benefits without the need for traditional air springs.

 

Air Suspension: The Future of Tesla Ride Dynamics?

While the current air suspension system on the Tesla Model S is already impressive, it’s likely just the beginning for Tesla’s ride dynamics technology. As a company at the forefront of innovation, Tesla is constantly exploring ways to enhance the driving experience and push the boundaries of what’s possible.

One area of potential advancement is the integration of predictive analytics and machine learning into the air suspension system. By analyzing real-time data from sensors and cameras, as well as historical road condition data, Tesla’s algorithms could anticipate upcoming road surfaces and adjust the suspension accordingly. This would allow for an even smoother ride and improved handling, as the suspension could pre-emptively adapt to changes in the road.

Additionally, Tesla may explore the use of advanced materials and manufacturing techniques to further refine the air suspension components. Lighter and more durable components could lead to increased efficiency, improved responsiveness, and extended longevity of the system.

Another intriguing possibility is the incorporation of active aerodynamics into the air suspension system. By dynamically adjusting the ride height and body geometry, Tesla could potentially optimize aerodynamic performance and efficiency at different speeds and driving conditions.

As Tesla continues to push the boundaries of electric vehicle technology, it’s likely that the air suspension system will evolve alongside other advancements in areas such as battery technology, autonomous driving, and vehicle-to-vehicle communication. The future of Tesla’s ride dynamics may very well involve a seamless integration of various cutting-edge technologies, creating an unparalleled driving experience that redefines what’s possible in an automobile.

 

Conclusion

The Tesla Model S offers an advanced air suspension system that provides a range of benefits for Canadian drivers. By allowing the ride height to be adjusted, owners can raise the vehicle to clear deep snow or steep driveways, while lowering it at highway speeds for improved range and stability.

Beyond the practical advantages, the air suspension also enhances ride quality and comfort, thanks to its self-leveling capability and ability to adapt to changing road conditions. This can be particularly valuable on rougher Canadian roads, where the air suspension can help smooth out imperfections.

While the air suspension does come at an additional cost, it can be a worthwhile investment for those who prioritize a luxurious driving experience and want to maximize the capabilities of their Model S in Canadian conditions. With proper maintenance and care, the air suspension system can provide years of reliable service, ensuring that your Model S remains a comfortable and capable vehicle, no matter the terrain.

As Tesla continues to innovate and push the boundaries of electric vehicle technology, it’s likely that advanced suspension systems like the one found on the Model S will become increasingly common, offering drivers the perfect balance of performance, comfort, and versatility. For Canadian Model S owners, the air suspension is a feature that truly elevates the driving experience, making it a compelling option for those seeking the ultimate in luxury and capability.

 

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Questions About Tesla Model S Air Suspension

The Tesla Model S is available with an optional adaptive air suspension system. This system allows the ride height of the vehicle to be adjusted using the touchscreen inside the car. The air suspension provides a smoother and more comfortable ride compared to the standard steel spring suspension.



Some key benefits of the Tesla Model S air suspension system include:

 

– Adjustable ride height for improved ground clearance

– Smoother ride quality over rough roads

– Self-leveling capability to maintain ride height with changing passenger and cargo load

– Lower ride height option for easier entry/exit and improved aerodynamics

No, air suspension is an optional upgrade on Tesla Model S vehicles. It is not equipped as a standard feature. You need to select the air suspension option when customizing your Model S order. Most Model S vehicles are equipped with standard steel coil springs.



Yes. The Tesla Model S vehicles equipped with the available air suspension feature self-leveling and height adjusting capabilities. It can automatically adjust the ride height to maintain clearance based on speed, loading, and road conditions.

You can easily adjust the ride height through the touchscreen display inside your Tesla Model S. Tap Controls > Suspension and select your desired height including Standard, Low, Very Low, and Jack. The air suspension system will smoothly raise or lower the vehicle.

Unfortunately no, the Tesla Model S air suspension system cannot be retrofitted if your car was not originally equipped with it from the factory. The control modules, air springs, and hardware underneath need to be integrated as a complete system.

The Tesla Model S air suspension performs well overall in cold winter climates. However, ice buildup around the air springs and valves could potentially impact operation. Make sure to remove any packed snow or ice accumulation around the system components. The compressor and valves are also electronically heated when required.

Tesla does recommend checking and removing debris around the air suspension components periodically. Use caution when jacking or lifting the vehicle to prevent damaging the air suspension parts. Tesla also advises against disabling the air suspension system for extended periods, even when storing the vehicle.

The adaptive air suspension on the Tesla Model S is rated to handle up to 900 pounds in the front trunk and up to 300 pounds on the rear load floor. This allows you to comfortably carry passengers and cargo without exceeding load limits.

The Tesla Model S air suspension is essentially maintenance free under normal conditions aside from periodic inspection. Unless a fault code is logged, the system is designed to operate for the life of the vehicle without requiring service. Tesla recommends having any error codes diagnosed and cleared by their service technicians.

According to Tesla, the air suspension compressor, springs, and shock absorbers are designed and validated to last over 150,000 miles or 8 years before replacement may be required. Other components like valves, sensors, and lines are not typically subject to wear over time under normal use.

No, currently air suspension is not available on the Tesla Model 3. At this time adaptive air suspension is only offered on the Model S and Model X flagship vehicles. There were rumors that Model 3 may get an air suspension option by 2022 but Tesla has not confirmed plans.



Yes. Like the Model S, air suspension is available as an option on the Tesla Model X. The Model X uses the same underlying air suspension system and technology. It provides automatic self-leveling and ride height adjustment to improve capability and comfort.

Aside from Tesla, the Lucid Air and Rivian R1S & R1T electric vehicles will feature optional air suspension systems. These match capabilities already offered on the Tesla Model S and Model X with adjustable ride heights. Other electric models rely on more conventional steel springs and shock absorbers.

The Tesla air suspension system is designed to operate in cold climates. However, features like auto-leveling and ride height adjustment could be temporarily unavailable in extreme cold until the vehicle warms up. Tesla recommends removing ice buildup around sensors and valves if detected.

The Tesla Model S and Model X are designed to default to a safe ride height if the air suspension system develops a fault. A warning light will come on the dashboard so you can still drive safely to a service center. Tesla mobile service can also perform air suspension repairs conveniently at your home or office in many cases.

The premium interior is recommended if choosing air suspension for your Tesla Model S or Model X. The multi-contour front seats with ventilation and massaging are better optimized to take advantage of the improved ride quality available from the adjustable air suspension system.

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