The U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has teamed up with Orbis Brakes to create lightweight, high-performance brakes for the Tesla Model S Plaid (and other vehicles) that don’t cost as much as currently available aftermarket kits — reports MotorTrend.
The braking solution was a new concept from Orbis, which caught the eye of a NASA engineer and led to a collaboration between the two companies to create what the pair call the ‘Periodic Wave Disc Brake Rotor’.
According to NASA, the new brakes feature a “lightweight brake rotor design with high heat dissipation using novel surface cooling technology.” As compared to aftermarket retrofits currently available for the Model S Plaid, the NASA-Orbis brakes are lighter, cheaper, perform better, and last longer.
Orbis is currently planning two different designs featuring the new braking technology — one that is configured to replace conventional rotors and callipers inside any manufacturer’s wheel and be a quick and simple installation, and another, higher-end offering with a ring-rotor design that will only be compatible with a special Orbis-supplied lightweight forged aluminum wheel.
Lower heat improves performance and part longevity. Third-party performance testing is ongoing, but preliminary testing conducted by Orbis shows the lower-end direct retrofit setup boosting performance by 13% at the same price as comparable alternatives.
The ring-rotor design, on the other hand, delivers carbon-ceramic performance at half the price (Tesla cells a carbon-ceramic kit for the Model S Plaid for $20,000 USD). The higher-end offering also weighs half as much as a typical carbon-ceramic braking kit, and brake temperatures drop by 25 percent as compared to a conventional steel rotor/calliper design.
A lower-performance, higher-longevity braking solution based on the same technology is also in the works.
Orbis CEO Marcus Hays said brake kits featuring the Periodic Wave Disc Brake Rotor will enter production in the fall of 2022. The company will start with both conventional and ring-rotor retrofit kits for the Tesla Model S Plaid.
Pricing for the full wheel setup has yet to be announced, Orbis aims to undercut the price of a comparable carbon-ceramic brake upgrade that’s already on the market. The company said the target price for a pair of conventional front rotors to fit the Model S Plaid is $1,500 USD.
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