Photo: Zhihu Automobile
Recently, Zhihu Automobile completed a teardown of made-in-China Tesla Model Y. The firm carried out a comprehensive analysis in terms of body construction technology, internal interaction, electrical system, battery safety, etc., and concluded that Tesla Model Y is undoubtedly the most integrated electric vehicle to date.
Previously, it was believed that the level of joint use of parts of Model 3 and Model Y reached 70%, however it turned out that this is not the case. In fact, the cars appeared to share about only 25% of similar parts. For example, the front subframes of the two cars are the same, but the characteristics of the swing arms, steering knuckles, and front suspension brakes are different. Although the similarity of parts in the two cars is quite high, most of them needed separate refinement for Model Y.
After the Model Y was disassembled into eight pieces, testers found a large single-piece rear casting. The researchers note that while only one part of the car is made of single-piece cast, Tesla is already well ahead of the industry. Thanks to this technology, this part of the car can be lightened by 10-20%, which significantly reduces the design cost and development cycle of finely divided parts. The initial number of connection points has been reduced from 700-800 to 50. The part production time has been reduced from 1-2 hours to 3-5 minutes.
In addition, due to the high rigidity of the castings, the suspension installation is simplified, the suspension movement parameters are more guaranteed, and the flatter chassis also reduces driving noise. In terms of cost, although the aluminum alloy material is higher than the stamped steel plate and the casting machine is not cheap, the integrated casting reduces the number of parts and reduces the welding work of a large number of steel plates, so the cost has not increased in the end.
The Tesla Model Y heat pump is another part that differs significantly from the competition. Model Y has an eight-way valve, which the company calls Octovalve. The heat pump can collect all the heat from the vehicle, including the power system, battery, cab, etc., and the intelligent temperature management system manages this heat in a uniform way.
Many parts have also been seen where Tesla has applied economy in various ways. For example, in battery packaging, compared to previous generation batteries, the amount of sealing glue between the modules has been reduced and the plastic plates of the module have been removed. However, а needle puncture test of the battery cell showed that the cell burned out as usual, but due to the presence of potting glue, the fire did not affect the other cells and the entire module was intact.
Overall, following the teardown, Zhihu concluded that Tesla Model Y is undoubtedly the most integrated electric vehicle to date, and the company continues to make relentless efforts to integrate further. The cost savings brought on by the high degree of integration have already allowed consumers in China to enjoy affordable prices.
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About the Author
Eva Fox joined Tesmanian in 2019 to cover breaking news as an automotive journalist. The main topics that she covers are clean energy and electric vehicles. As a journalist, Eva is specialized in Tesla and topics related to the work and development of the company.