Tesla Model Y vs Model S Defrost Challenge Gives First Look At New Heat Pump's Real-World Efficiency

by Ma. Claribelle Deveza April 15, 2020

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A recent test that pitted the Tesla Model Y against the Model S in a defrost challenge has provided a good first look at the real-world efficiency of the all-electric crossover’s new heating system. Based on the results of the test, it appears that the Model Y’s heat pump actually performs very well when compared to the resistive heating system in the Model S, but it comes with a pretty interesting trade-off. 

Tesla enthusiast and YouTube host of the DÆrik channel Erik Strait has owned several electric vehicles from the Silicon Valley-based carmaker, including the Model S, Model 3, Model X, and most recently, a Model Y. This makes Strait a veteran Tesla owner, and living in Colorado, he also has a lot of experience in terms of defrosting his electric cars after a frigid night. 

One of these nights recently provided Strait with an opportunity to conduct a real-world test of the Model Y’s heat pump and how it stacks up against the Model S’ resistive heating system. To do this, Strait opted to activate the heaters in the Model Y and Model S, both of which were caked with a thick layer of snow. Immediately after activating the heaters on both vehicles, Strait noticed something distinct on the Model Y.  

True to teardown expert Sandy Munro’s observations, Strait noticed that the heat pump in the Model Y was a lot noisier than the resistive heating system in the Model S. As for their performance, the Model Y actually managed to defrost the snow faster than its flagship sedan sibling. By the end of the real-world test, the hood of the Model Y was clear of any snow, while the Model S still had a thin layer of ice. 

Granted, this may be due to the Model S being wrapped with a protective coating, which may have contributed to the heating performance of the vehicle. However, the Model Y proved impressive nonetheless. By the end of the test, the Model Y was not covered in snow anymore, and it is, for all intends and purposes, ready to be driven. 

That being said, there appears to be some optimizations needed for the Model Y’s heat pump. Following the test, Strait noted that the Model Y used up about 10.9 kWh of power, while the Model S only used up 9.6 kWh. Hopefully, Tesla can address this in a future update, especially since a considerable point for the Model Y’s heat pump is to make the vehicle more efficient in frigid weather. 

Featured Image Credit: DÆrik/YouTube




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