Elon Musk discussed the complexities of the Model Y’s heat pump and octovalve in the latest episode of Third Row Tesla podcast. Musk appeared as a surprise guest in the episode alongside Munro, who is in the middle of an extensive Model Y teardown.
As Third Row member Sofiaan Fraval explained at the beginning of the episode, the latest podcast covered a bit about Sandy Munro’s Model Y teardown and Elon Musk’s thoughts about the Model Y’s heat pump and octovalve.
The Tesla CEO also said that there was “a whole esoteric thing” about heat pumps and particularly asked Sandy Munro if he had already cracked into the cooling circuit of the heat pump. Musk believed that the cooling circuit was particularly clever designs.
“Like Sandy, I don’t know if you broke open that heat pump and looked at the cooling circuits, but it’s incredibly complex. And you can’t even do it with tubes…,” Elon Musk elaborated.
“We wanted to exchange heat between many different parts of the vehicles as efficiently as possible and to use a heat pump design which is like an air conditioner backwards.”
Credit: Munro Live/YouTube
Musk said that the most interesting part of Tesla’s heat pump design was its local heating loop. He explained that the local heating loop allowed the heat pump to get hot locally before opening up a valve to heat up the cabin. Musk clarified that the local heating loop was crucial in low temperatures.
Musk emphasized that the design of the Model Y’s cooling circuit was unique. “Applying the concept of a printed circuit board to cooling circuits allows you to achieve a very complex heat exchanger that you literally could not do with tubes,” he said.
The Model Y shares about 70%-75% of its part with the Model 3, but its heat pump and octovalve are not one of those components. Thus far, the Model Y is the only Tesla with a heat pump and octovalve.
In one of his teardown videos, Sandy Munro explained that the octovalve powered everything that needed to be cooled and heated. Based on Munro’s octovalve preview, it is attached to the Model Y’s heat pump. Munro also shared that the octovalve had a short circuit that allowed heat to spread faster from the pump.
Musk explained that the octovalve allowed the Model Y to do multiple things simultaneously, supporting the heat pump’s function. He commented that it was a smart valve design.
Credit: Munro Live/YouTube
According to Elon Musk, the heat pump allowed the car to operate more efficiently. “So even though [the Model Y] is heavier and has a bigger cross-sectional area, it’s actually able to achieve a range that is about the same as the Model 3,” he said.
“So normally you’d expect something that is around 10% heavier, around 10% cross-sectional area to behave 10% less range approximately. But we were able to make the car a little better than 10% more efficient, so it’s able to maintain approximately the same range as the Model 3 despite being a bigger vehicle. That was the goal of the heat pump design,” Musk explained further.
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