Tesla is constantly reducing its carbon footprint even further by improving its factories and products. Ultimately, low-carbon production must become a key metric in determining the efficiency of each manufacturer and its impact on our planet.
Tesla cars are among the most efficient electric vehicles built to date. With the first Model S, the manufacturer was able to achieve an energy efficiency of 3.1 EPA miles / kWh, while the Model Y All-Wheel Drive (AWD) achieves 4.1 EPA miles / kWh, which makes it the most efficient electric SUV produced to date. The efficiency gap between Tesla vehicles is still significant compared to competitors in the same segment. At the same time, all Tesla vehicles are not only energy-efficient but also have high performance, which is not as easy to achieve as examples of electric vehicles from other manufacturers show.
In its 2021 Impact Report, Tesla stated that the energy efficiency of its vehicles will continue to improve as the company improves its technology and powertrain efficiency. The manufacturer has also suggested that its high-mileage products, such as Tesla's upcoming robotaxi, will be designed for maximum energy efficiency as handling, acceleration, and top speed become less important. This in turn will minimize costs for customers, as well as reduce carbon emissions per mile. Beyond this, Tesla is also working on a number of other fronts to reduce its carbon footprint further.
1. Building new, better designed and more efficient factories
Building a factory from scratch in a sustainable way can have a significant impact on reducing energy consumption. In the pursuit of continuous improvement, Tesla builds each new factory to be better and more sustainable than the previous ones. For example, at Gigafactory Texas, the company chose highly efficient, insulated, low emissivity windows to reduce building heating and cooling demand. In addition, waste heat recovery from its compressors alone will offset over 1 MW of natural gas consumption for process heating. Further improvements will continue at Giga Berlin and Giga Texas, the manufacturer said.
2. Covering roof space with solar panels
All new Tesla factories are designed to be covered in solar panels. As of the end of 2021, the company had installed 21,405 kW of solar panels, the vast majority of which were installed on the rooftops of Gigafactory Nevada, Gigafactory New York, and its California manufacturing facilities. The manufacturer continues to increase the capacity of these and other facilities to the extent possible and economically feasible. The installation of solar panels has also been seen on the rooftops of Giga Texas and Giga Berlin.
3. Leveraging AI to make factories more efficient
Tesla leveraging six years of sensor data from Gigafactory Nevada to train an artificial intelligence (AI) program to safely control 195 interconnected HVAC units, accounting for 6MW of total electrical load. In its first full year of operation, the company has seen significant load reductions from baseline usage. AI control is expected to provide significant energy savings for Tesla as it scales to control a larger proportion of HVAC equipment at Gigafactory Nevada, as well as HVAC equipment at the company's other factories.
4. Transitioning to in-house manufactured 4680 Tesla cells, whose production process can reduce energy consumption by more than 70%
At Tesla Battery Day 2020, the manufacturer introduced a new way to produce battery cells using the dry electrode process. The new process allows for a direct transition from cathode or anode powder to electrode film, reducing energy consumption during the entire cell manufacturing step by more than 70%, according to the company's latest analysis.
5. Utilizing renewable energy as much as possible throughout all Tesla operations
The manufacturer plans to convert energy consumption to renewable energy as quickly as possible in all of its operations: in its factories, at sales, service or delivery locations, or through the Supercharger network.
© 2022, Eva Fox | Tesmanian. All rights reserved.
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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.