Tesla has included a direct reference to the Model Y structural battery pack in an update to its Model Y owner’s manual. The document noted that new Model Ys equipped with structural batteries have lift points that differ slightly. In the manual note, Tesla encouraged owners to check the vehicle itself for the exact location of lift points in Model Ys that are equipped with a structural battery pack, and included the following illustration which showed where the Model Y’s lift points are in the updated version.
— Tom Klun (@TKlun1) January 14, 2022
Tesla’s structural batteries are important because they have dual use. During Tesla’s Battery Day event in 2020, Elon Musk shared a bit about how Tesla was inspired to design the structural battery.
“You’re basically making the front and rear of the car is a single piece and that then interfaces to what we call it, the structural battery. Where the battery for the first time will have dual use. The battery will both have the use as an energy device and as structure. This is absolutely the way things are done. In the early days of aircraft, they would carry the fuel tanks as cargo. So the fuel tanks actually were quite difficult to carry.
“They’re basically worse than cargo, you had to add to the kind of bolt them down. It was very difficult. And then somebody said, “Hey, what if we just make the fuel tank in wing shape?” So all modern airplanes, your wing is just a fuel tank in wing shape. This is absolutely the way to do it. And then the fuel tanks serves this dual structure, and it’s no longer cargo. It’s fundamental to the structure of the aircraft. This was a major breakthrough. We’re doing the same for cars.”
He further explained that Tesla also saved more mass in the battery since the non-cell portions have a negative mass, which improves the mass efficiency of the battery. The structural batteries are built into the structural platform of the vehicle and would also reinforce its body and chassis.
This bit of news shows that Tesla could be rolling out new structural batteries in the Model Y any day — perhaps made-in-Texas Model Ys.
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