The Model Y is the First Tesla Model to Use a Heat Pump

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【Summary】Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk recently took to Twitter to announce that Model Y will come with some special equipment, including a new heat pump.

Manish Kharinta    May 05, 2020 4:00 PM PT
The Model Y is the First Tesla Model to Use a Heat Pump

Deliveries of the new Tesla Model Y crossover had just begun when the coronavirus outbreak suddenly hit North America. With most of the United States on lockdown to prevent the spread, many of Tesla's operations have been suspended in an attempt to combat the pandemic.

However, Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk took it upon himself to offer updates about the company's highly anticipated Model Y.

Musk recently took to Twitter to commend his engineering team, saying that they have done some "next-level work" on the Model Y. Among the engineering breakthroughs is the Model Y's innovative heat pump. For the uninitiated, using a heat pump to transfer heat to the cabin or battery pack proves to be much more effective in frigid climates than resistance heaters, which create heat from electrical resistance.

By transferring heat from one part of the vehicle to another, the Model Y's heat pump expends much less electricity than if it were to create the same amount of heat using electrical resistance.

Other than helping with climate control inside the cabin, the heat pump in the Model Y makes the vehicle more efficient overall. While operating electric vehicles in colder climates, EV drivers often end up using a sizable portion of their battery power for heating the cabin, or even heating of the battery pack itself. This considerably depletes the overall driving range of the vehicle.

With the exception of the Model Y, all of Tesla's other offerings, which include the Model S, Model 3 sedan and Model X SUV, come with resistance heaters. Some engineers claim that heat pumps are almost three times as efficient as resistance heaters.

Tesla is not the only electric vehicle maker to use a heat pump. Japanese carmaker Nissan equips the popular Leaf EV with the same style of heat pump, which uses refrigerant to trap the heat and move it to a different location in the vehicle, instead of generating heat by using electricity, like resistance heaters are designed to do. 

Similarly, the Model Y's heat pump uses electricity to run a compressor that moves the refrigerant around the system and therefore supplies heat to the cabin, as well as heating the battery pack.

We expect that Tesla will soon introduce this heat pump in the rest of its lineup, as it results in additional range. The Model S may be the next Tesla model to get a heat pump, as it recently received a significant bump in efficiency and will now be offered with a range of 391 miles.

So far, there has not been any official word detailing as to how deliveries of Tesla Model Y will be affected by the coronavirus pandemic, but it looks as though some customers might have to wait a little longer for their rides and try out the Model Y's new heat pump. 

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