As auto engineering veteran Sandy Munro of Munro & Associates continues his teardown of the Tesla Model Y, he now turns his focus on the battery, and it reveals some important exclusions that reduce the cost of making the battery pack.
Lithium-ion battery packs are a significant factor in the cost of producing an electric vehicle – they make up a huge part of the electric powertrain which can be half the total cost. as Munro discusses on this Autoline After Hours piece.
Any cost-cutting measures that can be achieved will reduce overall cost as well as adding up over thousands of units, a fact that is exceptionally important to Tesla should the Model Y prove to be as popular as CEO and co-founder Elon Musk believes it will.
First deliveries of the Model Y began in mid-March in the US, a year after its unveiling to a global audience, as Tesla’s fourth volume production vehicle and its second aimed at the mass-market in the US.
In Munro’s latest video, he takes apart the Model Y battery pack – which is almost identical to that of the Model 3 – and finds some interesting exclusions.
“The first difference we’ve got is a vault seal that used to be around the outside edge of the battery pack for the … Model 3,” Munro says. “It’s gone.”
“You can see the scrapings from where it was and it’s been replaced by the smaller foam pack that all that’s needed because of the irregular shapes that come as a result of putting it into the casting.”
The second difference is the replacement of fibre padding with strip foam isolaters, which according to Munro – who makes a living out of preparing detailed cost analysis reports for customers in the automotive industry – is a “big cost reduction”.
Another change, which is not so much an exclusion as a change to make things quicker to assemble, is the stiff molded conduit which can be efficiently pressed around the edge of the pack.
“This is great for operators this is a fabulous idea that the other folks at Tesla have come up with it keeps everything as as tight as possible,” he says.
There are some other interesting components that Munro points out including airlock bolts that complete the circuit fro the Model Y’s low voltage connection.
Another is what is known as the “pyro switch” – a safety feature a bit like an amped up fuse switch. “If you’re in a crash that thing basically blows up and destroys the circuit between the two halves of the battery cutting your voltage in half immediately,” says Munro.
Three more exclusions pointed out by Munro are the AC filter harness trough, the protective fuse cover and two terminal caps from the high-voltage safety switches, all cost-saving measures that have likely been carried through to the Model 3 also.
Munro has not yet delved into the battery cells, but when he does it will be with some interest, considering Tesla’s “Battery Day” that was originally planned for April has now been delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic until May according to Musk.
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Bridie Schmidt is lead reporter for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She specialises in writing about new technology and has been writing about electric vehicles for two years. She has a keen interest in the role that zero emissions transport has to play in sustainability and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum.