Following our report that a special ‘007’ Tesla Model 3 was spotted testing with a mysterious roof-mounted device, Teslarati now has insight on what the hardware is likely being used for.
We’ve previously seen Tesla test Model S vehicles mounted with a LiDAR puck and traditional tower-mount LiDAR equipment, but the recent sighting of a small device mounted to the roof of a black Model 3 is in fact sensing equipment unrelated to Autopilot.
A Teslarati reader familiar with the device informs us that it’s likely an ultraviolet sensor to measure the UV Index on Model 3’s glass roof.
While Tesla’s glass roof offers a breathtaking experience, especially when riding in the backseat as a passenger, having protection from harmful UVB rays that are known to cause sunburns and UVA rays that lead to long-term skin damage is paramount. The sensor spotted on the black 007 Model 3 appears to be a UV Radiometer.
Tesla is likely testing the level of UV protection Model 3’s all glass roof offers. If it’s anything like the full panoramic or glass roof that’s already available on Model S, the Model 3 roof will provide unparalleled views with 98% UV protection. Adding sun protection will also keep the interior of the vehicle cool which is a vital component to maximizing a battery’s state of charge. The rationale is that a cooler cabin results in less energy usage from the vehicle’s HVAC system, thus leading to longer driving range.