One of the Tesla Model Y’s most talked about features is its heat pump, which replaced the electric resistive heating system used in the Model S, Model 3, and Model X. In a recent video uploaded by Detroit automotive veteran Sandy Munro, he drew comparisons between the Model Y’s heat pump to the old air conditioning compressor that was included in the Model 3. More importantly, Munro also talked about why he prefers the new system to the former.
The heat pump was the brainchild of Tesla’s engineering team. Additionally, Munro stated in his recent teardown video that the new heat pump from Tesla can accomplish both air conditioning and heating. Interestingly enough, the component is independently mounted from other parts underneath the hood, allowing the unit to shake and move freely when it’s operating.
“That shake does not turn into a noise vibration and harshness that you’d find inside the car,” Munro says, as he suggested that mounting the pump to other portions of the vehicle’s system could cause an unfavorable noise. “This is right. This is the way to do it.”
Munro noted that the heat pump’s compressor “crushes” gas down and sends it out into a pipe that navigates away from the pump. The vehicle then makes a decision based on the climate control settings in the car. It will either go into an air conditioning condenser if the driver wants cold air, or straight into the cabin if the heat is turned on. While simple, Munro’s explanation shows the efficiency of the system. It simplifies the overall structure of the Model Y’s climate control, while providing a whole new way for Tesla to maximize the efficiency of the vehicle.
In a previous video from Tesla owner-enthusiast Andy Slye, he explained that while the electric resistive heating systems in the electric car maker’s previous vehicles have a 100% efficiency rate, heat pumps generally have a 300% efficiency rate. While this seems improbable, a heat pump can generate 3kW of thermal energy from 1 kW of power. This helps address the usual reduction of range experienced by Teslas in cold climates.
The new system could eliminate the worries of consumers who live in areas where extremely cold weather is anticipated during winter months. Cold air increases drag, and while the battery and cabin require warming, range drops, causing more frequent charging stops. But with a more efficient climate control system, this does not have to be the case.
As for Munro, he believes that a heat pump was indeed the right choice for the Model Y. “I think it’s a good idea to have the heat pump as opposed to the heaters and all the other stuff they had inside (the Model 3), so I’m pretty happy about that,” he said.
Tesla’s engineering team performed some of the best work yet with the Model Y, as per CEO Elon Musk. And if Sandy Munro’s ongoing teardown is any indication, it appears that the Tesla Mode Y is really the company’s most disruptive vehicle to date.
Watch Munro’s breakdown of the Model Y heat pump below.