Tesla’s addition of a heat pump to the Model Y is designed to increase efficiency while controlling the cabin temperature of the electric crossover. While the Model Y was the first Tesla vehicle to receive this new feature, the performance of the heat pump in real-world settings is still pretty unknown. However, YouTuber and Tesla owner-enthusiast DAErik tested the Model Y’s heat pump against the resistive heating system of the Model S by preconditioning both cars and seeing which vehicle could remove snow more efficiently.
In the past, tests of the Model 3’s heating system against an internal combustion vehicle’s heating showed the electric vehicle’s method was more efficient than its gas-powered counterpart. But, how does Tesla’s new system compare to the system it has used in its fleet before?
For his recent test, DAErik opted to leave both his Model Y and Model S outside in snow. This provided the perfect opportunity to determine whether the new heat pump in the crossover offered better performance than the heating system in the flagship sedan.
The test would easily prove whether or not the Model Y’s heat pump is more effective in heating a vehicle compared to the resistive heating system in the Model S. If the Model Y was able to melt the snow quicker than the Model S, it would prove that the new heating mechanism in the all-electric crossover functions in a more effective manner than its predecessor.
After remotely activating the Model Y and Model S’ heaters, both vehicles were checked after intervals of 10, 30, and 80 minutes. DAErik used a thermal camera to determine what areas of the car were heating the quickest without opening any doors on either vehicle. Additionally, DAErik tested the power liftgate on both cars to see if the snow would slide off the top of the hatch and into the rear of the trunk. This trunk hatch was a design flaw with the Model 3, as DAErik showed a clip of snow crashing into the sedan’s trunk after the liftgate covered by frozen precipitation.
As it turned out, the Model Y’s heat pump proved superior compared to the Model S’ resistive heating system. When both vehicles finished defrosting and preconditioning, the Model Y’s hood was warm and there was no snow left. Meanwhile, the Model S was still sporting a layer of ice on its hood.
In effect, the Model Y’s heat pump proved to be the more effective method of heating for Tesla’s vehicles. While the old system seemed to defrost snow effectively, the layer of ice on the Model S’ hood shows the system could be taking excessive amounts of time to reach temperature. The heat pump on the Model Y did not have these issues, suggesting that the new system is not just efficient, it is also optimized for effectiveness.
Watch DAErik’s video testing the Model Y heat pump to the Model S resistive heating system below.