Tesla proudly hides ‘Octovalve’ insignia in Model Y, hints at next-gen thermal system

(Credit: Munrolive.com)

A number of the Tesla Model Y’s secrets are now coming to the surface, as auto veteran and teardown expert Sandy Munro continues his disassembly and analysis of the all-electric crossover. Among the most noteworthy of these secrets is the vehicle’s “Octovalve,” which could very well be an upgraded version of the Model 3’s unique “Superbottle,” which serves as the heart of the all-electric sedan’s thermal management system.

The Model 3 broke all conventions when it became evident that instead of using a different cooling system for the vehicle’s battery pack, cabin, and electronics, the all-electric sedan used one compact centralized thermal management system. Traditional automakers usually install several cooling systems in a car, since components are outsourced to different companies. Tesla opted for a different strategy with the Model 3, thanks to its vertically-integrated approach to its vehicles’ design.

The Tesla Model Y’s Octovalve. (Credit: Munrolive.com)

Based on recent photographs taken by auto teardown expert Sandy Munro, the Model Y is also equipped with a novel thermal management system. But instead of a Superbottle, Tesla appears to have provided its latest vehicle with an “Octovalve” instead. Munro is yet to tear down and analyze the Octovalve, but just like its predecessor, it seems to be the heart of the Model Y’s cooling and heating system.

Interestingly enough, the use of the Octovalve instead of the Superbottle in the Model Y may be due to the all-electric crossover’s heat pump. Prior Teslas like the Model S, Model 3, and Model X have used electronic resistive heating systems, which are quick but less efficient than heat pumps.

The Tesla Model Y’s Octovalve. (Credit: Munrolive.com)

This is speculation of course, but it appears that the Octovalve may be a novel way for Tesla to combine all heating and cooling systems in the Model Y in one unit. To make this possible, Tesla needed a customized, smart valve system that can perform all the cooling and heating tasks for the Model Y. Based on Munro’s previews, this definitely seems to be the case, as hinted at by the Octovalve’s own badge — an octopus with a snowflake on its head.

Elon Musk has mentioned the Octovalve in a previous tweet, while responding to a Tesla community member who inquired if the Model Y had a solution that is better than the Superbottle. Musk noted in his tweet that the Octovalve is pretty special on its own right, though he was quick to emphasize that all credit for the creation of the system is to the Tesla team, not himself.

“Yes. PCB design techniques applied to create a heat exchanger that is physically impossible by normal means. Heat pump also has a local heating loop to spool up fast & extend usable temperature range. Octavalve is pretty special too. Team did great work. No credit to me,” Musk wrote.

While discussing the Superbottle during the Model 3’s teardown, Sandy Munro stated that device, apart from giving serious technical and cost advantages for Tesla, is the very representation of the electric car maker’s vertical integration. By adopting such a device, Tesla pretty much saved on space, assembly costs, and final assembly time. Such is just not possible with other EVs such as the Chevy Bolt, an otherwise great electric car that utilizes three separate cooling systems.

The Tesla Model 3’s Superbottle. (Credit: Hyperchange TV/YouTube)

“The Superbottle is a great example of how the normal automotive companies don’t work together, and Tesla does. That Superbottle crosses many lines that you can’t cross here (in Detroit). If I’m in charge of engine cooling or battery cooling, I don’t want nothing to do with cooling the cabin. And yet, we’ve got the motor cooling, the battery cooling, and electronics, all going through one little bottle that’s got some clever little ball valves that open and close to make sure that everything’s getting heated or everything’s being cooled to where it needs to be. We all thought that was the best thing in the whole damn car,” Munro commented.

Very little is known about the Octovalve and its actual functions for now, but if speculations are correct, it appears that Tesla has created something novel for its newest vehicle’s cooling and heating system once more. This bodes well for the company’s next vehicles as well, such as the Plaid Model S and Model X, the Cybertruck, the Semi, and the next-generation Roadster. Needless to say, it would be very interesting to see what vertically integrated solution Tesla creates for its next electric cars.

Simon Alvarez: Simon is a reporter with a passion for electric cars and clean energy. Fascinated by the world envisioned by Elon Musk, he hopes to make it to Mars (at least as a tourist) someday.
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