Tesla Model Y teardown forces Toyota to see an inconvenient truth: report

Image Credit: Tesla Inc.

For some time now, it appeared that Toyota would be left behind in the electric vehicle transition. The company did not seem very serious about EVs, and the electric cars that it does release seem half-hearted at best. But as per a recent report, Toyota appears to have changed its stance on electric cars somewhat. They just needed to tear down a Tesla Model Y first. 

There’s something quite remarkable about Teslas. They may look the same over the years, but their internals are changed very frequently. This was certainly the case with the Tesla Model Y. Its earliest iterations are quite different from its latest versions, particularly those that are built in Giga Texas that use both front and rear megacasts and a structural 4680 battery pack. 

As noted in an Automotive News report, Toyota engineers recently conducted a teardown of a Tesla Model Y. The best-selling all-electric crossover did not just show the innovations that Tesla implemented on the vehicle. It also made Toyota realize that if they wanted to catch up in the emerging EV sector, they would have to get very serious about electric cars. 

Beneath the Model Y’s rather unassuming exterior was a car that could be described as a “masterfully simplistic vehicle structure built with an advanced manufacturing prowess,” the motoring publication noted. It was also something that would most likely incite envy among veteran automakers. A Toyota executive who looked over the Model Y’s components reportedly noted that the vehicle was nothing short of a work of art. 

“Taking the skin off the Model Y, it was truly a work of art. It’s unbelievable,” the executive said. 

If there was something that became evident for Toyota’s executives when they tore down the Model Y, it was the fact that the Japanese veteran automaker’s manufacturing expertise has been exceeded — at least when it comes to electric cars. This was evident in the Model Y’s internals, which has been updated over the years to make it better and more cost-effective to build. 

The Model Y’s megacasts, which were made possible by Tesla’s work with companies like IDRA to create Giga Press machines, eliminated numerous parts that make production more complicated. Toyota appears to have gotten its hands on a 4680 Model Y as well, as the publication referenced the all-electric crossover’s battery being part of the vehicle’s structure itself. 

Toyota reportedly estimated that Tesla’s approach, which the company developed over many years of painstaking optimizations, effectively eliminated hundreds of parts and about 220 pounds of weight. Innovations in the Model Y also boosted the Model Y’s battery range and lowered its overall costs. A Toyota executive described Tesla’s approach to the Model Y as a “whole different manufacturing philosophy.”

Another executive reportedly noted that what Toyota needs at this point is something different from what the veteran automaker has been doing so far. “We need a new platform designed as a blank-sheet EV,” the executive said. 

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Tesla Model Y teardown forces Toyota to see an inconvenient truth: report
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