The video above gave us a sense that Sandy Munro addressed the Tesla Model Y design flaw we brought up on March 28. After giving thorough consideration to his words and what we said, we realized the video addresses a different concern. Sitting low was never the issue with the Model Y, because that is not the case. The design flaw is having the rear hatch exposed because the rear bumper does not protrude backward.
We have chosen the precise point in which Munro talks about that in his video, starting at 2:04. You will see he is amazed by the "aluminum rear crush plate." It was probably created to prevent damage to the "gigantic aluminum casting" the company has adopted on the Model Y. That is what he decided to call that part because he had never seen anything similar until now.
A little further, Munro says this:
“I know some people said, ‘well, this is kind of low and it’ll maybe crush the hatch.’ But, you know? At the end of the day, this is higher than what a minivan is and I don’t hear a lot of complaining about that on Chrysler’s products.”
Munro is more than right, but what about the rear hatch being more exposed than it should? This is what we intended to point out, but we may have presented it in a way that made people think the design flaw was due to the opening height. This article comes precisely to clarify that.
Gallery: Tesla Model Y Design Flaw: Sitting Low Is Not The Issue; Sitting Exposed Is
Sitting too low – such as the third-generation Honda Fit – would just expose the rear hatch more if the rear bumper was not there to touch any obstacle first. For that to happen, the rear hatch extreme and the rear bumper tip had to be far from each other. That is not what happens in some version of the Honda Fit or with the Model Y: since their rear bumpers are not protuberant, sitting at the same distance the back doors are, that leaves the rear hatches exposed.
Check above some of Chrysler's and Dodge's minivans. They all have low openings and protruding bumpers – even the very first. That prevents the hatch from hitting anything at the same time or even before the rear bumper does when reversing – the first-generation Fiat Palio did that.
Is the Model Y opening really low to start with? We have tried to determine that by looking at the manual. Most automakers present their cars in drawings in similar scales that allow us to compare them, but that was not the case with the Model Y and Model 3, as you can see above. The cars do not share a single measure and the images seem to be pictures rather than drawings.
We have tried to determine that with other images, but the scale problem mixed with perspective issues did not help once again. At least we discovered Tesla has already fixed the Model Y manual, replacing "Model 3" on page 22 for "vehicle."
The solution to check how tall the Model Y opening actually is ended up being much easier than we could imagine.
The picture above was taken from the article that showed the first registered case of a hatch dent on the Model Y. That is the sort of damage we fear the Model Y may be more exposed to.
The image still has perspective issues, but it seems to show that the Model Y's trunk opening height is just a little lower than the Model 3's. If the Model Y has it due to height, so does the Model 3, right? Yet, check how the Model 3 rear bumper goes backward. The Model Y's ends precisely where the rear hatch does. In this picture's case, where it used to, at least.
With that in mind, we sent a message to Sandy Munro explaining exactly what we are concerned about and if he thinks that having the rear hatch more exposed in that sense can cause more expensive damages than if the rear bumper was protuberant.
We also suggested that Munro make a video addressing specifically that – if he thinks it is worth it. The rear hatch has already been removed, but we bet such a video would be very popular. Besides, it would help get a more precise assessment from him about what seems to be a design flaw. At least it was in previous vehicles. We'll write a new article when he replies: the man is terribly busy with the teardown already.