All new Tesla electric vehicles come with heat pumps as standard nowadays, and this makes a big difference when it comes to cold weather efficiency and range.
In a new video posted on its YouTube channel, Tesla offers an interesting presentation of the heat pump developed for the Model Y and later implemented on the Model 3, Model S and Model X as well.
As Tesla Vice President of Vehicle Engineering Lars Moravy explains in the clip, the heat pump is essentially an air conditioning system working in reverse. The heat pump draws excess heat from the powertrain to maximize Supercharging speeds and driving range in cold weather.
Tesla vehicles equipped with heat pumps can use heat generated by the battery and drive units to warm the cabin, save energy and improve range on long drives.
As with many aspects of Tesla cars, engineers adopted a unique approach when designing the heat pump. We learn from the video that the company opted for a fresh design when implementing the technology, going through many iterations during a process of trial and error.
Tesla's heat pump features several innovations such as the "super manifold" and the "octo-valve," which help increase the heat pump system's efficiency and integration. For example, in really cold weather, where other heat pumps fall short, Tesla's system can generate its own heat to keep the cabin warm and prioritize power.
Another priority for Tesla when designing the heat pump was to reduce complexity, and the team achieved that by thinking outside the box. For example, engineers needed a new configuration for the coolant loop so they combined two valves into a single valve while at it. Additionally, the adoption of the super manifold enabled Tesla to significantly reduce the number of components.
Ultimately, this made the heat pump easier and more cost-effective to build as well as potentially more reliable since there are fewer components that can break over time.
Watch the video above to learn more about Tesla's heat pump, how engineers arrived at its current configuration, and why they believe it's the best one available on the market today.