How The Tesla Model Y Will Deliver Awesome Range Even In Winter

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No previous Tesla model has had this range-saving feature.

If you know anything about the compromises of EV ownership, you know that cold weather range is a real concern. Batteries don't care for cold weather, and if you're a red-blooded human being, chances are you're going to want to have the heat on. Since pure-electric vehicles lack an internal combustion engine to generate waste heat, EV cabin heat typically comes from electric heating elements - another drain on the battery.

The Tesla Model Y addresses part of this problem head-on with the company's first-ever heat pump, which will help keep the new electric crossover cabin warm without relying on resistive heating elements.

2020 Tesla Model Y Front View Tesla
2020 Tesla Model Y Rear View Tesla

Tesla fan Andy Slye put together a YouTube video about the Model Y's new heat pump, providing a good explanation of how the system works. Basically, a heat pump like the one used here relies on the vehicle's air-conditioning system, pumping in reverse and using its refrigerant to capture heat from the atmosphere in order to warm up the cabin.

Naturally, the system adds a bit of complexity; pumping the A/C refrigerant in reverse requires a reversing valve, among other things. But we tend to think the trade-offs will be more than worth it when the temperature dips next winter.

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2020 Tesla Model Y Front View Tesla
2020 Tesla Model Y Interior in White Tesla
2020 Tesla Model Y Maximum Cargo Space Tesla

As it stands, depending on how cold it is outside, battery-electric vehicles can lose up to about half of their maximum range in frigid temperatures. While the Tesla Model Y's heat pump won't reduce that to zero, it should make a significant dent in the amount of range lost by operating far more efficiently than a resistive heating system.

In fact, according to Andy Slye, heat pump systems like the one in the Model Y can achieve up to around 300% efficiency, in the sense that 1 kW of electrical energy can typically yield about 3 kW of thermal energy.

With that, Tesla drivers soon might not even need to drive from underneath a blanket. How cool is that?

2020 Tesla Model Y Front View Tesla
2020 Tesla Model Y Side View Tesla

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