The footage comes from Gigafactory Tesla.
With the Model S Plaid tearing up drag strips across the country, Musk et al have turned their eyes towards the next big thing - Gigafactory Texas. This facility will be the new home of Tesla going forward and will be the production site for the much-anticipated Tesla Cybertruck. We've seen a lot of the development of the Gigafactory documented via various videos, which have showcased advanced-development Cybertruck mules and even seven-seat Model S sedans. But the latest video from December 27 shows us something a little strange in the form of a Tesla Model Y body in white.
An unpainted shell might seem like nothing new, but pay close attention to the fact that this body doesn't have a floor. Typically, a body has to have a floor and structural bracing, and then, in the case of an EV, the battery is mounted to that. Elon Musk has long stated that he wants to move Tesla to a system with integrated structural batteries, and it looks like this could be the first step towards that. With no visible floor, it suggests that a structural battery would form the entire floor of the Model Y, removing the need for extra structural bracing, reducing weight, and simplifying the production process. Essentially, it's like a skateboard platform, but one that vastly improves vehicle stiffness by being an active member of the chassis.
We've seen such tech in cars like the Rimac Nevera, but it hasn't yet gone fully mainstream. Tesla will look to combine this technology with the new 4680 battery cells, creating an integral floor pan/battery combo that will improve range, performance, charge rates, and production efficiency. Tesla has previously hinted that such a structural battery pack will be used to mount items like seats.
The structural battery pack will work hand-in-hand with Tesla's so-called "megacastings" housing all the suspension components and motors in one unit, with this complete unit then mounted to the body.
As for when this updated-spec Model Y will arrive, time will only tell, but perhaps 2023 will be the year it all comes together.