The Model Y made at Giga Texas will differ in several ways from the Fremont and Giga Shanghai versions: to begin with, its front frame will be made from a large casting, a solution used so far only in the rear frame of the electric SUV. This advance alone should highly reduce the weight of the vehicle; however, the key feature will be the use of structural batteries, which should allow Tesla to improve the autonomy of its vehicles by 14%, reducing weight by 10% and increasing the rigidity of the monocoque chassis, while at the same time simplifying the entire production process (as around 370 fewer parts will be used).
Tesla Model Y standard range could be brought back to the U.S. from Giga Texas as reports of approved standard range Model Y show up:https://t.co/KOzk7Lq2ys$TSLA @Tesla @torquenewsauto #ModelY pic.twitter.com/vSTRrTVELt— Jeremy Noel Johnson (@AGuyOnlineHere) March 13, 2022
In addition, the Giga Texas Model Y will also feature the new 4680 cells, a format that according to calculations made by Tesla will lead to a 16% range improvement and a 14% reduction in costs, as the company patented a "tabless electrode" design that basically doesn't need to use the tabs that connect the electrodes to the housing terminals; hence the name "tabless".
Tesla in fact already announced that all Model 3 and Model Y “Standard Range” would have LFP (Lithium Iron-Phosphate) batteries: despite the fact that all the above-mentioned numbers and percentages were shared by Tesla more than a year and a half ago, the truth is that up until now the key specifications of the Model Y with the entire package of technical improvements were unknown. That is why many people have been surprised to see the ranges stated for the new version on the official EPA website: 280 miles per charge.
The new Model Y from Giga Texas is called the "Model Y AWD", and has 279 mile range.That means it's a new variant. All the variants are now:Model Y RWDModel Y AWDModel Y AWD Long rangeModel Y AWD Performance https://t.co/t40eLcYREz— the king - RGTD (@RlyGudTechDeals) March 13, 2022
Let us remember that the Model Y Long Range AWD and the Performance model produced in Fremont announced 330 and 303 miles EPA, respectively. It is interesting to note that the new model has been called simply Model Y AWD, which clearly indicates that it features all-wheel drive capabilities, just like its brother models.
How is it possible that, despite having structural batteries and 4680 format cells, the Giga Texas Model Y would achieve lower ranges than its Fremont brothers? In the absence of any official confirmation, everything seems to indicate that this is due to the use of LFP (lithium iron phosphate) cells, a chemical with a lower energy density than the NCA (nickel, cobalt, aluminum) of the Tesla Fremont models, but which are at the same time notably more affordable and longer lasting. Therefore, the Model Y AWD will become the entry-access variant of the electric SUV until the arrival of the hypothetical Model Y RWD, which will dispense with all-wheel drive.
All images courtesy of Tesla Inc.
Nico Caballero is the VP of Finance of Cogency Power, specializing in solar energy. He also holds a Diploma in Electric Cars from Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands, and enjoys doing research about Tesla and EV batteries. He can be reached at @NicoTorqueNews on Twitter. Nico covers Tesla and electric vehicle latest happenings at Torque News.