Viewers of Tesla’s 2023 Investor Day stream are hoping for more details about upcoming Cybertruck or a glimpse of the rumored Model 2 left disappointed. However, the electric automaker has made details about how it will be the next-generation vehicle platform and electric motor, which promises to be more efficient and more affordable.
The car’s powertrain designers used in-house developed software to simulate the interaction between the magnetic fields between the stator and the rotor, optimizing cost, weight and size and the sound of the de -electric motor through rapid iterative design. They also work with Tesla’s manufacturing engineers to make similar optimizations in the manufacturing process and materials.
Tesla says the next-generation powertrain will require 75% less silicon carbide to manufacture, without any compromises in performance or efficiency. Despite the new drive unit being a permanent magnet design, Tesla also says it will require zero rare earth materials. It will be more production-efficient, requiring 50% less factory floor space than Model Y motor, and around $1,000 less expensive per unit to produce, which is significant considering that vehicles built on this platform are expected to be the cheapest Tesla EVs.
The new platform will be compatible with any battery chemistry and will use new production methods to speed up manufacturing. Tesla says the lessons it learned the hard way during its development always delayed Cybertruck inspired it to rethink the assembly line of the tradition series. Instead of the car’s unibody chassis moving in a line as a whole, the parts of the new model (sides, doors, floor, front and rear subframes) will be assembled in parallel lines, which only join the end of the line.
Tesla says this “unboxed process” is more efficient, cost-effective and less prone to creating bottlenecks. The last part is especially important if Tesla wants to hit the goal of producing 20 million EVs a year by 2030.
In addition to the high-voltage powertrain, the automaker is also rethinking the low-voltage power system, redesigning and reducing the wire harnesses that serve as the vehicle’s nervous system. It operates from 12 volts to 48-volt architecture that (thanks to Ohm’s law) enables lower current, smaller wires and components with smaller heat sinks, all of which help to weight saving. Next, instead of a complex network of analog harnesses, Tesla switched to a network of small controllers – also designed and built in-house – connected by ethernet to the car’s powerful central brain. This greatly reduces the number of wires snaking around the body and, thanks to bidirectional communication, simplifies diagnostics and debugging.
Neither Musk nor other Tesla leaders who presented at the investor day commented on a timeline for the expected deployment of the next-generation platform, powertrain or the car that will eventually host it.