The Tesla Model Y is the Austin-based company’s best-selling model and, probably more importantly, the world’s best-selling car in the first quarter of this year, with 267,200 units of the electric crossover sold across the globe.
With such a successful product on its hands, Tesla must have done something right – be it from a word-of-mouth marketing point of view or an engineering standpoint – the Model Y couldn’t have been sold in such vast numbers if it was a bad car.
And here is where the video embedded above comes into play, where the firm’s vice president of vehicle engineering, Lars Moravy, explains in short what went into making the crossover EV such a big hit.
Gallery: 2021 Tesla Model Y
Titled “Engineering From First Principles,” the two and a half minutes-long video mentions how a lot of people love crossovers, and for the right reasons, like storage space and utility. But for the Model Y, the notion of a traditional crossover SUV was blown up.
So it got a so-called Off-Road Mode that takes advantage of the vehicle’s torque vectoring system to apply braking to a wheel that doesn’t have traction, helping the car move forward off the beaten track. With this being said, the Model Y isn’t exactly the first car that comes to mind when thinking about going off-roading, but still, it’s nice to know that the technical capability is there.
Moravy goes on to say that at Tesla, they always use the first principles approach to come up with innovative solutions to simple problems.
“You don’t get to say, well, we’ve done that for 50 years, so that’s the way we’re going to do it for the next 50, You have to prove everything you’re doing from the ground up, with, you know, first principles of physics and mechanics. Really, that’s our boundary – what does physics say is the envelope? That’s as far as we’ll take things.”
This applies to the cost-cutting and time-saving metal casting for the rear portion of the vehicle. But as Lars Moravy puts it, the problem with making huge pieces of aluminium is that they warp when being heat treated.
The solution was to invent a new alloy that can achieve high levels of strength and durability without needing to be heat treated with giant ovens. And more importantly, they stay straight.