Tesla Will Build Two New Models on Its Next-Gen Platform, Here Are the Juicy Bits

Tesla will build two new models on its next-gen platform, here are the juicy bits 6 photos
Photo: Tesla | Edited
Tesla will build two new models on its next-gen platform, here are the juicy bitsTesla will build two new models on its next-gen platform, here are the juicy bitsTesla will build two new models on its next-gen platform, here are the juicy bitsTesla will build two new models on its next-gen platform, here are the juicy bitsTesla will build two new models on its next-gen platform, here are the juicy bits
Tesla promised to offer details about its next-generation automotive platform during Investor Day, and it did so while leaving people with the impression that it didn’t. We’re scavenging through many bits of information to offer you the juicy details of Tesla’s next-gen platform. We’ll have to wait longer for facts about the actual cars, as Tesla promised to spill the beans in a dedicated event later.
We’re sure many people wanted to hear about Tesla’s upcoming vehicles during Investor Day on March 1. Elon Musk and his team deflected the questions about the new models, saying it would offer more details in a dedicated event when Tesla feels ready to do so. While some might’ve been disappointed, others have used whatever information Tesla packed into the slides and found out there’s still a lot to discuss.

We’ll start with the obvious: the two car silhouettes in the presentation slides. One is significantly larger than the other, although not as large as the Cybertruck pictured next to it. If Tesla kept the proportions right, it would suggest a pretty big vehicle, which looks like a van or a large SUV. Tesla predicts it to be a volume vehicle, with a 300-million production run, close to Model 3/Model Y (380 million). It could be a little far-fetched, but it could also be the first time we see the silhouette of the long-promised robovan.

The other car in the picture should sell 700 million units, or twice as many as the Gen-2 vehicles, making a case for a truly affordable EV. Leaving aside the fact that there are 1.4 billion vehicles pictured in one slide, Tesla thinks this is what it takes to get to full sustainability on a global scale. The smaller car is arguably the most interesting product that Tesla is working on, using its next-generation automotive platform. We don’t have more details about those two vehicles, but Tesla was generous in sharing the improvements it plans to reach that global-scale sustainability.

There are many small optimizations in vehicle development, and Tesla is an expert at oversimplifying and streamlining. Still, we’ll start with the jaw-dropping detail that Tesla plans to phase out the 12-volt low-voltage system and switch to 48 volts across its entire lineup. This would allow Tesla to achieve huge economies while offering improved performance. Tesla likens the change to the transition from 6-volt to 12-volt electrical systems in cars during the 1960s.

The Cybertruck will be Tesla’s first vehicle to feature a 48-volt electrical system. The move is prompted by an exponential increase in the current consumption of modern cars to more than 200 amps. This requires thick cables to support such a high current, driving up costs and increasing vehicle weight and complexity. With a 48-volt electrical system, the max current drops to around 60 amps, allowing much thinner cables to be used. This means 16 times fewer power losses, smaller e-fuses, smaller heatsinks, and so on.

The wiring harness can be further simplified by using several local controllers instead of running long cables across the car to reach one controller. The controllers are then interconnected using ethernet. This design has eliminated most of the cross-car wires in the Cybertruck. With the next-gen platform, they will all be removed.

Another critical component that will significantly change is the drive motors and power electronics. Tesla’s next-gen platform will use 75% fewer Silicone carbide transistors and no rare-earth materials in the motors. The drive motors will still be permanent-magnet electric motors but without rare-earth materials. This will allow Tesla to dodge supply chain problems and produce most car components in the U.S. without needing China-sourced materials. The electric motors will also use hairpin stator technology, allowing them to be built smaller while delivering more torque.

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About the author: Cristian Agatie
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After his childhood dream of becoming a "tractor operator" didn't pan out, Cristian turned to journalism, first in print and later moving to online media. His top interests are electric vehicles and new energy solutions.
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