The new Tesla Model Y is equipped with a heat pump to improve its efficiency in colder weather. With the car beginning deliveries starting from today, Tesla has released the owner’s manual and a number of training videos for the Y. This is where we found the information about the heat pump. This seems to be a standard piece of equipment for the model.
The following entry can be found in the “climate control operating tips” section.
“Model Y uses a heat pump to maximize efficiency; therefore, your air conditioning compressor and external fan may run and make noise even when the outside temperature is cold and your vehicle is heating or supercharging.”
With a temperature regulated battery, this means the cold weather won’t have such an effect on the range of the vehicle. Usually, an EV will lose range in the Winter, but some cars can “precondition” their batteries. Also, using the ait heater will use a lot of energy. Therefore, Tesla recommends that you use the heated seat option over heated ventilation due to its being a more efficient way of providing warmth.
The air conditioning uses resistive heating systems that essentially passes air through a resistive heating element. It’s incredibly efficient, but the Model Y goes one step further and uses a heat pump to transfer heat around the vehicle. For example, the fluid could pick up heat from the hot powertrain of the car and via a heat exchanger, use it to heat the air going into the cabin.
This is the first time a Tesla has done such a thing, although other EVs like the Renault Zoe and Mini Cooper SE use this system.