Tesla may consider adopting an 800-volt architecture for the Cybertruck and the Tesla Semi. The comment was related during the company’s recently-held first quarter 2022 earnings call.
While taking questions from shareholders, Tesla executives were asked why the company does not adopt an 800-volt architecture for its cars. Tesla’s rivals like Porsche have adopted such a system for the Taycan. Lucid Motors went even further by adopting a 900-volt architecture for its Air sedan.
According to Tesla, however, adopting an 800-volt architecture could provide little benefits at a great cost. Tesla SVP of Powertrain and Energy Engineering Andrew Baglino noted that the system doesn’t really make sense for vehicles like the Model 3 and Model Y. Musk added that shifting to 800 volts would probably save the company $100 or so, but the cars’ charging infrastructure and the entire vehicle system would have to be changed for it.
“For the smaller platform vehicles like (the Model) 3 and Y, there’s some wins and losses with 800 volts. Not everything is better. And so, we look at that platform, and we’re not like ignoring the reality that you can go to a higher voltage, but there’s nothing really encouraging us to do so on that platform,” Baglino said.
The Tesla SVP clarified that an 800-volt architecture does present some legitimate advantages, but mostly for bigger vehicles. Baglino noted that the architecture makes sense for electric cars that require higher power on charging or more torque. Thus, Tesla is considering adopting an 800-volt architecture for upcoming vehicles like the Cybertruck and the Tesla Semi.
“On bigger vehicles — where you’re talking about higher power on the charging side or higher power from the battery to the power electronics or you need more torque — the current requirements go up. There’s a little bit more semiconductor and actual conductor savings of going to the higher voltage. And so, we do consider that for Semi and Cybertruck. But for the (Model) 3/Y platform where we’ve got everything running, the benefit is questionably small,” Baglino noted.
Tesla’s work on 800-volt architecture would likely not take the spotlight, however, considering that the company is extremely focused on scaling its operations on the back of the Model 3 and Model Y. The company’s dedicated Robotaxi, which Elon Musk noted would have no steering wheels or pedals, would certainly not be adopting an 800-volt architecture. Commenting on the vehicle, Musk stated that there is “basically zero” benefit to using an 800-volt architecture for the dedicated Robotaxi.