The Tesla Model Y may be a compact SUV, but it packs an expansive view of the skies.
On Wednesday, CEO Elon Musk retweeted a video of the car driving the streets of New York City originally posted by the Tesla account on Monday. But if you weren’t aware of one of Tesla’s most eye-catching design choices, you might not realize it’s footage taken from a car at all.
The company first moved toward this design when it launched the Tesla Model S sedan with a panoramic sunroof in 2012. Four years later, Tesla took things a step further with an all-glass roof that removed the supports to create a continuous design.
“I highly recommend the new all-glass roof on the Model S,” Musk wrote in 2016. “This was very hard to develop, but it makes the interior feel amazing.”
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That same year, Musk released the company’s second master plan that outlined its goals to reach a mass market. It included a cheaper sedan called the Model 3, a compact SUV dubbed the Model Y, and a pickup truck. The Model 3 hit roads in July 2017 and the Model Y in March 2020.
Despite their cheaper price points, Tesla retained the all-glass roof for the Model 3 and Y. The video shows how the feature can make the views above seem incredible:
The video was taken by a Twitter user with the name “Virus_City.” In response to their new-found fame, the user wrote:
“Hello to everyone new and clicking on my profile lol, I do own a Tesla Model 3, and a ‘97 Miata for fun. I also fly airplanes, which is pretty cool! Just got back from my first trip to NYC which is when I took that video.”
A preview Tesla video showed how the Model Y roof looked under the clouds:
It’s not the first car to feature a glass roof — in fact, the Jaguar I-Pace rival electric vehicle also features a glass roof, similar to other vehicles in the company’s lineup:
Tesla glass roof: How does it work?
In September, Tesla released a video explaining how it develops its glass:
The video explains that Tesla has to curve the glass to the correct size for every piece used in the vehicle.
To reduce external noise, Tesla uses acoustic laminated glass. This is effectively a sandwich, where an acoustic dampening layer is sandwiched between two panes of glass.
For the roof, Tesla uses a two percent tint to reduce glare from the Sun. That’s combined with various films, used for reflecting solar radiation, and a polyvinyl butyral that helps with achieving better solar and acoustic reduction. The roof absorbs 99 percent of the ultraviolet radiation coming in.
Another area of focus is on the windshield. As the windshield covers a front-facing camera used for Tesla’s semi-autonomous Autopilot mode, the glass effectively acts as a camera lens. That means the team has to test for distortion to ensure a clear view for the camera.
Despite the glass roof, Tesla claims the Model 3 can withstand four times its own mass in roof crush tests.
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