The upgrade of the production lines of the Tesla Gigafactory in Shanghai now shows the first tangible improvement on the Model Y that is manufactured there. It’s about a new airbag that mounts on the driver’s seat back that avoids the injuries that the driver and his passenger sitting in the front seat may suffer from hitting each other in the event of a side collision. The airbag configuration between the Tesla Model Y that is made in Shanghai, the one that is made in the United States and, now, the one that comes off the production lines in Berlin, are somewhat different as a result of the different conditions established by the security tests.
Tesla has announced this update of the Model Y through its Weibo page, clarifying that the media is aimed at increase occupant safety In case of an accident. The new airbag is mounted on the inside right of the driver’s seat and prevents bodycheck type collisions between the front passengers in the event of a side impact, enveloping the driver together with the airbag on the left side of his seat, the curtain airbag and the front airbag located in the steering wheel.
According to Euro NCAP, around a quarter of road traffic injuries are due to side-on collisions and half of occupant injuries are from opposite-side collisions, which have a high probability of being very serious. In 2020, Euro NCAP added for the first time the safety of occupants on the opposite side of the measurement criteria to quantify the level of security and award its famous stars. With the addition of this airbag in the Model Y made in China, it has a total of seven airbags.
Interestingly, the instruction manual of the Berlin Model Y indicates that “vehicles are equipped with an airbag on both sides of the driver’s seat”, the same ones that have now been included in China’s. However the Tesla Model Y that is currently manufactured in the United States, at the Austin Gigafactory in Texas has a different configuration of airbags. They are not currently equipped with this new airbag which has been included in China, although they do have knee airbags and a right front one that are not assembled in Shanghai, always as indicated in the owner’s manual.
These differences could be caused by the different crash test safety requirements in each region, or it may simply be the result of upgrades to the production lines that now make it possible to fit an additional side airbag as is the case in Berlin. This could mean that they could also reach the Tesla factory in the United States.
The inclusion of this new airbag is part of the update of the production line of the Tesla Model Y in Shanghai. On July 22, the Chinese local media Auto Time reported that Tesla had upgraded all of its production lines in Shanghai. Specifically, the Model Y ended on July 16 and the Model 3 started on July 17 with an expected completion date of August 7. Therefore, the employees of the Tesla production line of the first phase of the plant have been on leave since July 17 and will return to work from August 8.
This technical stoppage has been reflected in Tesla’s sales figures during the month of July, in which they reached 28,217 units, 64.24% less than in June (78,906 units) and 14.41% less than the same month last year (32,968 units), according to data released today by the China Passenger Car Association.
Tesla China exported 19,756 vehicles in July, which means 8,461 vehicles were delivered to local consumers. As for delivery times, Tesla has managed to reduce those of the base Model Y by two weeks, but has delayed those of the Model 3 Performance and Model Y Performance by four.