Tesla Ditches Skateboard Platform for Structural Pack

Tesla’s infamous “skateboard” design concept was first seen on the Model S. True to its name, the chassis looks skateboard-like with the battery sitting inside of it freeing up ample space inside the cabin of the vehicle. Beyond that, it also creates a better center of gravity. Since its arrival, we have seen many other carmakers use concepts very similar to the skateboard design in their own electric vehicles.

However, Tesla may be ready to leave the skateboard concept behind considering information revealed recently during the company’s Battery Day event. Information that surfaced during the company’s Q3 2020 earnings call confirmed Tesla is planning on putting its new 4680 battery cells inside vehicle frames using a structural pack.

During the conference call, Jefferies analyst Philippe Houchois asked Elon Musk if Tesla plans to “retire” the skateboard platform, Musk responded by saying in the future the skateboard platform will become “obsolete” but, the transition to the new structural platform is going to take years. “It’s not like existing cars stop having value. It’s just that if you have a structural pack, where the pack is contributing structural value to the car because of like the — sort of like the composite honeycomb effect of share transfer between upper and lower plate, then anything that doesn’t do that is going to have to have duplicate hardware.”

Musk added “It’s going to weigh more. It’s going to cost more. And then the same goes for the front and rear castings. To be frank, we’re trying to make the car like you’d make a toy. If you had a toy model car, how would — and then it’s got to be real cheap and look great, how would you make that? You’ll cast it.”

It will be interesting to see if Tesla’s transition to structural packs will influence other automakers to do the same, as they did when Tesla debuted its skateboard concept.

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