Tesla makes cars, batteries, home energy storage systems, and solar roofs. So what’s next? Glass. In a call with investment analysts earlier this week, CEO Elon Musk said a Tesla glass technology group is making a new type of glass that will be used in the Tesla Model 3, as reported by Electrek.
During the call, Musk was explaining the advantages of Tesla’s solar roof when he talked about the glass layer in the roof tiles. “It is using a lot of techniques used in [the] automotive glass business,” he said. “In case it wasn’t obvious with the announcement, Tesla has created a glass technology group — with some really phenomenal people.”
Called “Tesla Glass” tile in a video that demonstrated the strength of the new glass compared to terra cotta, clay, and slate tiles. In a slow-motion video, four kettlebells are dropped from what appears to be about four feet above the tiles. The other tiles all shatter but the Tesla Glass Tile stays intact — you can see a white mark on the tile, but it does not break.
Musk said that the first automotive application of Tesla Glass will be the Model 3, scheduled to start production in mid-2017 with first deliveries in the fall. The Model 3 has a lot of glass — it’s not clear if all the glass in the car will be Tesla Glass, but apparently the component cost won’t be an issue, and not just because it will be produced in house.
When he was talking about the solar tiles, Musk said it’s fairly inexpensive to produce glass in volume and therefore extensive application makes sense.
As Electrek reported, one of the Tesla Glass Technology group’s “really phenomenal” people is director Mike Pillod. Formerly one of Apple’s top materials engineers, Pillod was involved in many Apple patents for glass touch screens and electronic devices that use glass, such as the iPhone.
In addition to Tesla Glass applications in future Tesla vehicles and solar tiles, it’s a sure bet Tesla has other potential uses in mind and possibly in their R&D labs.