Tesla is known for quickly adapting to changing environments. From setting up shop in a tent to increase production output to reducing design complexity to maximize profits—success requires the ability to juke around obstacles at a moment's notice. However, not all of these changes are carefully executed, as a recent thread on the Tesla Motors Club forum shows. According to several owners of the all-new Model Y, Tesla has allegedly assembled their cars using what appears to be faux wood trim from a home improvement store.
It all started with a forum post featuring a photo of a Model Y's frunk plastics removed. The original poster of the thread had reportedly spent more than ten hours disassembling their Model Y to correct poor panel fitment when they came across a large chunk of metal secured with green tape and a small strap.
"Someone made a run to Home Depot to make Q2 numbers," jested the thread's original poster.
via Tesla Motors Club | Brown1428
via Tesla Motors Club | CaliX
via Tesla Motors Club | TomServo
Shortly after, a few other posters chimed in with photos of the same part, showing more wood grain and a few plain white mounts as well.
That part you're looking at is the Model Y's Liquid Cooled Condenser (LCC). Its job is essentially that of a heat exchanger, passing refrigerant through a large block where it transfers the thermal properties of the cryogen with other parts of the cooling system. This is just one small sliver of Tesla's unique octavalve cooling system found in the Model Y that is responsible for conditioning the car's cabin, battery, and drive unit simultaneously.
The trim appears to be providing some strain relief for the strap holding the LCC in place, perhaps to keep the tension from providing unnecessary stress on the condenser during vibration or flexing, or to prevent any sharp corners from severing the strap itself. However, it's worth noting that Tesla didn't always use what appears to be akin to in-home molding in this application. In fact, several videos on YouTube show vehicles fitted with a clear plastic part in place of the trim.
Interestingly, Tesla's own parts catalog doesn't show the any such mounting solution found on the various Model Ys in the thread. It's not clear if the part simply isn't documented, or if it was a rapid fix that has remained in production for quite some time.
Veteran auto manufacturing critic Sandy Munro previously looked over a car that contained the white trim option and it wasn't enough for him to criticize the automaker, so it's possible that the part is simply cheap and is working for the job. Still, Model Y owners are raising eyebrows and questioning how trim that appears to be from the shelf of a hardware store somehow ended up under the factory plastics of a $55,000 premium vehicle.