Meet the maker of the Tesla Model X’s “Big Sky” panoramic windshield

Model X windshield

Since its unveiling, the Model X wowed quite a few people with its all-glass panoramic windshield, which Tesla claims is the largest in production. Even though Tesla manufactures a surprising number of components in-house, the company doesn’t make its own glass parts, as it would be expected.

The automaker tipped Peru-based speciality glass maker AGP to make the windshield, which Tesla calls “Big Sky”.

Consequently, Tesla became one of AGP’s biggest clients. The company built a new state-of-the-art facility in Lima, Peru, where it now manufactures the new windshield. The company started operation at the new plant last summer, around the same time Tesla launched the Model X.

AGP describes the new production line at its new facility:

“As of summer 2015, AGP has the ability to make even larger glass with more complex curvatures than previous capabilities, which were already some of the highest in the industry. Our new moving line boasts one of the largest bending furnaces in the industry with the latest automation in robotics and glass processing equipment. This new production line not only allows for the production of complex shapes, but gives AGP the ability to do them at OEM production volumes.”

And volume production is well on its way as you can see:

AGP 6

The company also claims a focus on the latest in lightweight technology, which they point out is especially important to the electric and hybrid carmakers where less weight means more mileage achieved on a single charge.

AGP was founded in 1965 and over the years developed an expertise in laminated glass, and especially bullet resistant laminated glass. It eventually entered the market of replacement glass and only relatively recently started supplying glass to OEMs like Tesla.

Astra GTC “panorama” model

Interestingly, the company was involved in the development of the Opel Astra GTC’s “panorama” windshield option (see on the right), which is probably the closest thing to the Model X’s panoramic windshield.

Much like the glass going all the way up above the driver and front passenger to the Falcon Wing doors on the Model X, the Astra GTC’s windshield goes all the way to the glass top.

The design offers an unparalleled obstruction-free view, but it required Tesla to develop a relatively complex sun-visor system, which remains tucked in the side when not in-use. The system is visible on the featured image above.

Tesla managed to overcome the sun-visor problem, but another possible drawback could be the cost of replacement in case of an accident, which is still unknown.

In the meantime, it’s interesting to see suppliers grow with Tesla. AGP’s new factory is certainly worth a look. It has a minimalist and somewhat futuristic design. Design Boom visited the plant last week for a feature – visit the site for the full gallery:

Picture: featured image from Tesla, AGP plant by Juan Solano + Nicolas Villaume via Design Boom.

 

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Comments

  1. majerus - 7 years ago

    Impressive looking factory. With Model S windsheild being right around 1100 I would be Model X will be much more.

  2. Elon - 7 years ago

    Stop it, you’ll go blind!

    FA – please let us know which SC location you go to. We should keep track of SC locations and response. Got my invoice this morning from Fremont SC:

    “Concern: Customer states: windshield duplicates tail light / headlight images that makes driving very distracting. All over the front windshield this is visible. Pictures attached. Inspect and advise.

    Corrections: Windshield, Liftgate & Body Glass General Diagnosis

    Conclusion: No Trouble Found Could not replicate customers concern at this time. Compared with sales vehicle of same year, and also could not replicate concern.”

    Their quoted Conclusion above was not inline with the service manager saying we saw it in both 2016’s viewed, but it is inline with the “nothing we can do when it is a feature of all the windshields”.

    It was fun sitting in the car with them seeing the duplicated Tesla taillights in the distance and the Tesla folks saying “Nope I don’t see it…” with me sitting next to them practically yelling “you’ve got to be kidding me…” Wonderful how even with the pictures they can just deny, deny, deny. I left telling them to take the loaner 2016 out for an overnight drive and tell me what they think. They were not interested in that, and it’s also lovely that they “close and open when its not dark, so we can’t see it at night with you”. So daylight savings is making a difference? It appears the company line is going to be the Toyota Prius approach. They are not going to do anything unless it gets the NHTSA to issue a recall, and i don’t think that happened to Toyota.

    Good luck everyone. Speaking as a silicon valley attorney who works for sales and procurement, this is going to be very interesting.

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Avatar for Fred Lambert Fred Lambert

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