Two months ago, we reported in exclusivity about a new program at Tesla called ‘Tesla Glass’. We admitted at the time that we didn’t know much about the program other than its director and the high level of secrecy surrounding it.
But now CEO Elon Musk confirmed that it’s a new “glass technology group” at the automaker and that the new glass technology will be featured in the upcoming Tesla Model 3.
Musk made the clarification during a call with analysts today when discussing how Tesla’s solar roof is different from some of the previous products that have failed in the same segment of the solar industry.
As an example of differentiation, Musk mentioned the new glass used by the company as a layer of its solar roof tiles:
“It is using a lot of techniques used in automotive glass business. In case it wasn’t obvious with the announcement, Tesla has created a glass technology group – with some really phenomenal people.”
He confirmed that the glass was developed by a new technology group at Tesla that focuses on glass development. In a promotional video demonstrating the strength of the glass, Tesla referred to the tile as a ‘Tesla Glass’ tile.
Here’s the video:
The CEO added that the first application of the new glass to make it to Tesla’s automotive products will be in the Model 3.
He followed by saying that producing glass in volume is fairly cheap and that it makes sense to use it extensively. He was referring to Tesla’s new solar tiles, but the Model 3 prototypes unveiled earlier this year also featured a lot of glass:
One of the people Musk is calling “phenomenal” would be Mike Pilliod, who is the director of the Tesla Glass group. As we reported in our original coverage of Tesla Glass, Pilliod was one of Apple’s top materials engineers. He is named on a long list of patents at the Cupertino company, most of them having to do with innovations in glass touchscreens and electronic devices using glass, like the iPhone.
According to the patents, he even worked directly with Jonathan Ive, Apple’s Chief Design Officer.
It will be interesting to see what Tesla’s new “glass technology group” can come up with for the Model 3.