In a patent application reported on by Road and Track, the automaker describes a very different way to power wipers. Instead of using simple recirculating electric motors, Tesla’s design mounts the wiper arms to electromagnetic guide rails that can operate more efficiently thanks to reduced friction and allows the wipers to cover more of the window by creating an altered sweep.
As with many patents, there’s no indication as to when or if the design will make it into production, but the description mentions how increasingly complex glass shapes will require new solutions.
For instance, a prototype for Tesla’s upcoming Roadster sports car was equipped with a single large blade attached to a central pivot point via two arms that appear to provide it with a complex sweeping motion. However, it doesn’t appear to be able to stow away, which would likely be a detriment to the vehicle’s aerodynamics, while the electromagnetic setup is designed to hide away under bodywork when not in use.