This new production tool which will allow Tesla to cut (a little more) prices

Mathilde Rochefort

September 18, 2023 at 11:00 a.m.


Gigafactory Tesla Berlin © © Tesla

© Tesla

Tesla is close to finalizing a new die-casting process that could drastically reduce its production costs. If it succeeds, Elon Musk’s firm would simplify vehicle manufacturing beyond the capabilities of the rest of the automotive industry.

In March, Tesla’s CEO unveiled a manufacturing strategy to halve the manufacturing costs of its electric vehicles. Its new process is at the heart of this project. It aims to produce almost the entire complex subframe structure of a car in one piece, rather than in around 400 separate parts as is the case with conventional vehicles. The impact on production costs is significant.

New casting process

The manufacturer already uses the “ gigacasting » for the production of its Model Y. Highly efficient and profitable, it involves a unique use of massive presses at very high pressure which can mold both the front and rear parts of the vehicle. He now wants to apply his new method to even larger parts, notably for the manufacture of his next $25,000 electric car, the Model 2.

Based on a combination of 3D printing and industrial sand, it changes the mold manufacturing process. While creating molten metal molds can cost millions to make simple modifications, explaining why most automakers avoid this option, Tesla chose a new approach. With the sand, the company builds the mold layer by layer, making it easier to modify later.

The firm should be able to cast an entire underbody in one piece, instead of two or more with the current process. She plans to do it in one gigacasting using a new mold that contains 3D printed solid sand cores. After casting, the sand is removed, leaving the same hollow chassis without the need to weld the parts together.

Tesla Model Y production in Shanghai © Tesla

© Tesla

Still challenges to overcome

The company still faces some challenges to be able to exploit its process. For example, it must acquire “ gigapresses » more powerful and larger, requiring adequate installation space. These are huge aluminum die-casting machines made specifically for Tesla, the originator of the gigacasting method. It must also solve the problem of high pressure which may not be suitable for the 3D printed sand core technique.

If the manufacturer manages to democratize its method in its factories, this would allow it to greatly accelerate the production of its electric vehicles, and to take a big lead over the rest of the industry. While waiting to learn more, Tesla recently presented its new Model 3.

Source : Reuters

Source link -99