Tesla is known for its unconventional approach to manufacturing and design, and the company’s latest move could revolutionize the production process for its electric vehicles (EVs). According to a recent Reuters report, Tesla is considering die-casting nearly the entire underbody of its vehicles as a singular piece, reducing the need for the 400 parts typically required for conventional cars. If successful, this could have a significant impact on the automotive industry as a whole.
Die-casting involves injecting molten metal into a mold and then cooling, ejecting, and trimming the final product. Tesla already uses a similar process called “gigacasting,” where the front and back ends of its Model Y are cast as whole sections. This method has helped the company reduce costs and streamline production.
In addition to gigacasting, Tesla has also developed a new aluminum alloy that eliminates the need for heat treatment to increase the strength of cast parts. While Tesla has faced criticism for quality control issues in the past, industry experts believe the company’s innovative manufacturing techniques have been successful overall.
Other automakers, including Toyota, Hyundai, and Volvo, have taken notice of Tesla’s approach and have expressed interest in exploring similar manufacturing methods. However, large-scale die-casting presents its challenges, as a single flaw can compromise the entire piece. Nevertheless, using die-casting machines, such as Tesla’s gigapress, can help preserve profit margins by streamlining the process.
Cost reduction is a significant factor driving Tesla’s focus on die-casting. The company claims to have reduced costs by 40% by using gigapresses on its popular Model Y. This cost-saving potential has caught the attention of other automakers, such as Toyota, known for its efficient manufacturing processes.
While die-casting at this scale is still relatively new and has much to prove, automakers are closely watching Tesla’s progress. The ability to reduce manufacturing costs in a repeatable manner is highly desirable in the industry. This development has the potential to shape the future of automotive manufacturing as companies strive to balance cost-effectiveness with quality.
– Ed Kim, President and Chief Analyst for AutoPacific