A Quiet Breakthrough by Tesla Transforms the Automotive Industry
Tesla (TSLA.O) has combined innovative methods to achieve a technological breakthrough that may revolutionize electric vehicle manufacturing, aiming to halve production costs, as reported by informed sources to Norihiko Shirouzu, Reuters.
The company utilized massive presses with high clamping pressure in a "gigacasting" process to mold Model Y's front and rear structures, significantly reducing production expenses and outpacing competitors.
Tesla is now approaching a new innovation allowing them to die cast a majority of the intricate underbody of an electric vehicle as a single piece, contrasting with around 400 parts in traditional cars.
This advancement aligns with Tesla's "unboxed" manufacturing strategy, a crucial aspect of CEO Elon Musk's plan to produce millions of affordable EVs in the next decade while maintaining profitability.
Tesla's innovative unboxed manufacturing model involves creating large sub-assemblies of a car and assembling them together, although specifics about the modular blocks are uncertain.
Terry Woychowski, President of Caresoft Global, highlighted the potential disruption if Tesla gigacasts a significant portion of an electric vehicle's underbody.
"It is an enabler on steroids. It has a huge implication for the industry, but it's a very challenging task," said Woychowski, who worked for U.S. automaker GM (GM.N) for more than three decades. "Castings are very hard to do, especially the bigger and the more complicated."
This previously undisclosed approach could enable Tesla to develop a car within 18 to 24 months, significantly outpacing traditional rivals, who typically require three to four years for a similar endeavor.
Sources suggest that Tesla is considering using a single large frame for its upcoming affordable electric vehicle (EV) priced at $25,000.
This frame would integrate the front and rear sections with the central underbody housing the battery.
The decision on whether to implement this die-cast platform is anticipated to be made by Tesla soon, potentially within this month. However, it's noted that the final product may still undergo changes during the design validation process.