Tesla’s Latest Move: Revolutionizing Car Manufacturing with Die-Casting

Tesla is known for its unconventional approach to manufacturing, design, and sales. According to a recent Reuters story, the electric vehicle (EV) giant is now looking to revolutionize the production of its EVs by using die-casting technology. Die-casting involves creating whole sections of a car as singular pieces, rather than assembling multiple parts together. If successful, this move could “further disrupt the way cars are designed and manufactured,” as Reuters puts it.

Tesla already uses gigacasting, which involves casting the front and back ends of its Model Y as whole sections. The company’s next step is to die-cast nearly the entire underbody of the vehicle as a singular piece, reducing the number of parts needed from 400 to just one. This has the potential to significantly streamline the manufacturing process.

Die-casting works by injecting molten metal into a mold, cooling it, and then ejecting and trimming the finished piece. Tesla has been using aluminum die-casting machines, called gigapresses, at its factories in the US, Germany, and China. In addition, Tesla has developed a special aluminum alloy that eliminates the need for heat treatment, which increases the strength of the cast part.

While Tesla has faced criticism for quality control issues, particularly in terms of fit and finish, the company has been praised for its innovative manufacturing techniques. Other automakers, including Toyota, Hyundai, and Volvo, have taken note and have pledged to explore similar manufacturing avenues.

One of the main advantages of die-casting is cost reduction. Tesla claims to have cut costs by 40% by using gigapresses for the Model Y. This has sparked interest from Toyota, known for its emphasis on efficient manufacturing and cost reduction. American automakers, facing cost and revenue challenges, may also consider adopting die-casting methods.

Tesla’s ability to use gigapresses on the Model Y has allowed them to slash prices and put their competition on the defensive. However, die-casting in this manner is technically challenging and costly to implement, which is why not every automaker is adopting it immediately. The industry is closely watching Tesla’s success with die-casting, as reducing manufacturing costs in a repeatable manner is a goal for all automakers.

Title: Tesla’s Revolutionary Approach: Die-Casting for Efficient Car Manufacturing
– Reuters (source article)
– Ed Kim, President and Chief Analyst for AutoPacific