Tesla Makes Breakthrough in One-Piece Casting for Cars: Report

Tesla has made a breakthrough in one-piece casting for automobile production, according to a report. The company is closing in on an innovation that will allow it to die cast almost the entire complex lower part of an electric car entirely in one piece.

Tesla continues to realize its vision of making cars as easily as toy cars are made. The company was able to combine a number of innovations to make another technological breakthrough, according to a Reuters report citing several people familiar with the matter. This innovation could change the way electric vehicles are produced and help Tesla achieve its goal of cutting production costs in half.

Previously, Tesla, together with the Italian IDRA Group, developed Giga Presses with clamping forces of 6,000 tons and 9,000 tons. Thanks to them, the company can produce the front and rear underbody parts of cars in one piece. The two parts are then joined together by a structural battery pack in the middle, which offers many advantages in both production costs and vehicle design.

Tesla is now closing in on an innovation that will allow it to die cast almost the entire complex underbody of an electric car, five sources said. This means the company will be able to replace about 400 parts used in a typical car with one large part. In fact, this is the principle by which toy cars are made, as Elon Musk previously mentioned. This invention is the basis of the “unboxed” manufacturing strategy introduced in March. It is key to Tesla’s plan to produce tens of millions of cheaper electric vehicles over the next decade while making profit.

Terry Woychowski, president of the US engineering company Caresoft Global, said if Tesla managed to gigacast most of the underbody of a car, “it would further disrupt the way cars are designed and manufactured.”

“It is an enabler on steroids. It has a huge implication for the industry, but it’s a very challenging task,” said Woychowski. “Castings are very difficult to do, especially the bigger and the more complicated.”

Two sources said Tesla’s new design and manufacturing technologies mean the company could develop a car from scratch in 18 to 24 months. This is a big competitive advantage as most competitors can currently take three to four years to complete this process.

All five Reuters’ sources said a single, large frame combining the front and rear parts with the middle underbody where the battery is located could be used in a small Tesla electric vehicle. The company plans to begin production of the new car model at Giga Texas and then expand production at Giga Mexico. If the India plant is built, it will likely also become the production base for a car on the new platform.

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