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Major automaker threatens Tesla by buying out its key 'gigacasting' supplier: '[It] provides a competitive advantage'

Things are already heating up in the field.

Things are already heating up in the field.

Photo Credit: TEI

General Motors recently acquired the company that helped Tesla make strides in gigacasting, a process where large body parts for cars are cast in one piece and then assembled to save time and money. 

Tooling & Equipment International formally joined GM on July 1 but has remained its own business entity, Reuters reported in November.

Known as TEI, the company's gigacasting technique uses 3D printing and sand casting to produce large automotive castings that typically combine the car's subframes and platform into one piece, reported the blog GM Authority. This technique can shorten the auto's development cycle to 1.5 to 2 years rather than the more typical 3 to 4 years.

TEI, widely considered one of the world's top sand casting specialists, had previously worked with Tesla starting around 2017 to develop the Model Y, according to Reuters. The company also helped with gigacasting mold prototyping for Tesla's Model 3, Cybertruck, and heavy-duty Semi truck.

GM's acquisition will help the company charge forward in the development of EVs like the Cadillac Celestiq, a car that GM is branding as "the world's first all-electric ultra-luxury sedan." 

In fact, GM and TEI have already worked together to test and produce some underbody castings on the $340,000 Celestiq, which is set to hit showrooms in 2024. TEI won the 2023 Casting of the Year award from the American Foundry Society for its work on the auto, according to Reuters.

Transportation is the biggest contributor to planet-warming pollution in the United States, and the adoption of more EVs is one way to reduce it.

As GM finds ways to produce EVs more efficiently and cost-effectively, it will increase competition and drive more innovation in their manufacture — a win for consumers and the environment. 

Things are already heating up in the field, with China's leading EV manufacturer, BYD, claiming to have the most aerodynamic EV yet — a car that it calls the U6. Meanwhile, an EV startup called Lucid Motors unveiled a luxury EV sports sedan that it hopes will rival the Tesla Model S Plaid.  

Of the recent acquisition, GM said in a statement, quoted by Reuters: "Bringing TEI into the GM enterprise builds on decades of the company's own casting experience and provides a competitive advantage with strategic castings for future low volume products like the Cadillac Celestiq."

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