Tesla is no stranger to innovation, and even its existing technologies are not out of bounds regarding revolutionary improvements.
The company’s “gigapress” has already been allowing for cost reductions in the construction of its Model Y, with the rear of the vehicle being built in its Shanghai plant using this process from 2020 and allowing for 40% cheaper manufacturing.
“Gigacasting” is achieved with a machine that presses molten aluminum into a mold, which is then cooled and released to form a fully constructed car part.
World’s biggest die casting machine pic.twitter.com/MegnFPKQfh— Tesla (@Tesla) February 5, 2021
Tesla’s innovation in what would seem to be a fairly achievable press and mold system has come with the creation of an aluminum alloy that doesn’t require the kind of heat treating that would be needed to make the finished product stronger, according to Reuters.
Other electric carmakers have taken notice, with Shanghai Securities News, via Reuters, reporting that Xpeng and Zeekr are looking to adopt gigacasting in their own vehicle construction processes.
Sources told Reuters that gigapressing, as part of Tesla’s “unboxed” manufacturing strategy to build cars more efficiently and cheaply, could help the brand build cars from the ground up in 18 to 24 months, as opposed to three to four years other rivals would need.
The president of American engineering company Caresoft Global, Terry Woychowski, stated that gigapressing could change the face of automotive construction as we know it, even if the process is tricky.
“It is an enabler on steroids,” he said. “It has a huge implication for the industry, but it’s a very challenging task. Castings are very hard to do, especially the bigger and the more complicated.”
Tesla is seeking to launch a small electric vehicle in the $25,000 price range, and gigacasting is key to achieving this.
Affordable electric cars will be a huge benefit in the take-up of zero-tailpipe-emission vehicles. According to the 2023 Global Automotive Consumer study from Deloitte, with findings passed on by Green Car Reports, 52% of respondents said cost was the biggest concern surrounding purchasing an electric vehicle.
Bringing an affordable EV to the market will therefore provide a boost in taking more dirty fuel–powered vehicles off the nation’s roads.
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