Recently leaked photos of the China-made Model Y show that they are being produced with a single-piece rear casting underbody. A detailed photo gives us the opportunity to look at this part well and appreciate the true advantages of this technology.
The structure of a car is a critical component of its efficiency and performance. This is why Tesla is deeply focused on continuing to enhance its vehicles' structure. During Battery Day, the company announced that it will improve the design of its vehicles using a new battery architecture and a truly radical approach to manufacturing car parts.
To enhance the Model Y, Tesla created a giant casting machine that is able to produce the rear underbody frame of a car in one piece. This manufacturing process reduced the number of parts, and reduced manufacturing costs by 40%.
The first photo of a single-piece rear cast shows that the part was made very neatly, and it fits perfectly into the architecture of the car. We no longer see a lot of extra bolts, rivets and welds that not only spoil the aesthetic, but also create additional costs, weight, and production waste.
Source: Photo: Xiaote
Model Y is the first Tesla car to use the single-piece rear casting underbody. For example, to produce the rear underbody of Model 3, the company uses 70 parts. The rear body of the vehicle is strong enough to carry a payload. But at the same time, assembled from many parts and fastening elements, it also has a lot of weight.
Model 3 rear underbody:
The one-piece forming process provides an improved modular design with a high degree of integration. This increases the area of action of the collision avoidance beam, thereby improving body performance. Crash safety is improved by over 20%.
This design will also increase battery life. The base weight at the rear aspect of the vehicle will be about 30% lighter than before. This increases the range of the vehicle.
In addition, this production process is more environmentally friendly and energy efficient. Traditional stamping results in a large amount of scrap residual, while with the Giga Press, 100% of the raw material is used. This results in resource and energy savings in terms of production, and is in line with Tesla's environmental values.
To make this possible, Tesla had to develop its own aluminum alloy. The company aimed to create a high-strength casting alloy that does not require coating or heat treatment. This is a big deal, as it is a very difficult feat in casting—especially for large, cast body parts. Up to this point, there was no alloy in the world that could satisfy Tesla's requirements. Therefore, its creation is a phenomenal achievement of the company's materials team.
Tesla continues to improve the manufacturing process at all stages, from developing its own alloys to upgrading its factories. This results in the company being able to produce higher-quality vehicles with lower production costs. And ultimately, all of these benefits trickle down to the consumer.
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About the Author
Eva Fox joined Tesmanian in 2019 to cover breaking news as an automotive journalist. The main topics that she covers are clean energy and electric vehicles. As a journalist, Eva is specialized in Tesla and topics related to the work and development of the company.