Tesla intends to start producing Model 3 and other new models using rear single-piece casts. The company said that in order to obtain alloys for this, they are going to recycle casting aluminum wheels from legacy gasoline cars. Finally, polluting cars can be of some real use in stopping climate change.
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 Model Y, Tesla created a giant casting machine that is able to produce the rear underbody frame of the car in one piece. This manufacturing process reduced the number of parts and reduced manufacturing costs by 40%.
Tesla is the only manufacturer in the industry that uses this approach to manufacture this body part. Single-piece casts give the manufacturer a huge competitive advantage, both in the manufacturing process and in the cars themselves.
The one-piece casting 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%. Now, the base weight is lighter than before. 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.
During the Q1 2022 Earnings Call, Senior Vice President, Powertrain and Energy Engineering at Tesla, Andrew Baglino, revealed that Tesla is going to recycle cast aluminum wheels from legacy gasoline vehicles. In fact, they will be putting them into the aluminum melting pot, casting single-piece casts for Model Y, and will likely take this approach to its other car models as well. This approach allows them to get rid of the scrap that pollutes our planet and use it for useful purposes, to create something that will help clean it up.
"And so, we can take both, scrap from the casting machine and the gating that comes out and put that -- just really pass that back into the melting -- aluminum melting pot. And then, as Elon was saying, also take any stampings and any other aluminum scrap and also through that in the melting pot, matter of fact, we’ve also figured out that we can use wheels from practically any car. Yes, yes. So, we’re going to be recycling the casting aluminum wheels from legacy gasoline cars as well and throwing that in the melting pot for our aluminum cast body of Model Y."
The other great news is that Tesla intends to start production of Model 3 using rear single-piece casts, which will mean a significant improvement in both the manufacturing process and the car itself. In addition, the company will be switching to rear single-piece casts in all of its future vehicles, which makes a lot of sense. However, Baglino said that the Model S and Model X should not be expected to receive such an update, although he was not categorical when he said it.
"And also we’ll be moving to the sort of cast part rear body in all vehicles over time? Well, actually, maybe not S/X, but 3/Y."
© 2022, Eva Fox | Tesmanian. All rights reserved.
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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.