AUSTIN, Texas: In a bid to leave its rivals struggling to keep pace, Tesla has pioneered the use of huge presses with 6,000 to 9,000 tons of clamping pressure to mold the front and rear structures of its Model Y in a "gigacasting" process, which will significantly reduce production costs.
The U.S. electric vehicle (EV) maker is also close to developing an innovation enabling it to die cast nearly all the complex underbody of an EV in one piece, rather than some 400 parts in a conventional car.
The innovations are part of Tesla's "unboxed" manufacturing strategy announced by Chief Executive Musk in March, which aims to enable the company to produce tens of millions of more affordable EVs in the coming decade and still make a profit.
"If Tesla manages to gigacast most of the underbody of an EV, it would further disrupt the way cars are designed and manufactured," said Terry Woychowski, president of U.S. engineering company Caresoft Global.
"It is an enabler on steroids. It has a huge implication for the industry, but it is a very challenging task. Castings are very hard to do, especially the bigger and the more complicated," he added.
While most rivals require three to four years to develop a car from the ground up, Tesla's previously unreported new design and manufacturing techniques will enable it to do the same in 18 to 24 months.
A single large frame, which combines the front and rear sections with the middle underbody where the battery is housed, could also enable Tesla to launch a small EV costing US$25,000 by the middle of the decade.
Tesla will decide whether to die cast the platform in one piece by the end of soon September.
Neither the company nor its CEO have responded to requests for comment.