EV Engineering News

Chinese automakers adopting Tesla’s megacasting technology

Tesla’s megacasting technique—using giant casting machines to make car bodies with just a few massive cast parts—greatly reduces the complexity of the body assembly process, saving costs and improving efficiency. Tesla is producing Model Y at Gigafactory Texas using an enormous Giga Press to cast a single rear body piece, which replaced 70 different parts.

The Giga Presses Tesla is using in Texas are made by an Italian company called IDRA. In 2019, Tesla commissioned what it called the world’s largest casting machine from a Chinese manufacturer, the LK Group, and it’s believed that this will soon go into service at Gigafactory Shanghai.

LK Group founder Liu Siong Song recently told the New York Times that his company worked with Tesla for over a year to make the massive new machine. LK will also supply similar giant casting presses to six Chinese companies by early 2022.

The adoption of Tesla’s megacasting process by other automakers is just one dramatic example of the mutually-beneficial relationship between Tesla and China’s rapidly emerging EV industry. The Chinese government has rolled out the red carpet for Tesla, granting it unprecedented access to the world’s largest auto market, and streamlining regulatory approvals to get Gigafactory Shanghai built in record time.

In turn, Tesla is helping Chinese companies become ever more competitive, working with local suppliers to make increasingly sophisticated components that enable them to challenge the automotive giants of the US, Europe and Japan.

Gigafactory Shanghai has been very good to Chinese component suppliers. Tesla says that, in the fourth quarter of 2020, some 86 percent of outsourced Model 3 and Model Y components used at the Shanghai Gig came from within China. (For cars made in Fremont, 73 percent of outsourced components came from China.)

The Times speculates that Tesla could do for Chinese EV-makers what Apple did for the country’s smartphone industry. As iPhone technology spread to local companies, they began making better and better phones, and some of them have gone on to become major players in global markets.

LK hopes to sell its megacasting machines to many more Chinese companies, but Mr. Liu told the Times that local automakers lack the talented car designers that Tesla has in plenty. “Many Chinese automakers are talking to us about building the machines, but the majority of them are still in the design process. We have a bottleneck in designers in China.”

Sources: New York Times, Electrek

Create Account. Already Registered? Log In

Virtual Conference on EV Infrastructure: Free to Attend

Don't miss our next Virtual Conference on December 4-6, 2023. Register for the free webinar sessions below and reserve your spot to watch them live or on-demand.


EV Engineering Webinars & Whitepapers

The Tech

How to protect an EV’s on-board charger from transient grid surges

Renesas unveils processor roadmap for next-gen automotive SoCs and MCUs

Researchers shape hard carbon to form high-capacity electrodes for sodium-ion batteries

ZF introduces a purely electric brake system for software-defined and electric vehicles

The Vehicles & Infrastructure

U.S. Steel pilots battery-electric locomotives

TeraWatt Infrastructure breaks ground on heavy-duty EV charging site near Port of Long Beach

Utah DOT receives $43 million in grants to build EV fast charging stations

SSE Energy Solutions to build electric truck charging hub in Birmingham, UK

Tips for fleet managers transitioning from diesel to EVs (Webinar)

KEBA and Easelink work to develop automated hands-free conductive charging for EVs at home

Clenergy EV adds more CPOs to its European e-roaming network, enables touch-free payments

ubitricity and UK Power Networks to launch program that shifts charging demand from peak hours

Does Germany have too many public EV charging stations?

Low electrical conductivity coolants for EV charging applications (Webinar)

EV Tech Explained