In Model Y, Tesla replaces 70 underbody parts with one casting

Tesla is constantly working to simplify the manufacturing process for its vehicles. Last year the company applied for a patent on a new casting machine that would be used to build Model Y. “When we get the big casting machine, it’ll go from 70 parts to 1 with a significant reduction in capital expenditure on all the robots to put those parts together,” said Elon Musk.

Now Tesla has released images of the results. Diagrams show Model 3’s underbody, which is made up of 70 stamped steel and aluminum parts, and Model Y’s underbody, which consists of just two huge hunks of cast aluminum. (Sandy Munro also gave us a look at the innovative new parts in his recent Model Y teardown.)

In the Q1 earnings conference call, Musk called the new casting procedure “revolutionary”—no overstatement, considering the amount of time and money it must save—and said that more advances are in store: “We are going to be making a single-piece casting later this year, meaning…the rear third of the body is cast as a single piece. There is no casting of the size and complexity that has ever been done before.”

Tesla plans eventually to use the same casting technology on its other vehicles—a change that will surely require a major revamping of the production line—but has not mentioned a timeline.

Source: Tesla, Electrek

  • freedomev

    Yet 2 people can make a composite front to back chassis every 10 minutes at 5% of the capex, not just the rear part. And do it in 50% of the weight, cost.

  • David Lowe

    I still want a St/St welded Cybertruck, i dont care about castings.

  • Axel Förderreuther

    That’s bold. On the other hand the statement about casting “one third of the body” is at best misleading because there are obviously additional components towards the rear, accross from side to side and towards the front. Maybe closing parts for some of the open sections also.

    I also have some doubts it this solution is really better (i.e. lighter, cheaper, safer, better tolerances) than the assembly it replaces. Casting tooling for vacuum die casting is very expensive, especially in this behmoth size. And you need multiple tool sets even for one caster. A typical run is 500-1000 parts then the tool is switched for cleaning.

    I would be interested in the weight of the casting, the minumum wall thickness and if they heat treat the casting to get higher yield strength.

    But Tesla sure likes to do things differently. I give them credit for that.