Legacy automakers could find it more difficult to compete against Tesla following a recent “gigacasting” breakthrough that would allow the electric vehicle maker to produce its cars at half the cost.
Tesla Inc. has reportedly made a manufacturing breakthrough allowing the company to die-cast the majority of an electric vehicle (EV) underbody in a single piece rather than many, a process that would significantly reduce production costs and transform how EVs are built, according to five people familiar with the plans who spoke with Reuters.
This innovation to Tesla’s gigacasting process, which allows it to mold the front and rear structures of its Model EVs, would reportedly allow the company to die cast nearly all of the complex underbody of an EV in one piece, rather than the 400 or so pieces needed with traditional vehicles.
According to the sources that spoke with Reuters, Tesla’s new design and manufacturing process would allow the company to manufacture EVs from the ground up in 18 to 24 months instead of the three to four years needed for most rival automakers,
If Tesla manages to gigacast the underbody of its EVs, it will change how vehicles 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’s a very challenging task,” said Woychowski, per Reuters. “Castings are very hard to do, especially the bigger and the more complicated.”
According to the sources, Tesla could use the gigacasting process to build a single large frame — combining the front and rear sections with the middle underbody where the battery is housed –- in later model EVs. The price tag on these later EVs would be around $25,000, and they would roll out sometime in the middle of the decade,
Tesla is reportedly expected to make a decision on whether to move forward with the die-casting process later this month.