Tesla has pioneered a new way of building vehicles the world has never seen before. Tesla’s approach, unlike all other automakers that use robots to weld together the chassis of their vehicle, makes use of giant machines to basically “print” a large portion of its cars as a single piece.
This approach allows Tesla to decrease vehicle parts, complexity, and production time. while at the same time increasing the vehicles' stiffness, handling, and performance. And even more impressively, Tesla gets all these benefits at a cheaper price than the conventional way of building cars.
The machine that allows Tesla to make all these improvements is the Giga Press. The Giga Press is a large casting machine that takes in molten aluminum, applies pressure, and outputs large parts of the vehicle as a single piece.
Elon Musk at his recent appearance at the All-In Conference has revealed that he got the idea to build the Giga Press by simply asking “how do they make toys so cheap”.
To build Giga Presses Tesla has contracted a company out of Italy called IDRA. And IDRA in its latest YouTube video has shown us a new, completed, and more powerful Giga Press.
Currently, to build the front and rear third of the Model Y Tesla uses a 6000-ton Giga Press. However, Tesla’s newest Giga Press has 50% more power and comes in at 9000 tons.
The new more powerful Giga Press, according to Elon Musk, will be used to construct part of the company’s upcoming vehicle, the Cybertruck. As of writing, IDRA has finished construction and testing of the 9000-ton Giga Press and is in the process of disassembling the machine.
Once the new Giga Press is disassembled, IDRA will then ship it to Giga Texas, where it will be reassembled and used to build the Cybertruck.
Until recently, we didn’t have any information regarding the differences between Model Y’s 6000-ton Giga Press and Cybertruck’s 9000-ton Giga Press. However, at Tesla’s latest Q2 2022 earnings call Tesla has given us some details about the new Giga Press.
During the call, Elon Musk and Drew Baglino, who is the Senior Vice President of Powertrain and Energy Engineering at Tesla, went into detail discussing all the improvements brought about to the Model Y by using a Giga Press.
The Tesla executives said the Model Y Giga Casting, which is the product of the Giga press, has allowed Tesla to decrease parts in the rear chassis of the Model Y from 120 welded-together pieces to 1.
Musk and Baglino also added that this has allowed Tesla to remove several robots from the Model Y production line and reduce the size of the body shop by 70%.
Tesla says the 4680 battery production is progressing, but not important for 2022. Here is what's important. https://t.co/GEY16V1OJJ--#Tesla #Tesla4680Battery pic.twitter.com/iAOhd0RsS0— Torque News (@torquenewsauto) July 22, 2022
However, true to Tesla fashion, despite this incredible result, Musk and Baglino said they are working to improve the Giga Press even further and that Model Y’s Giga Casting is actually the first iteration of the product.
Elon Musk started out discussing the Model Y’s Giga Casting by saying…
On the rear casting – the casting is already way better than the way it was done in the past where you've got 120 different parts that are welded together or bonded together with different alloys and then you have to put sealant in between all the various parts for water ingress and noise. So we're already way better than that with current casting, but there are still a lot of opportunities to reduce the master casting and also extend the casting to include more parts, as well as adapt the rest of the vehicle for the fact that there's a cast.
Drew Baglino followed up on Musk’s comments saying…
Yes, I was going to say the same thing, right? Like we're not just evaluating the pack and insulation either. It's the pack plus the body, the integration, do we have mass in the right places, we have the cost in the right places, and only just the right amount. And I think we've gone through one iteration. We're going to do another one with Cybertruck.
I mean, we're taking the learnings and doing. The next version hopefully is a B-plus in A architecture. That's certainly a target.
Given all the improvements brought about by the Model Y Giga Casting, it is exciting to imagine what kind of improvements Tesla has planned for the Cybertruck. As of now, Baglino’s assertion that Tesla will do a second iteration of Giga Casting for the Cybertruck still leaves a lot of questions unanswered.
However, we will be sure to keep you posted if we learn more about Tesla’s plans. Until then, make sure to visit our site torquenews.com/Tesla regularly for the latest updates.
So what do you think? Excited to learn that the Cybertruck will get a next-generation Giga Casting? Also, what is your expectation for when Tesla will begin the first Cybertruck deliveries? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.
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Tinsae Aregay has been following Tesla and The evolution of the EV space on a daily basis for several years. He covers everything about Tesla from the cars to Elon Musk, the energy business, and autonomy. Follow Tinsae on Twitter at @TinsaeAregay for daily Tesla news.