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IndustryTesla Shanghai plant produces Model Y with integrated die casting that significantly...

Tesla Shanghai plant produces Model Y with integrated die casting that significantly reduces costs

Model Y production at Giga Shanghai is using one-piece die casting for the rear structure, allowing the component to cost up to 40 percent less.

Tesla‘s (NASDAQ: TSLA) Shanghai factory is using one-piece die-casting technology in Model Y production, dramatically reducing component costs, a new report says.

Tesla is accelerating innovation by upgrading its integrated die-casting technology to version 2.0, which die-casts nearly all of an electric vehicle’s complex underbody parts into a single unit, a report in China’s official Shanghai Securities News said today, citing a person close to Tesla.

The newspaper’s reporter visited Tesla’s factory in Lingang, Pudong, Shanghai, where the Model Y’s rear underbody structure is already being produced using integrated die-casting technology for rapid casting, according to the report.

“Our gigacasting is an important innovation that is very much in evidence on the Model Y,” the report quoted Cui Hailun, Tesla Shanghai’s manager of structural and thermal management systems, as saying.

In the Model Y’s one-piece die-cast rear underbody, what was once multiple fragmented parts are brought together into a single part, providing a significant boost in productivity, Cui said.

The new approach allows the body system to save more than 10 percent in weight compared to traditional methods.

At the same time, the technology offers significant cost advantages, as the cost of the rear floor assembly has been reduced by 40 percent as the car was built using one-piece die casting, according to Cui.

Integrated die-casting technology is bringing disruptive changes to the automotive industry, said Yan Jinghui, an expert committee member of the China Automobile Dealers Association (CADA), as cited by Shanghai Securities News.

Tesla’s new all-in-one die casting helps make cars lighter and allows for higher range while keeping labor costs down, Yan said.

Several Chinese companies are also already using the one-piece die-casting technology, which is expected to give Chinese cars a boost in body lightweight and production cost saving, the report noted.

Geely‘s Zeekr has used one-piece die-casting technology on the body of its Zeekr 009 MPV, eliminating nearly 800 welds, reducing the number of parts by more than 80 and reducing weight by 16 percent, according to the report.

Xpeng‘s (NYSE: XPEV) SEPA (Smart Electric Platform Architecture) architecture features front and rear one-piece aluminum die-cast bodies with 161 parts integrated and a maximum die-casting force of 12,000 tons, the report said.

Back to Tesla, the Model Y is one of the best-selling SUVs in China.

In the January-August period, Model Y retail sales in China were 278,681 units, up 61.63 percent year-on-year, according to data from the China Passenger Car Association (CPCA) monitored by CnEVPost.

The SUV sold 152,461 units at retail in China from January to May, making it the best-selling SUV in the country during that period, according to a ranking released by the CPCA in June. The model-specific rankings have been no longer available for the past few months.

Another vehicle Tesla is producing in China is the Model 3, and a revamped version of the sedan was unveiled and went up for pre-sale on September 1, with deliveries in China set to begin in the fourth quarter.

This article was first published by Phate Zhang on CnEVPost, a website focusing on new energy vehicle news from China.

CnEVPost is a website focused on the coverage of the new energy vehicle industry in China. As with our original intent for CnTechPost, there are a lot of interesting things happening in the Chinese EV industry every day, but they are not covered by the mainstream English language media. We're here to keep track of what's happening in the Chinese EV industry and strive to be the first to publish what we see in English.