Tesla is building its new gigafactory in Berlin, and founder Elon Musk is there to do some promoting. He is also meeting with German principles connected with the venture. And as always, when he gives an interview he slips out vague announcements. Sometimes radical and sometimes not, you name it. From what he has said in the past couple of days it sounds like Tesla is on the verge of a fundamentally radical way to build cars.
Most would scoff at an auto executive’s bold statements about future projects. But this is Elon Musk and it seems he follows through on most things. And this one sounds important because it is not so much about the product but about a huge leap in how vehicles are engineered and built.
“It’s actually a radical redesign of the core technology of building a Tesla”
Here’s what he said per Electrek, “There’s a bunch of innovative stuff that we will be doing here that we will tell you about in the future. It’s not just a copy of Model Y. It’s actually a radical redesign of the core technology of building a car.” See what we mean?
“Battery Day” is an event taking place at the Tesla Fremont assembly plant later this month. That is the time we think he’ll reveal what is being hinted at now. This isn’t the first time Musk has talked about innovations being built into the new Berlin factory. He has also mentioned that included in the building will be “the most advanced paint shop.” It is expected to tie in with the multi-layered paint options that will be available for the Model Y.
“The German version of the Tesla Model Y will represent ‘a revolution in automotive body engineering'”
At the same time, he added that the German version of the Model Y will represent “a revolution in automotive body engineering.” Today he added, “It is going to be the first time that there will be a transformation of the core structural design of the vehicle. It’s quite a big thing.” Well, everything is a “big thing” in Musk’s world. But we get the impression this big thing will be a revolutionary way to build cars.
Last month Musk discussed a large casting machine that can produce the car’s inner structure. Mostly, cars are manufactured with stamped sheet metal, but casting the inner structure and then wrapping a body around that is not an entirely new direction. The Pontiac Fiero, U-body GM minivans, and many Saturn models all had an inner structure with a plastic body attached.
Weight and labor can be reduced with such an assembly if the casting is light
Weight and labor can be reduced with such an assembly if the casting is light. But GM found that its method of a stamped steel structure and plastic body did not save any weight. Musk recently touted the arrival of the largest casting machine in the world. The Gigafactory in Berlin is expected to have a number of them.
Last summer a patent was applied for that illustrated a large body-making machine. If Tesla is able to capitalize on what we suspect is a much more economical and quicker way of building Tesla bodies it is another feather in Musk’s cap. It would save money and shorten assembly time, too.
Battery Day is taking place on September 22, 2020, at the Fremont plant. It will be able to be seen on the internet as well. If you’re curious you might want to check-in.