Canvas Category OEM : Automotive
Tesla’s mission is to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy. Tesla was founded in 2003 by a group of engineers who wanted to prove that people didn’t need to compromise to drive electric - that electric vehicles can be better, quicker and more fun to drive than gasoline cars. Today, Tesla builds not only all-electric vehicles but also infinitely scalable clean energy generation and storage products. Tesla believes the faster the world stops relying on fossil fuels and moves towards a zero-emission future, the better.
Why Tesla’s Cybertruck Is So Hard To Manufacture
🇨🇳 Ambarella CEO: ‘Chinese OEMs Are Copying the Tesla Model’
Ambarella CEO Fermi Wang clarified to EE Times that revenue for Ambarella’s most recent CV3 automotive SoC family will come first, but not only, from China. “The reason is that Chinese OEMs and tier ones will take only 18-24 months to introduce a product versus 48 months anywhere else,” Wang told EE Times. “At IAA, German OEMs were shocked by how fast Chinese vendors have been able to [develop and] show EVs.” Chinese automotive OEMs move a lot faster than their European and American counterparts, according to Wang.
“From the development cycle point of view, Chinese companies are focused on getting things out quicker instead of the European approach to make sure everything is there, quality-wise, before it’s shipped, [though] we haven’t seen a quality issue so far,” he said. “The Chinese are copying the Tesla model [upgrading software over the air] rather than the German model.”
Toyota takes on Tesla’s gigacasting in battle for carmaking’s future
Some car executives and analysts expect Tesla’s process — which Musk calls “gigacasting” — to set a new benchmark for building vehicles, replacing the vaunted Toyota Production System based on just-in-time manufacturing efficiency. The way Tesla is making cars “is quickly moving to become an industry standard”, said one senior executive at a European automaker.
For the moment, Toyota says it wants more than half of its 2030 sales target to be made up of EVs using its new modular architecture, which allows it to produce multiple different models, that share key components, on the same platforms. Yuzawa said: “Gigacasting is going to reshape the whole underbody supply chain network.”
Why Sandy is Captivated By Castings: IDRA Conference Recap
Gigacasting: The hottest trend in car manufacturing
Gigacasting is all the rage in automotive manufacturing circles. And while Tesla has mainstreamed the term — involving enormous, high-pressure aluminum die casting machines that punch out vehicle chassis and bodies-in-white — the technology has largely caught on in mainland China. Now other automakers, including Toyota, are eyeing the process.
These massive gigacastings (also known as megacastings) carry huge initial startup costs, may have distortion issues in the metal, alter collision-repair capabilities, and require extensive end-of-line inspection scanning. And that is only after ordering a custom-built gargantuan piece of equipment, moving it into place, and figuring out how to efficiently work the temperamental processes. The cost-benefit analysis of gigacasting should be based on achieving a good-enough first-pass yield rate and maintaining a sufficient, yet not excessive, number of orders for the same part. When comparing gigacasting to conventional steel stamping or aluminum-stitching, S&P Global Mobility nonetheless assesses the unit price for a single-piece, gigacasted aluminum rear floor to be valid.
OEMs are looking towards gigacasting not as a component piece, but as a change to how their entire world functions. The reconfiguration of the dance played behind factory walls will forever change economies within automotive. Whether corner castings or single piece, whether gigacast or gigapress, a change to how vehicles come together is upon the industry. Nodal construction will replace linear, bottlenecks will arise and dissolve, and something altogether new will be born.
Ford, Hyundai test Tesla supplier's Giga Press
Idra, an Italian aluminum casting machine maker and Tesla supplier, has added Ford, Hyundai and another European company to its customer base as more automakers explore this manufacturing technique. Tesla has pioneered the use of massive casting machines, also known as ‘Giga Presses,’ to make large single pieces of vehicle underbodies, streamline production and reduce the work even of robots.
The source said Idra was also about to sign a supply contract for two 9,000 presses with a premium automaker in Europe, its first with a European group. Sources said Volvo has purchased two Idra Giga Presses for their new plant in eastern Europe.
🗜️ Tesla reinvents carmaking with quiet breakthrough
The company pioneered the use of huge presses with 6,000 to 9,000 tons of clamping pressure to mold the front and rear structures of its Model Y in a “gigacasting” process that slashed production costs and left rivals scrambling to catch up.
In a bid to extend its lead, Tesla is closing in on an innovation that would allow it to die cast nearly all the complex underbody of an EV in one piece, rather than about 400 parts in a conventional car, the people said. Two of the sources said Tesla’s previously unreported new design and manufacturing techniques meant the company could develop a car from the ground up in 18 to 24 months, while most rivals can currently take anywhere from three to four years. The five people said a single large frame - combining the front and rear sections with the middle underbody where the battery is housed - could be used in Tesla’s small EV which it aims to launch with a price tag of $25,000 by the middle of the decade.
Tesla turned to firms that make test molds out of industrial sand with 3D printers. Using a digital design file, printers known as binder jets deposit a liquid binding agent onto a thin layer of sand and gradually build a mold, layer by layer, that can die cast molten alloys. The aluminium alloys used to produce the castings behaved differently in sand and metal molds and often failed to meet Tesla’s criteria for crashworthiness and other attributes. The casting specialists overcame that by formulating special alloys, fine-tuning the molten alloy cooling process, and also coming up with an after-production heat treatment, three of the sources said. And once Tesla is happy with the prototype mold, it can then invest in a final metal one for mass production.
EnergyHub and Tesla to support the Northeast's largest battery virtual power plant
Tesla, Inc. and EnergyHub, the industry’s most experienced provider of distributed energy management systems (DERMS), have collaborated to enable ConnectedSolutions program enrollment via the Tesla app. The new in-app experience makes joining utility programs frictionless for electricity customers in Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island who enroll in ConnectedSolutions, EnergyHub’s largest bring-your-own-battery demand response program. The program links batteries to create a virtual power plant (VPP) that can be used to curb peak demand for electricity and to provide additional grid services.
Tesla Powerwall owners who participate in the ConnectedSolutions program can earn for every kilowatt of benefit they provide to the grid—up to $1,500 per year depending on the size of the battery and the state where they live. Using the new in-app experience, customers can easily enroll in the program and see the entire event including how much energy they are providing, and understand how that results in earnings from their utility.
Samsung to make Tesla’s fifth-generation HW 5.0 auto chip
Samsung Electronics Co., the world’s largest memory chipmaker, will make Tesla Inc.’s next-generation Full Self-Driving (FSD) chips to be used in the top US electric carmaker’s Level-5 autonomous driving vehicles. Last year, Tesla chose Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC) as its sole partner for the production of the HW 5.0 auto chip. Now, Tesla plans to work with both TSMC and Samsung, or could switch from TSMC to Samsung altogether, for mass production of the fifth-generation auto chips, industry officials said.
Samsung had been supplying earlier versions of FSD chips to Tesla for EVs such as the Model 3, Model 5, Model X and Model Y. Last week, HI Investment & Securities analyst Park Sang-wook said in a research note that Samsung’s chip production yield rates for the 4 nm and finer 3 nm nodes have improved to over 75% and 60%, respectively.
Rivian Accelerates Electrification through Adoption of North American Charging Standard and Access to Tesla’s Supercharger Network for Rivian Drivers
Rivian Automotive, Inc. (NASDAQ: RIVN) today announced it has signed an agreement with Tesla to provide Rivian drivers access to Tesla’s Supercharger network across the United States and Canada. Central to its mission to electrify and decarbonize transportation, Rivian will also continue to expand its own Rivian Adventure Network.
🚙🔌 General Motors Doubles Down on Commitment to a Unified Charging Standard and Expands Charging Access to Tesla Supercharger Network
General Motors Co. (NYSE: GM) announced today a collaboration with Tesla to integrate the North American Charging Standard (NACS) connector design into its EVs beginning in 2025. Additionally, the collaboration will expand access to charging for GM EV drivers at 12,000 Tesla Superchargers, and growing, throughout North America. This agreement complements GM’s ongoing investments in charging, reinforcing the company’s focus on expanding charging access across home, workplace, and public spaces and builds on the more than 134,000 chargers available to GM EV drivers today through the company’s Ultium Charge 360 initiative and mobile apps.
The Tesla Supercharger Network will be open to GM EV drivers starting in 2024 and will initially require the use of an adapter. Beginning in 2025, the first GM EVs will be built with a NACS inlet for direct access to Tesla Superchargers without an adapter. In the future, GM will make adapters available for drivers of NACS-enabled vehicles to allow charging on CCS-capable fast charge stations.
🚙🔌 Ford EV Customers To Gain Access to 12,000 Tesla Superchargers; Company to Add North American Charging Standard Port in Future EVs
Starting early next year, Ford EV customers will have access to more than 12,000 Tesla Superchargers across the U.S. and Canada, in addition to the over 10,000 DC fast-chargers that are already part of the BlueOval Charge Network. This will give Ford EV customers unprecedented access to fast-charging. In 2025, Ford will offer next-generation electric vehicles with the North American Charging Standard (NACS) connector built-in, eliminating the need for an adapter to access Tesla Superchargers
🚙🏭 Tesla Rethinks the Assembly Line
Engineers at Tesla Inc. have developed a new process that they claim will reduce EV production costs by 50 percent, while reducing factory space by 40 percent. The “unboxed” system was outlined during the automaker’s recent Investor Day event at its new factory in Austin, TX. Tesla believes that its more efficient production method will lead to a paradigm shift in the way that vehicles are mass-produced. It focuses on eliminating linear assembly lines and producing more subassemblies out of large castings.
“The traditional way of making a vehicle is to stamp it, build a body-in-white, paint it and do final assembly,” says Lars Moravy, vice president of vehicle engineering at Tesla. “These individual shops are dictated by the boundaries that exist in auto factories. If something goes wrong in final assembly, you block the whole line and you end up with buffering in between.”
“We simplified Model Y assembly with a structural battery, where the battery is [also] the floor,” says Moravy. “We put the front seats and the interior module on top of the battery pack, and we bring it up through a big open hole [in the bottom of the body]. This allows us to do things in parallel and reduce the final assembly line by about 10 percent.
“Unboxed assembly is also known as ‘delayed 3D,’” adds Mwangi. “In other words, you stay in 2D as much as possible and go to 3D as late as possible in the vehicle production process. That means you have open access to the majority of your work areas, which gives you an opportunity to simplify operations. It also lends itself to simpler automation, because robots don’t need to work around a shell.”
Tesla’s Magnet Mystery
A minor detail in Elon Musk’s “Master Plan Part 3” made big news in an obscure corner of physics. Colin Campbell, an executive in Tesla’s powertrain division, announced that his team was expunging rare-earth magnets from its motors, citing supply chain concerns and the toxicity of producing them.
Still, it’s unlikely that Tesla is simply replacing its magnets with something far worse, like ferrite, without making other changes. “You’ll have a huge magnet to carry around in a car,” says Alena Vishina, a physicist at Uppsala University. Luckily, a motor is a fairly complex machine with plenty of other components that, in theory, can be rearranged to soften the penalty of using weaker magnets. In computer models, materials company Proterial recently determined that by carefully positioning ferrite magnets and tweaking other aspects of motor design, many performance metrics of rare-earth-driven motors can be replicated. The result in that case was a motor that’s only about 30 percent heavier, a difference that could be small relative to a car’s overall bulk.
All in all, if you’re in a business where you can make an alternative work, it probably makes sense to do so, says Jim Chelikowsky, a physicist who studies magnetic materials at the University of Texas, Austin. But there are all kinds of reasons, he says, to look for better alternatives to rare earth magnets than ferrite. The challenge is finding materials with three essential qualities: They need to be magnetic, to hold that magnetism in the presence of other magnetic fields, and to tolerate high temperatures. Hot magnets cease to be magnets.
In the body shop, stamped parts & chassis castings are welded together by 600+ robots. Each car body is then lifted into the paint shop by one of the largest industrial robots ever, named Godzilla pic.twitter.com/n5jGXhmLkB— Tesla (@Tesla) February 13, 2023
The Titanium Economy: Emerging stronger in the face of disruption
Companies in the Titanium Economy have taken steps to build agility in response to changing preferences and global supply chain challenges. They have innovated to meet their customers’ evolving needs by consolidating their value chains, maintaining regional sourcing and production, and minimizing the distance between engineering and manufacturing and their supply chains.
In the face of disruptive macroeconomic trends, the Titanium Economy has demonstrated resilience by adopting a playbook of calculated, through-cycle steps that companies across all sectors can learn from and implement. In our next article, we will explore the specific actions of this playbook and how they can help American industrials lay the foundation for the country’s future position on the world stage.
LG Energy to invest $451 mn in mass production of Tesla’s 4680 battery cells
LG Energy Solution Ltd. announced Monday it will invest 580 billion won ($451 million) to manufacture battery cells for Austin-based Tesla, Inc. The battery-making arm of LG Corp. plans to add 9 gigawatt-hours (GWh) worth of production capacity for the new 4680 cylindrical batteries at its No. 2 Ochang factory. The battery maker also announced it would invest 150 billion won in the No. 1 Ochang factory to add 4 GWh worth of production capacity to manufacture the existing 2170 cylindrical battery cells. The 4680, expected to be mass produced next year, is composed of nickel, cobalt, manganese and aluminum (NCMA). The new battery has an increased nickel composition of up to 95% and added aluminum.
Assembly of the Giga Press 9000t in Idra Italy | part II
Flying Through Giga Berlin
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Why Tesla Soared as Other Automakers Struggled to Make Cars
GM and Ford closed one factory after another — sometimes for months on end — because of a shortage of computer chips, leaving dealer lots bare and sending car prices zooming. Yet Tesla racked up record sales quarter after quarter and ended the year having sold nearly twice as many vehicles as it did in 2020 unhindered by an industrywide crisis.
“Tesla, born in Silicon Valley, never outsourced their software — they write their own code,” said Morris Cohen, a professor emeritus at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania who specializes in manufacturing and logistics. “They rewrote the software so they could replace chips in short supply with chips not in short supply. The other carmakers were not able to do that.”
Digital twins improve real-life manufacturing
Real-world data paired with digital simulations of products—digital twins—are providing valuable insights that are helping companies identify and resolve problems before prototypes go into production and manage products in the field, says Alberto Ferrari, senior director of the Model-Based Digital Thread Process Capability Center at Raytheon.
The concept has started to take off, with the market for digital-twin technology and tools growing by 58% annually to reach $48 billion by 2026, up from $3.1 billion in 2020. Using the technology to create digital prototypes saves resources, money, and time. Yet the technology is also being used to simulate far more, from urban populations to energy systems to the deployment of new services.
How Elon Musk’s Software Focus Helped Tesla Navigate Chip Shortage
Tesla has been able to keep production lines running in part by leaning on in-house software engineering expertise that has made it more adept than many rival auto makers at adjusting to a global shortfall of semiconductors, industry executives and consultants said. Chips are used in everything from controlling an electric motor to charging a phone.
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How Ford, GM, FCA, and Tesla are bringing back factory workers
In the last week, factory employees have returned to work across the United States to make cars for the country’s four main auto manufacturers: Ford, General Motors, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, and Tesla. And each of those companies has published a plan showing how it will try to keep those workers from contracting or spreading COVID-19.
Those plans largely take the same shape. They’re presented in glossy PDF pamphlets, each starting with a letter to employees from the respective company’s highest-ranking executive overseeing workplace safety. Like any corporate document, they occasionally get bogged down with platitudes. But they all largely describe a lot of the same basic precautions, including supplying employees with Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) like masks or enforcing physical distancing of at least six feet.