Tesla’s filings for Gigafactory Berlin reveal an especially interesting detail about the facilities to come. Giga Berlin is poised to have eight giant casting machines on site, or “Giga Presses,” based on the documents. The presence of the machines, as well as their number, suggest that Tesla may explore the idea of rolling out new vehicles similarly designed to the Model Y, which uses single-piece castings.
Gigafactory Berlin is expected to begin production of the Model Y, the all-electric crossover represents the latest innovations from Tesla. One of these is the use of large castings by the company for the rear underbody of the Model Y, which Tesla noted will get even more optimized over time. Elon Musk himself mentioned that the Model Y will eventually have a single piece rear body including crash rails.
These, according to the CEO, will be due to the company’s utilization of the appropriately-named “Giga Press,” the largest casting machine in the market today. It’s interesting to see that Gigafactory Berlin is being equipped with eight of these massive casting machines, which is expected to produce the Model Y crossover, the Model 3 sedan and Tesla’s later vehicles.
Considering the number of “Giga Presses” in the Giga Berlin complex, it seems that the Model Y will not be the only one-piece casts produced on-site. For such an innovation the Model 3 seems to be a shoo-in, especially since the two vehicles already share numerous parts. It should also be noted that the use of large casts for vehicle production is a way of optimizing the costs and production times. Thus, if Tesla could master the use of its “Giga Press” machines, the company could have a good chance of developing a strategy that would enable it to create low-cost vehicles.
Tesla is still a young company and over the years, the electric car maker has moved from a niche automaker making fast sports cars like the original Roadster to a mass-market carmaker making family crossovers like the Model Y. But even with this progress, Tesla has yet to learn how to produce profitable, low-cost vehicles en masse. This has been mastered by incumbents such as Toyota, which Tesla overtook as the world’s most valuable automaker by market cap, as represented by mass-market vehicles such as the low-cost and still profitable Yaris.
Tesla’s filings have not revealed what the eight giant casting machines will be used for, although their number seems to suggest that vehicles beyond Model Y and Model 3 are allocated. If Tesla is indeed looking to produce a smaller, more affordable car in Europe (rumored to be a potential “Model 2” in the Tesla community), developing a production line that optimizes cost and manufacturing output definitely seems like a strategic move — even if that line includes the use of the world’s largest casting machines.
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