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Christian Cavallo May 18, 2023
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Welcome to this week’s edition of the Thomas Index Report.
In the race to find an alternative to gasoline-powered vehicles, automotive companies are deploying new vehicle designs and manufacturing innovations. Let’s uncover these new processes in this week’s report by looking at the work of Tesla and other market leaders.
The electric vehicle (EV) market is expanding at a shocking pace — the forecasted revenue of EV sales is expected to hit more than 139 billion dollars globally by 2027, with a projected compound annual growth rate of 21.7% between 2022 and 2030. Government initiatives like the Inflation Reduction Act are leading the push for fewer gasoline vehicles on the road, but price still limits how fast customers and manufacturers adopt EV technology.
To lower margins and manufacturing costs, EV manufacturer Tesla revolutionized automotive manufacturing with a single phrase: “The best part is no part.”
Inspired by die-cast toy cars, Tesla uses its newest tool, known as the Giga Press, to simplify and speed up manufacturing. This 9,000-ton press casts the entire rear assembly of a Tesla vehicle in seconds and sports a production rate of up to 30 casts per hour. The Tesla Model Y has replaced 70 parts with a single cast that takes a minute to make, replacing hundreds of robotic welders and saving hours of production work.
Battery design changes are also taking this approach — companies are looking into so-called cell-to-chassis designs that drastically reduce vehicle weight, which can translate to gains in range and performance. Instead of making batteries modular packs, manufacturers are integrating the battery into the frame of the car, allowing it to both store power and provide structural support at the same time. Chinese manufacturer Leapmotor has released its C01 model, which includes a highly integrated chassis battery, boosting its range to 445 miles on a single charge.
Thomasnet.com’s sourcing data shows a 123% year-over-year growth in aluminum casting sourcing. Companies actively sourcing casting services on Thomasnet.com are focused on automotive, electronics, and general manufacturing, which could suggest that this part-reduction philosophy is expanding into several fields simultaneously.
I’m Anna Wells, and this is the Thomas Index Report.
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