Tesla Is on the Verge of Another Manufacturing Breakthrough

By Kevin Armstrong
Tesla is set to increase their manufacturing lead
Tesla is set to increase their manufacturing lead
Tesla

Tesla is nearing a pivotal moment in its journey and the automotive industry. According to a detailed report by Reuters, the company is on the brink of a groundbreaking manufacturing evolution, set to revolutionize the production of its next vehicle and set a new standard for the future of vehicle creation.

Drawing on insider knowledge from five anonymous sources, the report sheds light on Tesla's innovative gigacasting process, poised to redefine the manufacturing landscape and help Elon Musk realize his ambition of halving production costs. A decision on this significant shift could be made later this month.

A Single-Frame Approach

The key to this disruption lies in Tesla's commitment to unboxed manufacturing - a strategy introduced by Musk in March. At its core, this strategy focuses on the die-casting of nearly the entire complex underbody of an EV in one singular piece, reducing the traditional assembly of around 400 parts in a conventional car to a singular entity.

Tesla has used technology in several areas of its operation, notably a recent single-piece front casting for the Model Y that resulted in 169 fewer pieces and 1,600 fewer welds.

Tesla's unboxed strategy could roll out soon, drastically cutting production time and costs. According to Reuters, Tesla's forthcoming $25,000 car presents the perfect canvas for this one-piece casting revolution, bearing a simpler underbody resembling "a battery tray with small wings."

The Material Difference

To bring this vision to life, Tesla's global team, based across the UK, Germany, Japan, and the US, has leveraged 3D printing and industrial sand. Utilizing binder jets, which construct molds layer by layer through the deposition of a liquid binding agent on a sand layer, the team can quickly create and adapt prototype molds. This process significantly cuts the traditional costs associated with metal prototype creation, paving the way for rapid iteration at just 3% of the usual expenditure.

Beyond molding, Tesla has also been developing special alloys to overcome challenges in crashworthiness and other attributes associated with the different behaviors of these materials in sand and metal molds. These alloys, aligned with a fine-tuned molten alloy cooling process and post-production heat treatments, have potentially set the stage for a large-scale manufacturing revolution.

Tesla is deliberating on the exact nature of the die-casting process - whether embracing high-pressure techniques for speed or opt for slow alloy injection to ensure quality and versatility. The choice between these methods implicates not only the complexity of the car frame but also dictates the need for potentially more significant factory buildings and Giga Presses boasting a staggering clamping power of over 16,000 tons.

Strategic Shift to Giga Texas

This aligns with recent insights from Walter Isaacson's biography of Elon Musk, illustrating a strategic shift in Tesla's operations. Initially slated for Mexico, the production hub for the next-generation EV platform will now reside in Giga Texas. This will allow Musk to keep a closer eye on the development, design engineers and the manufacturing hub to facilitate immediate feedback and streamline processes. The book also said that Giga Mexico would still play a significant role, but now it seems it would be where the new technology would be housed after being perfected in Texas.

As the clock ticks down to Tesla's final decision, one thing remains clear: a potential transformative moment in EV manufacturing is on the horizon, promising a future where Tesla's EVs are more affordable, attainable, and revolutionary than ever before. It is not just a step but a gigantic leap toward the future of automotive manufacturing that only a visionary like Musk could envision and endeavor to achieve.

Tesla Reduces Price of FSD Subscription to $99 Per Month [Subscriptions Now Available in Canada Too!]

By Not a Tesla App Staff

Tesla just dropped its FSD subscription pricing dramatically in the U.S., lowering the cost from $199 to $99 per month. However, not everyone is thrilled with the new pricing.

For owners who bought the Enhanced Autopilot package for $6,000 USD, Tesla offered a lower-priced FSD subscription of $99, instead of $199. However, with this new FSD price reduction, EAP owners are no longer receiving a discount.

FSD Subscription Expansion

Currently, the FSD subscription is only available in the U.S., but plans for expansion are underway. Tesla's Rohan Patel recently announced that the subscription will soon be available in Canada, alongside the introduction of an annual plan for Premium Connectivity. 

This expansion into the Canadian market is anticipated to follow a similar pricing strategy, adjusted for the currency exchange rate, possibly setting the cost at approximately $140 CAD per month.

Update: Tesla has just announced that FSD subscriptions are now available in Canada! What’s even more surprising is the unexpectedly low subscription price of $99 CAD. Tesla took to X to announce the availability in Canada but unfortunately didn’t reveal any additional information regarding the subscriptions.

Is Buying FSD Still Worth It?

Despite the lowered subscription price, the outright purchase price for FSD remains steep at $12,000. This price point equates to subscribing to the service for over 10 years. Given that the average length of car ownership in the U.S. is about 8 years, this makes the current price of buying FSD unattractive to most. The saving grace of buying FSD is that you know what you're paying for the life of the vehicle and can avoid any potential subscription price increases.

Temporary Reduction or Long-term Strategy?

Tesla has not confirmed whether the price reduction is a temporary promotional tactic or a permanent adjustment. The timing coincides with Tesla's release of FSD v12 and its trial offer, suggesting that the company is keen on encouraging more drivers to experience FSD. This approach not only boosts user engagement but also accelerates the volume of data Tesla can collect to improve the system.

FSD With Referral Credits

Although Tesla hasn't adjusted the price of buying FSD, it is tweaking its referral program to accommodate the new price. Three months of FSD are now available through Tesla's referral program for 6,000 credits, reduced from the previous 12,000 credits.

Tesla's reduction in FSD in the U.S. and its planned expansion into Canada reflect a strategic initiative to make FSD more accessible and financially attractive to a broader audience. There's no doubt this change will increase the number of FSD subscriptions, but it'll be interesting to see how much. To break even, Tesla would need to double the number of subscriptions, but they likely have their eyes set much higher.

If you currently subscribe to FSD, Tesla has automatically reduced future payments to the lower $99 price point.

Tesla Cybertruck to Receive Additional Features in Upcoming Update

By Not a Tesla App Staff

Tesla frequently introduces new models or trim levels before all the software features are available. This situation also applies to the Cybertruck, where several features are still in development.

In the 2024.8 update, Tesla added a handful of features to help the Cybertruck catch up in the software department, adding features such as Reset Tire Mileage, Rear Passenger Headphones, Auto Wipers and others. Tesla also added a Cybertruck exclusive feature that sets off the truck's alarm if the trailer is unhitched from the vehicle.

However, Tesla continues to improve Cybertruck's software. The company is planning an upcoming update that will let the truck charge faster and add Tesla's convenient cabin overheat protection feature.

According to Tesla's SVP of powertrain and energy, Drew Baglino, the Cybertruck's charging speed is about to be upgraded. This software update, slated for release later this quarter, is set to substantially improve the Cybertruck's charging curve and unlock faster charging times for owners. Baglino said the update will "let the Cybertruck get 154 miles of charge in just 15 minutes." That's a 20% increase over the truck's current 128 miles in 15 minutes.

Early reports on the Cybertruck's 4680 cells revealed a somewhat disappointing charging curve. The truck's charging speed would start at about 250kW, then drop off to about 150kW at ~40%. It would then level off at 75-80kW for the remainder of the charge.

It seems Tesla was being careful with the Cybertruck's new battery pack, but now, the company is ready to unlock additional throughput.

This fits Tesla's usual approach. The company likes to start conservatively and then improve its vehicles over time.

Cabin Overheat Protection

Another feature that's set to arrive on the Cybertruck is Cabin Overheat Protection (COP), according to the Cybertruck's program manager. This feature which keeps the cabin from overheating has been available in other models for several years, but it has yet to be made available for the Cybertruck.

In 2022, Tesla added the ability to customize the temperature at which COP would turn on. Users can now choose COP to activate at 90, 95 or 100º Fahrenheit. The Cybertruck's COP is expected to match the same features available in other models.

Given that Tesla's SVP and program manager have officially commented on these upcoming features, it may not be long before we see them available in an upcoming update.

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