Tesla Accelerates Manufacturing Innovation with Upgraded Gigacasting Technology

By Kevin Armstrong
Tesla's gigacast greatly reduces parts, welds and vehicle production time
Tesla's gigacast greatly reduces parts, welds and vehicle production time

New insights into Tesla's manufacturing innovations have emerged, suggesting the automaker is not just nearing but actively implementing groundbreaking advancements in its gigacasting technology. Reports from the Shanghai Securities News and posts from X.com user @zhongwen2005 unveil Tesla's successful adoption of an upgraded gigacasting process at its Shanghai Giga Factory, focusing primarily on the Model Y's rear bottom plate assembly system.

This revelation is a pivotal update to earlier reports, indicating that Tesla is realizing its commitment to unboxed manufacturing and is on the brink of revolutionizing vehicle production. The upgraded gigacasting technology allows the die-casting of almost the entire complex underbody of an electric vehicle in one piece, significantly reducing production costs and assembly components.

New Technology Now in Use

According to the new information, the application of this integrated die-casting technology has led to a remarkable 40% reduction in related production costs and over 10% weight savings compared to traditional methods. These advancements are especially pertinent as Tesla explores manufacturing possibilities for its forthcoming $25,000 car, which presents an ideal opportunity to deploy this one-piece casting innovation.

Tesla's pioneering approach, involving 3D printing, industrial sand, and the development of specialized alloys, is further fine-tuned with the introduction of version 2.0 of its integrated die-casting technology. The amalgamation of rapid prototyping, material innovation, and advanced casting techniques underscores Tesla's relentless pursuit of manufacturing excellence, setting the stage for a large-scale manufacturing evolution.

This strategic shift and technological progression are aligned with the insights shared in Walter Isaacson's biography of Elon Musk, depicting a transition in Tesla's operational hubs. The Giga Texas facility emerges as a focal point for the development and perfection of this next-generation EV platform, with Giga Mexico anticipating the subsequent housing of the new technology.

The Competition is Playing Catch-up

As the electric vehicle market grows increasingly competitive, such innovations are crucial. The upgraded gigacasting technology places Tesla at the forefront of manufacturing efficiency and sets a precedent for other manufacturers. Toyota recently unveiled its own gigapress, and Chinese EV makers, including Xpeng and Geely's Zeekr, are adopting gigapressing technology to decrease vehicle weight and cut costs.

As Tesla continues to refine and implement its upgraded gigacasting technology, the company is not merely taking a step but making a significant leap toward redefining automotive manufacturing. The integration of this advanced technology at its Shanghai plant illustrates the tangible strides Tesla is making in realizing Elon Musk's vision of halving production costs and making electric vehicles more affordable and accessible.

The latest developments confirm that a transformative moment in EV manufacturing is not just on the horizon but actively unfolding. Tesla's commitment to innovation and the successful application of upgraded gigacasting technology underscore its position as a leader in the automotive industry, driving towards a future where electric vehicles are increasingly revolutionary and attainable.

Tesla Vehicles Spotted With LiDAR: What Do They Use It For?

By Karan Singh
Not a Tesla App

Tesla recently hit the news for purchasing approximately $2M in LiDAR sensors from Luminar, one of Tesla’s long-term suppliers. You’ve probably seen photos of Tesla’s Semi and various Tesla models, including the Model 3 and Model Y sporting LIDAR equipment on the roof. These cars drive around with manufacturer plates scanning streets and highways.

However, many people confuse Tesla’s purpose in purchasing LiDAR equipment with using it for FSD versus testing. So, let’s look at what LiDAR is, and why Tesla uses it on its Fleet Validation Vehicles.

What is LiDAR?

LiDAR stands for Light Detecting and Ranging – essentially using lasers to measure distances. A laser pulse is sent out, and the time it takes to return is measured – providing extremely accurate distance measurements.

Some companies working on self-driving vehicles, including Waymo and BYD, use LiDAR as part of their self-driving suites, but Tesla is one of the few stand-outs that does not. Even Rimac’s “Verne” Robotaxi – which uses self-driving technology from Mobileye, also uses LiDAR.

While LiDAR can produce extremely accurate and high-quality 3D environments, it comes with its downsides as well. Not only is LiDAR costly and requires large gear strapped to a vehicle, but it also can not be used in bad weather and can have interference issues if there are other strong light sources present.

Why Does Tesla Use LiDAR?

A LiDAR rig mounted on a Tesla Semi for testing FSD.
A LiDAR rig mounted on a Tesla Semi for testing FSD.
Not a Tesla App

At Autonomy Day in 2019, Elon Musk mentioned that LiDAR isn’t the solution for self-driving cars – it's just a crutch. Thus, Tesla hasn’t used LiDAR for any production self-driving software.

Instead, Tesla uses it exactly how it's described – they use it to gather ground-truth data. This data is then used to feed Tesla’s Full Self Driving system – which helps validate its vision-only system's accuracy. LiDAR provides very accurate measurements to help ensure that FSD’s perception of space is accurate – and is only used by Tesla to ensure that its AI technology which is the brains of FSD is capable of accurately interpreting depth from just visual data.

Tesla’s vision-only system has been seen to be extremely accurate, with Vision-only Autopark being able to park in even narrower and tighter spaces faster than the previous version that relied on ultrasonic sensors.

We’ll likely continue to see Tesla purchase LiDAR systems, as well as use them for validation well into the future.

Tesla's Upcoming Robotaxi Event in August Delayed, According to Bloomberg

By Karan Singh
Sugar Design

In a report from Bloomberg, it is claimed that Tesla will be delaying its much-anticipated 8/8 Robotaxi event by two months to October 2024.

While sources other than Bloomberg haven't confirmed this report, Bloomberg has a positive track record of reporting on financial decisions. We’ll be sure to update the article if there is confirmation on X from Elon Musk or another Tesla senior official.

Tesla’s stock has dropped nearly 8.5% over the day, ending back-to-back gains over the last two weeks. It closed yesterday at $ 241 after hitting a peak of $270 earlier in the day before the news broke.

Why the Delay?

The delay – of approximately two months – has been communicated internally, but not publicly announced just yet. Bloomberg goes on to mention that the design team was told to rework certain elements of the Cybercab, necessitating the delay.

If Bloomberg’s report is correct, it sounds like Tesla’s unveil event will be largely focused on showing off the vehicle, instead of demoing how it will work. Of course, it could still be both, but given past events, Tesla has always shown off the vehicle years before it hits production.

Rimac recently showed off their version of robotaxi vehicle named Verne, and surprisingly, it could almost pass for Tesla’s own robotaxi. A lot of design cues in Rimac’s version are elements we have already seen or expect to see in Tesla’s autonomous taxi.

A recent Tesla patent revealed that Tesla is incorporating a sanitation system into their robotaxi that will be responsible for analyzing and cleaning the vehicle’s interior, although the delay itself is likely tied more to a physical feature rather than software.

Another element we know almost nothing about is how Tesla plans to charge these robotic taxis. Will they rely on the existing charge port and adapt a solution like the robotic charging arm (video below) we saw almost eight years ago, or will wireless charging or a dock finally become realized?

While the delay for Tesla’s event appears to be related to the vehicle’s design itself and not further development of FSD, Tesla is wasting no time in getting FSD working for the upcoming vehicle. Model 3 vehicles have already been spotted with camera locations that resemble a robotaxi.

Is the Delay Accurate?

We expect that this delay might actually be true – Elon Musk usually takes to X within hours of such news breaking if it's false to refute it and hasn’t done so yet.

Tesla has delayed several of their events in the past, and a delay of a couple of months seems plausible. We should hear from Musk himself soon on whether this report is accurate.

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