Earlier this year, in the face of Tesla’s frequent price cuts, Musk once said:
Large-scale demand is limited by affordability, and if prices are too high to afford, demand ceases to exist.
Musk wants to sell low-priced cars, which has made many consumers eye the "$190,000 Tesla."
However, the lowest price in history of Tesla Model 3 only reached 229,900, which is still 20,000 yuan away from the 200,000 mark, not to mention the prefix "Xiti".
After the facelift, the pre-sale price of the refreshed Model 3 has reached 259,900 yuan. Even though the actual selling price may be slightly lower, in the short term, as long as the supply and demand relationship remains unchanged, the 190,000 Model 3 will be worth just thinking about it. .
But Musk has never stopped thinking about building lower-priced models and further increasing sales.
At the shareholder meeting in May this year, Tesla had already shown the public its "next-generation platform" and the rendering outline of a new compact model. Tesla hopes to use a low enough price to make this mysterious new car exceed 400 Annual sales target of 10,000 vehicles.
This also means that a new round of cost control and technology upgrades at the Tesla factory are on the way.
Time is money, efficiency is life
On the Model Y, Tesla used a die-casting machine to turn the rear body, which originally required 70 parts, into a single and huge one-piece die-cast part.
The "employment" of a die-casting machine can make nearly 300 robots on the production line collectively "unemployed." This alone can save a lot of costs.
This also brings many benefits to Model Y. The reduction of parts makes the body more stable and stronger, the weight is lighter, and NVH can also be improved.
▲Gray and white are integrated die-cast parts
The feedback to the consumer side is that the price is cheaper and safer.
But for the cheap car Musk wants, a one-piece die-cast rear body may not be enough.
According to insiders, Tesla has made a new breakthrough in integrated die-casting. It will be able to further expand from die-casting the rear body to an integral die-casting including the front and rear body and battery frame. The bottom of the body will be die-cast as a complete whole .
In a sense, this is more like Tesla using a die-casting machine to press out a bathtub.
If this die-casting part is installed, the underbody of the car body, which originally had more than 400 parts, will be integrated without complicated assembly. It is logical for Musk to "optimize" a few robots.
In addition, the person familiar with the matter also said that the new breakthrough in integrated die-casting also allows Tesla to seize the opportunity in the development of new cars.
New cars developed according to the traditional model often take 3 to 4 years, but with the support of new technologies, the development time will be compressed to less than 2 years . In other words, ship disaster turning around will no longer exist.
Tesla is rumored to be evaluating the practical feasibility of the technology and will make a decision this month.
In addition, Tesla also plans to carry out a modular upgrade of vehicle assembly on the "next generation platform". The entire vehicle assembly will be transformed from the original gradual installation of the frame to the assembly of different modules separately and then combined into one, thereby further improving efficiency. With integrated die-casting, the parts required for the vehicle will be greatly reduced, and the process will be more compact and simple, and all of this can be summed up in one sentence:
Time is money, efficiency is life.
Do consumers benefit from cost reduction and efficiency improvement?
Reducing costs and improving efficiency means higher profits per vehicle, and car companies with profit margins will choose to lower selling prices to maintain high competitiveness. This is simple business logic, and generally speaking, both businesses and consumers can benefit from it.
But that's not entirely the case with one-piece die-casting.
When buying a car, one-piece die-casting has only advantages: it makes the car body safer, makes the vehicle more affordable, and also reflects the sense of technology in the sales mouth.
But for consumers who don’t know much about the characteristics of one-piece die-casting, they will be surprised by the price when buying a car, and they will be surprised by the repair bill after a collision:
Why is a light touch so expensive?
▲On social networks, Tesla’s expensive repairs are a hot topic
Yes, the problem caused by large-scale one-piece die-casting is a comprehensive setback in maintenance economy.
On models that do not have huge single components, small bumps usually only require the replacement of related parts, such as the Ship of Theseus. Repairs can still be used, but on cars using one-piece die-cast parts, things are different. .
If you accidentally hit the location of the one-piece die-cast component (on Model Y, the rear wheel arch and the sides of the rear bumper are the hardest hit areas), then there is a high probability that you will face component cutting and high repair costs, and just A car that was bought not long ago is labeled as an "accidented car", and even the second-hand residual value will be greatly affected.
▲"My new car!"
In the China Insurance Auto Safety Index (C-IASI) evaluation released by China Insurance Research and Development, Model Y received the highest rating of "Excellent" in all safety tests, except in the "Crashworthiness and Maintenance Economics" project. , and was given the lowest "poor" grade.
The main theme is: I can help you save your life, but you still have to pay the price.
The other side of the cost reduction of integrated die-casting is the transfer of hidden costs. Once a collision occurs, the car owner's wallet will suffer.
This can be seen as a one-way bet between car owners: if there is no collision, the low price brought about by the cost reduction will make the car owner smile; if there is a collision, he will have to bear the high repair costs with a sad face.
For now, the optimal solution to the problem of high repair costs caused by one-piece die-casting is still "don't hit it."
But in the future, if Tesla further expands the one-piece die-casting, the whole car will be close to "several large parts", and this problem will become more prominent: a small bump may have an impact on the entire vehicle.
However, under the influence of the market, I believe that even Tesla will find it difficult to ignore the impact of this huge hidden cost on consumers – if everyone understands the potential risk of "a bump once, destroying the entire vehicle", this car will How to sell it?
In fact, Tesla is not the only one using large single components.
The McLaren sports car that emerged from the F1 arena is proud of its monocoque cockpit made of carbon fiber. It is the same as one-piece die-cast parts. Lightweight and safety are the advantages of the monocoque cockpit, and it is difficult to repair. It's a disadvantage.
But McLaren can say that our customers are not short of money, and in a high-speed sports car, nothing is more important than safety.
Car companies that produce ordinary civilian cars obviously don't have the confidence to say this.
However, in the face of obvious advantages in cost, efficiency, and safety, integrated die-casting is becoming "the general trend."
After Tesla was exposed to a breakthrough in integrated die-casting technology, Toyota immediately disclosed its own body-integrated die-casting technology. Toyota's goal is equally clear, which is to reduce production processes and costs, thereby increasing profits, especially in the electric vehicle field, which is currently in a quagmire.
Another company that has been doing a lot of one-piece die-casting recently is Jikrypton.
Jikrypton 009 uses one-piece die-casting to manufacture the rear body parts, while Jikrypton 001 FR is the world's first "dragonfly structure" with one-piece die-casting in the middle section.
Jikrypton’s Vice President Zhao Chunlin recently posted a blog post alluding to Tesla’s “die-casting parts from a friendly company that cannot be shipped out of Jikrypton’s factory.” He also highlighted in the accompanying picture that Jikrypton’s die-casting design is less susceptible to collisions than Tesla’s. , more "easy to cultivate".
But no matter what, the advantages and disadvantages of integrated die-casting are still obvious. For car companies, as long as the technology is in place and one-piece die-casting is used, there is really no reason not to use it.
After all, the reduction in cost and selling price is equally attractive to car companies and consumers. The reduction in cost brings about the reduction in selling price, promotes sales, further dilutes the cost of a single vehicle, and sales volume can also move towards a positive cycle.
For consumers, the reduction in selling price is obviously easier to perceive than the potential risk of collision repair. The only obstacle that prevents car companies from launching integrated die-casting is technology.
Of course, as active safety gradually matures, collision accidents should gradually decrease. And if a major accident unfortunately occurs, the safety brought by one-piece die-casting is obviously more worth it than the maintenance cost.
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