Why Tesla Cuts Model Y Price (Again)

Tesla has drastically reduced the price of its best-selling car in the United States. The target price is expected to be around $25,000.

Elon Musk’s September 2020 announcement regarding Tesla’s adoption of integrated die casting technology for the Model Y’s rear body underbody heralded a transformative shift in automotive manufacturing. Departing from traditional methods reliant on stamping and welding, Tesla’s bold move to consolidate over 370 structural components into just 2-3 large castings marked a watershed moment in the industry.

Traditionally, car body underbody production involved labor-intensive stamping and welding processes, characterized by lengthy production cycles, high warehousing costs, complex welding processes, and low material recycling rates. For Musk, committed to maximizing manufacturing efficiency and simplifying processes, these inefficiencies were untenable.

In response, Tesla introduced the Giga Press in August 2020—a super die-casting machine inspired by a toy car model on Musk’s desk. This colossal machine, weighing 410 tons and covering an area equivalent to 1.5 badminton courts, simplifies the production process by injecting hot liquid or semi-liquid metal into molds, cooling and forming them to precise specifications.

The innovation lies in Tesla’s expansion of die-casting technology beyond small, non-structural components to encompass large structural elements like the front and rear body underbodies. Leveraging exclusive expertise in die-casting technology and materials, Tesla customized the world’s largest die-casting machine, boasting a clamping force exceeding 6,000 tons, to accommodate the Model Y’s rear body underbody.

To address challenges like dimensional errors and limited application scenarios arising from thermal processing, Tesla collaborated with aluminum alloy expert Charles “Chuck” Kuehmann to develop heat-treated aluminum alloys suitable for structural components. This breakthrough facilitated the integration of die casting into Tesla’s manufacturing process, ensuring dimensional accuracy and structural integrity.

Tesla’s commitment to innovation is evidenced by the widespread adoption of giant die-casting machines across its factories worldwide. Notably, the Tesla Texas factory achieved integrated die-casting of the Model Y’s front and rear body underbodies, signaling the realization of Musk’s vision outlined at Battery Day.

With production technology maturing and costs decreasing, Tesla has successfully lowered the price of the Model Y, signaling a new era of affordability and accessibility in electric vehicle ownership. As Tesla continues to push boundaries and innovate, the promise of low-cost, sustainable transportation edges closer to reality.

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