Tesla’s new electric car platform detailed

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Elon Musk and colleagues outline how Tesla will make factories and cars more efficient; hints at new car and platform.

Elon Musk and colleagues outline how Tesla will make factories and cars more efficient; hints at new car and platform.

Tesla bosses have given early details of how new production processes and technical innovations will help it massively boost the efficiency of both its factories and vehicles.

In a wide-reaching strategy presentation termed Masterplan 3, available to watch below, CEO Elon Musk and other Tesla managers gave updates on a wide array of developments for the EV firm, ranging from advances in electric motor technology to new car construction processes which speed up the production process.

It had been expected that the presentation would shed light on the long-delayed Cybertruck and Roadster models, future production facilities, new vehicle construction practices and – most widely reported – an entirely new vehicle architecture.

Global reports also suggested Musk could give new details of Tesla’s long-mooted ‘affordable’ EV, which would be smaller and cheaper than the hugely popular Tesla Model 3 – and provide the Californian company with a rival to the Volkswagen ID 3.

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Details of the next Tesla car have been kept largely under wraps, with engineering boss Lars Moravy going so far only as to confirm that “it would not be a Model Y” that benefits from the outlined production advances, as was depicted in an illustration which showed the innovations.

His colleague, Tesla design boss Franz von Holzhausen, said details of the firm’s next car (widely anticipated to be a more affordable model to sit underneath the Model 3) would come “at a later date”.

The pair did confirm, however, that the Cybertruck will enter series production later this year.

Bosses explained that new methods of vehicle production, first explored during development of the angular, unpainted Cybertruck, allow for a 40 per cent reduction in factory footprint, cost savings of up to 50 per cent and a drastic reduction in risk of delays at each stage of the production line.

Fundamentally, Tesla will look to minimise the amount of work needed at each stage of the process. For example, the seats will be mounted directly to the under-floor battery pack, with the entire unit then raised up into a body shell that has been painted in sections to avoid the need for door removal and re-installation.

The innovations come in response to the production setbacks which has hampered the roll-out of the Model 3 since it launched in 2019. “It landed us in production hell”, said Moravy, explaining that today’s established mass-production processes are based on those pioneered by Henry Ford. “It’s hard to change the car production process after 100 years,” he explained.

The new model is, essentially, centred around “only doing things that are necessary” – which is to say avoiding any unnecessary movement or disassembly of the car or its components during its journey down the line.

At a vehicle level, upgrades to battery and motor technology have resulted in a 75% reduction in silicon carbide, and mean the firm’s next platform will be able to accept batteries of any chemistry. Powertrain boss Colin Campbell added that the next-generation Tesla EV motor will not use any rare earth metals in its construction.

All in, Tesla estimates that its new platform will reduce construction cost per vehicle by around $1000 (£830).

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