Tesla’s Gigafactory Berlin facility is widely believed to be capable of producing 500,000 vehicles per year in its first phase, which is expected to start operations later this year. Considering that there are eight Giga Presses that are getting set up in the Phase 1 area, however, it would seem that Tesla may be underpromising with regards to Giga Berlin’s potential annual output.
Produced by IDRA, the Giga Press is a house-sized machine capable of producing the megacasts necessary to build the Model Y’s front and rear underbody. The machines themselves are daunting, with each Giga Press taking up to 24 flatbed trucks to transport its components. As per the Giga Press’ specifications, each machine has a cycle time of ~80-90 seconds, allowing an output rate of 40-45 completed castings per hour. This translates to about ~1,000 castings per day, for each Giga Press.
If one were to assume that Tesla uses three megacasts per Model Y and a 20% downtime for each Giga Press, the Germany-based plant may very well be on track to produce significantly more than the 500,000 vehicles that the EV maker has declared in its filings. Rough estimates from the Tesla community have mentioned numbers beyond 1 million vehicles annually from Giga Berlin’s Phase 1 alone. While optimistic, this figure does not seem implausible considering that there will be eight Giga Presses deployed on the site.
Tesla currently has two Giga Press machines in the Fremont Factory that are producing the rear megacast for the Model Y’s underbody. Drone flyovers in the area suggest that Tesla’s Fremont-based Giga Presses have a cycle time of about 170 seconds per casting, likely due to the machines not being fully optimized yet. Considering that IDRA estimates each Giga Press to have a cycle time of ~80-90 seconds, Tesla’s Fremont machines still have a lot of space to optimize their operations.
Interestingly enough, a report from Germany last July hinted that Tesla is actually planning on producing 2 million vehicles per year in the Giga Berlin complex, allowing the EV maker to command about 16% of the expected electric car market share in Europe. If Phase 1 alone could produce more than 500,000 vehicles per year with its eight Giga Presses, a 2-million annual output for the entire Germany-based Tesla plant may very well be realistic.
This is especially notable considering that Tesla will not only be building the Model Y in Giga Berlin. While the company will launch the site with the production of the all-electric crossover, Tesla has also hinted at the Model 3 sedan being manufactured at the Germany-based facility. Elon Musk has noted that Tesla intends to produce a yet-to-be-announced vehicle on the site as well, and it would be one specifically tailored for the European market. Each of these vehicles—the Model Y, the Model 3, and a potential compact car—will likely drive a lot of demand for Tesla’s vehicles, requiring Giga Berlin to produce far more vehicles annually than initially expected.
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