Tesla’s Model Y casting machine, commonly referred to as the “Giga Press,” has been installed at the company’s Fremont production facility, and it will bring a new age of efficiency and quality to the electric automaker’s first crossover SUV.
The casting machine has been talked about since early 2020 when CEO Elon Musk stated on an episode of the Third Row Podcast that Tesla would be purchasing the assembly to assist with the production efficiency of the Model Y.
It appears that the Giga Press has been successfully installed in Fremont based on a pair of tweets from both Musk and, who indicated that the casting apparatus was available for use at the Northern California plant.
Will be amazing to see it in operation! Biggest casting machine ever made. Will make rear body in a single piece, including crash rails.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) August 13, 2020
Musk seems enthusiastic about the Model Y casting machine, hinting toward the purpose of the device, which will revolutionize the way the electric car is built, paving the way for production efficiency across the world. Tesla is planning to use the casting device in Fremont, but also in Shanghai, where it was first spotted in April.
The sizeable Giga Press has been compared to a small house, measuring 64 ft (19.5 m) long and 17 ft (5.3 m) tall, and weighing in at 410 tons.
The rear portion of the vehicle will be cast in a single piece, which has a noticeable distinction compared to the Model 3, which contained over 70 individual parts on the rear portion of the vehicle.
Early production versions of the Model Y had evidently shown significant improvements in the number of auto parts that made up the rear section of the vehicle. Automotive teardown expert Sandy Munro noticed the improvement during his breakdown of the Model Y.
Although the Model Y was a highly optimized automobile during its early production, Tesla has still focused on improving the efficiency of the manufacturing process overall. There is evidence that the casting machine could save Tesla 20% on labor costs, which is an estimate from Laurie Harbour, president of Harbour Results Inc., a manufacturing consultancy firm.
While cost-effectiveness is undoubtedly critical for any company, the casting machine will accelerate and optimize Tesla’s ability to produce the Model Y across the world, which could help the company reach lofty production goals for years to come.
In Tesla’s Q2 2020 Earnings Letter, the electric automaker indicated that despite multiple production facility closures throughout 2020, it would not revise its production goal for the fiscal year.
In the letter, Tesla said:
“We have the capacity installed to exceed 500,000 vehicle deliveries this year, despite recent production interruptions. While achieving this goal has become more difficult, delivering half a million vehicles in 2020 remains our target.”
Tesla delivered 179,387 vehicles through the first two quarters of the year, so the company is technically behind schedule to reach its 2020 targets. However, demand for the company’s cars is healthy, and with expanding production lines and production efficiencies like the Model Y casting machine, there is a case that Tesla could still reach its goal before the year comes to an end.
Tesla’s use of the Giga Press could help the company manufacture about 1 million vehicles a year, opening the door for faster delivery times for customers, and increased production rates at all of the company’s production plants.