Tesla’s Elon Musk talks single cast design and its collision repair strategy

(Credit: Tesla)

Elon Musk recently shared some details about Tesla’s collision repair strategy when the company rolls out its vehicles that are built using single-piece castings. The update provides a glimpse at Tesla’s emerging approach to vehicle maintenance and repair, an aspect of the electric car maker’s business that will likely be more notable as the company grows.

Considering that Tesla’s vehicles will be built with large, single-piece casts, members of the electric vehicle community have been inquiring about the company’s strategy for repairing damages from incidents like minor collisions. It would be quite challenging to replace vehicle parts, after all, if the electric cars are only comprised of a few, massive, casted pieces.

Inasmuch as this may be the case, Tesla appears to have come up with a rather novel solution for the potential challenges that will be brought about by single-piece casts. According to Musk, the crash absorption rails of vehicles like the Made-in-Germany Model Y could simply be “cut off & replaced with a bolted part for collision repair.”

Considering that Teslas are already challenging and costly to repair today, it would be quite interesting to see if the company’s use of bolt-on parts would make repairs cheaper or more expensive.

Apart from his updates about Tesla’s collision repair strategy, the Tesla CEO also provided some details about the electric car maker’s structural battery packs, which are expected to be utilized for upcoming vehicles like the Model S Plaid, Cybertruck, and the Made-in-Germany Model Y. According to Musk, structural battery packs would make Tesla’s vehicles safer, as they provide better torsional rigidity and an improved polar moment of inertia.

“Battery pack will be a bonded structure with cells providing shear transfer between steel upper & lower face sheets, eliminating most of the center body parts while providing better torsional rigidity and improved polar moment of inertia. This is a major breakthrough,” Musk noted.

Interestingly enough, this detail was actually explained previously by automotive teardown expert Sandy Munro, who noted that a structural battery would make Teslas safer and less prone to untoward incidents like fires. Musk, for his part, appears to have validated Munro’s insights recently, stating on Twitter that the veteran “knows engineering.”

Some of Sandy Munro’s insights about Tesla’s structural battery pack could be viewed below.

Simon Alvarez: Simon is a reporter with a passion for electric cars and clean energy. Fascinated by the world envisioned by Elon Musk, he hopes to make it to Mars (at least as a tourist) someday.
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