The use of Giga Presses may be considered futile and ill-conceived by Tesla skeptics, but it appears that some veteran automakers are currently preparing to adopt the technology for their next generation electric vehicles. First up seems to be Volvo, which recently noted that its Torslanda factory in Sweden, one of the company’s oldest and largest plants, would be shifting to the use of megacasts within the coming years.
Similar to Tesla, which practically pioneered the use of megacasts by using them for the Model Y, Volvo would be using the massive components for its next-generation electric vehicles. In a statement to Automotive News Europe, Volvo Solution Architect Vehicle Platform Mikael Fermer remarked that the use of megacasts is one of the company’s biggest technological shifts. “This is the biggest technology shift since we switched from wood to steel (for car bodies),” Fermer said.
The Torslanda factory is one of Volvo’s most historical sites, having been opened in April 1964. The facility is expected to receive numerous changes during its transition into an electric vehicle factory. A battery assembly plant would be added to the site, which would allow the automaker to integrate battery cells and modules to the floor structures of its upcoming EVs.
Volvo’s head of engineering and operations Javier Varela noted that the shift to the use of megacasts could result in 75% time savings compared with how large aluminum body components are traditionally put together today. “You avoid the stamping and welding processes and replace them with a megacasting process that is a one-shot injection followed by some tweaks after the injection,” Varela said.
Varela also noted that ultimately, the use of megacasted parts should allow Volvo to enjoy some sustainability benefits. “All the aluminum that you are injecting is used. You don’t have any scrap like you do with stamping,” Varela added.
While exciting, the utilization of megacasts in Volvo’s Torslanda plant is expected to start around 2025. By this time, the factory would likely also be ready to start the full production of the company’s next-generation EVs. Today, the Torslanda plant produces vehicles like the Volvo XC90 and XC60 SUVs, as well as the V90 station wagon.
Interestingly enough, it is not just Volvo that is looking to adopt megacasts in their future vehicle production. Other automakers such as German luxury car maker Mercedes-Benz is reportedly looking to utilize single-piece casts as well. Mercedes-Benz is reportedly looking to utilize megacasts to form the rear of its EQXX concept, which made its debut in Las Vegas last month during CES 2022.
Volvo is yet to announce if it is also purchasing Giga Presses from the IDRA Group, the company currently producing Tesla’s machines. That being said, the automaker did state that it was speaking with leading machine manufacturers to help the company make the switch to megacasts at the Torslanda site. No final decisions have been made yet, however, according to a Volvo spokesperson.
Volvo is looking to make half of its global vehicle sales from battery-powered cars by 2025. By 2030, the company plans to be an electric-only carmaker. To help foster and accelerate this transition, Volvo has announced investments totaling over $4 billion over the past two years.
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