Cheap Teslas: The Future of Electric Cars?
Tesla unveiled a new manufacturing process for their vehicles at Investors Day that promises to cut costs by half.
Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla, has talked a lot about how the way cars are built today is not very efficient and needs to be improved. Even though Tesla has made some changes to the process, cars are still built in a similar way to how they were over 100 years ago when the first moving assembly line was introduced by Ford.
Vehicle assembly process
To understand how a car is manufactured, we can divide the process in two main parts:
- Body in white and paint
- Assembling the rest of the car
To build the skeleton of the car that forms the structure, lots of parts are assembled by robots to mount the frame, chassis, and other internal parts of the vehicle’s structure.
Afterward, the stamped panels that form the doors, roof, hood, trunk, and the rest of the closing are assembled into the structure before entering the paint shop to protect the materials and give them the finish color.
This first part of the manufacturing process is highly automated and involves hundreds of robotic arms and larger robots to move the whole structure across the assembly line.
After the painting process, the doors are unassembled and all the other parts need to be mounted through the doors and hood holes in a choreographed dance that involves fewer robots and more humans.
These are counted by hundreds and they are part of the power train, dashboard, seats, upholstery, wheels, etc.
When the interior is finished, the doors are mounted again and the glasses are attached.
This is the standard process that all car manufacturers follow and has been refined over many years to be one of the best and most efficient ways to make such a common and complex piece of engineering that we use every day.