Report: Tesla Ditched Next-Generation Gigacasting Plans

Chris Teague
by Chris Teague

While the impacts of Tesla recent Supercharger team layoffs remain to be seen, reports have surfaced that it’s giving up on another of its innovations. Reuters sources said the automaker has scrapped plans to further develop its gigacasting efforts, which drastically reduces the complexities involved with manufacturing unibody vehicles.

Tesla had pushed toward developing a new platform for smaller, more affordable vehicles and initially thought it would cast the body in one piece. Those plans have been scrapped in favor of casting in three pieces, similar to the way it makes components for some existing models. While not the cutting-edge innovation Tesla wanted, it’s still worth noting that a three-piece casting process is still significantly less complex than more traditional manufacturing methods, which can involve hundreds of components.

This is yet another sign that Tesla is facing increasingly fierce competition from Chinese companies and other automakers. It could also point to tightening profit margins and softening demand for EVs, especially in the United States. The automaker is constantly adjusting its pricing, recently slashing the cost of Full Self-Driving tech and bumping the price of the brand-new Model 3 Performance by $1,000.

Many have speculated that Tesla may be shifting its strategy to focus on robotaxis and autonomous technologies over vehicle sales numbers, though CEO Elon Musk recently said the company had developed a streamlined production process to help it build more affordable vehicles. Earlier Reuters reports noted that Tesla had scrapped plans for the cheaper models altogether, but Musk’s latest announcements point to the automaker using its existing platforms and production facilities to build the new vehicle.

[Image: Gofra via Shutterstock]

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Chris Teague
Chris Teague

Chris grew up in, under, and around cars, but took the long way around to becoming an automotive writer. After a career in technology consulting and a trip through business school, Chris began writing about the automotive industry as a way to reconnect with his passion and get behind the wheel of a new car every week. He focuses on taking complex industry stories and making them digestible by any reader. Just don’t expect him to stay away from high-mileage Porsches.

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  • ToolGuy ToolGuy on May 02, 2024

    Some of my first cars were die-cast from pot-metal in 2 pieces: body-in-white plus chassis. I spray-painted some of them, the masking was a pain. The tires did burn realistically.

  • 3SpeedAutomatic 3SpeedAutomatic on May 03, 2024

    Elon took his eye off the ball while pre-occupied with "X" (formerly Twitter). Now, Tesla is coming around and biting him on the arse!!

    In the car business, you need to keep you finger on the pulse. Momentum will only carry you so far. If in doubt, think Lordstown and Fisker. He thinks technology will solve his problems. However, Telsa has moved from premier product to commodity with other manufacturers entering his exclusive domain.

    Time for Elon to fly back to Tesla HQ and come up with a long term plan. 🚗🚗🚗

    • Jeff Jeff on May 03, 2024

      Agree but I doubt Elon will give Tesla the focus it needs if things went south for Tesla.

  • 3-On-The-Tree I don’t think Toyotas going down.
  • ToolGuy Random thoughts (bulleted list because it should work on this page):• Carlos Tavares is a very smart individual.• I get the sense that the western hemisphere portion of Stellantis was even more messed up than he originally believed (I have no data), which is why the plan (old plan, original plan) has taken longer than expected (longer than I expected).• All the OEMs who have taken a serious look at what is happening with EVs in China have had to take a step back and reassess (oversimplification: they were thinking mostly business-as-usual with some tweaks here and there, and now realize they have bigger issues, much bigger, really big).• You (dear TTAC reader) aren't ready to hear this yet, but the EV thing is a tsunami (the thing has already done the thing, just hasn't reached you yet). I hesitate to even tell you, but it is the truth.
  • ToolGuy ¶ I have kicked around doing an engine rebuild at some point (I never have on an automobile); right now my interest level in that is pretty low, say 2/5.¶ It could be interesting to do an engine swap at some point (also haven't done that), call that 2/5 as well.¶ Building a kit car would be interesting but a big commitment, let's say 1/5 realistically.¶ Frame-up restoration, very little interest, 1/5.¶ I have repainted a vehicle (down to bare metal) and that was interesting/engaging (didn't have the right facilities, but made it work, sort of lol).¶ Taking a vehicle which I like where the ICE has given out and converting it to EV sounds engaging and appealing. Would not do it anytime soon, maybe 3 to 5 years out. Current interest level 4/5.¶ Building my own car (from scratch) would have some significant hurdles. Unless I started my own car company, which might involve other hurdles. 😉
  • Rover Sig "Value" is what people perceive as its worth. What is the worth or value of an EV somebody creates out of a used car? People value different things, but for a vehicle, people generally ascribe worth in terms of reliability, maintainability, safety, appearance and style, utility (payload, range, etc.), convenience, operating cost, projected life, support network, etc. "Value for money" means how much worth would people think it had compared to competing vehicles on the market, in other words, would it be a good deal to buy one, compared to other vehicles one could get? Consider what price you would have to ask for it, including the parts and labor you put into it, because that would affect the “for the money” part of the “value for money” calculation. An indicator of whether people think an EV-built-in-a-used-car would provide "value for money" is the current level of demand for used cars turned into EVs. Are there a lot of people looking for these on the market? Or would building one just be a hobby? Repairing an existing EV, bringing it back into spec, might create better value for the money. Although demand for EVs is reportedly down recently.
  • ToolGuy Those of you who aren't listening to the TTAC Podcast, you really don't know what you are missing.