Sandy Munro on 4680 Batteries, Structural Batteries and Gigacasting

Sandy Munro talked about Tesla’s key near term technology. He indicates that Panasonic shifting to provide 4680 batteries will make it far faster to ramp 4680. Once any chemistry issues are worked out then changing an existing 2170 battery production line to 4680 will take about two months.

The front and rear gigacasting and the structural battery pack will be able to make the rolling frame. It could be possible to add the top inside structural body in black from a casting system. It would then be possible to finish the car body with snap on plastic panels.

The casting takes milliseconds. The cast then needs to cool and then have some minor finishing work. This makes the casting process faster, almost no labor and it produces a perfect product. The old welding hundreds of parts together is slower, labor intensive and takes huge effort to get a quality product.

Sandy does not believe other car makers will follow Tesla into casting. Engineers and technicians who make a choice between what is better for the car versus what is better for their career will choose their career.

SOURCES- David Lee Investing
Written by Brian Wang, (Brian owns shares of Tesla)

25 thoughts on “Sandy Munro on 4680 Batteries, Structural Batteries and Gigacasting”

  1. Its getting embarrassing watching Musk's ventures competing with their peers. I have watched his development ventures at Baca Chica since day one. They used to use ladders to climb up on their rockets to work on them with wires and pipes fixed to the outer side of the rockets. I have friends in the industry who used to comment how ragged the rockets looked. But Space X was focusing on what they were doing. These rockets were not going to fly. They were focused on and developing the parts. I have been debating when to buy an electric vehicle. I think I will bite the bullet and put my deposit down of a Y and get in line for delivery. It looks like he is building this thing for rapid replacement of the whole battery pack and if the body will be snapped on in whole or by pieces that will solve the problem of a future fender bender.

  2. Typically the reason that happens, is that the car has passed the point where the salvage value of all the parts that can be stripped off it is greater than its remaining value as a car minus the cost of repair.

    It's not like a 'total loss' car gets destroyed. It becomes spare parts.

  3. "choice between what is better for the car versus what is better for their career will choose their career."
    If that were true we would still be driving the Model T.
    Every manufacturer wants to get either the biggest bang for the buck or a certain bang for the least bucks.
    If the giga casting is a good idea for manufacturing others will emulate it.

  4. If the battery packs are only halfway through their life when the car body is wrecked, there should quickly grow up a recycling industry that strips out the batteries and rebuilds them into power walls or something.

    Unless of course someone manages to accidentally make it against the law, and by pure coincidence gets a $200k/year consultancy gig at a battery company the year after they leave office. But what are the odds of that?

  5. Which is a shame. Even on a $50K car, a damage threshold surpassing some percentage of the cars value is enough to declare it a total loss. It’s a wasteful practice.

  6. At what point is it better to have a full swap of the casting? As this approaches monocoque structurally, any serious damage is likely terminal for that module segment.

  7. That's cool. The important part for me though is battery pack compatibility. The most expensive part of the electric car is the battery, in a vehicle that is still more expensive than ICE vehicles for now.
    If my battery last a million miles or more, I would like to be able to pull the battery from my old car body and install it in the new car body, lowering the amount of money I have to spend. I know that they are talking about repurposing the old battery packs for grid storage, but that doesn't interest me much. Has the battery pack compatibility been addressed to anyone's knowledge? Not much point of having a battery that last a million+ miles if the car body lasts five hundred thousand or less.

  8. I guess a little above ordinary auto body technician with ordinary methods. He needs to know how to cut and weld. Tesla or any other brand after collision the car is structurally never the same, higher risks,.. You can repair the obviously problems but there can be hidden micro-fractures and it is a gamble.

  9. I guess 10-100ms sounds impressive if you think about it. I'm a production tooling engineer, I tend to think in terms of machine cycles. The injection time is low enough that it's not really much of an influence on production rates, given how long it takes to cool, open the tool, remove the part, and get the tool closed again. So I don't get excited about the numbers. Now, if you could cut the cooling time in half, that would really be something. (There's someplace metal 3d printing is helpful!)

    It's the same for plastic injection molding, by the way: The actual injection time is low enough to not materially influence production rates, and was even back in the 70's, when I was a hopper boy, cleaning the filters on vacuum loaders and making sure the plastic didn't run low.

  10. Combinatorics raises a good question :

    A Tesla gets into a fender bender with another car. The front end of the Tesla is damaged. How do you repair it? How much would it cost? Who is trained to repair a gigacast?

  11. That is a great question. A Tesla gets into a fender bender with another car. The front end of the Tesla is damaged. How do you repair it? How much would it cost? Who is trained to repair a gigacast?

  12. "The casting takes milliseconds. The cast then needs to cool" but it needs to cool in the die! I find the info that the injection itself is fast non trivial.

  13. There is no "cool it too quickly" in high pressure die casting, so long as you get it cooled enough all the way through. The faster you cool it, the better the microstructure is.

    If you have an accident that's bad enough to warp the die cast frame? You junk it.

  14. If you cool it too quickly it wouldn’t’ be structurally sound.

    How do you fix the cast part if you have an accident? Replace the car frame? ($$$)

  15. Well, yes, obviously, but it remains that the die casting cycle takes thousands of milliseconds. It's only the metal injection itself that could sensibly be said to take milliseconds. 

    It's cooling the part enough that you dare open the die that is the limiting step, and even with water cooled dies, you can't force that to happen almost instantly.

  16. I had assumed a *press* would *stamp*, but here it also can hold a casting of molten metal. *Die* is the word I was missing. The Studebaker machine was surely a stamping press. Can't do what Tesla is doing with a stamp.

  17. Terms are used generically for laymen, unless more detail is required, which really isn’t needed for a discussion/interview of this scope.

  18. "Sandy does not believe other car makers will follow Tesla into casting." Right before going out, Studebaker had proudly announced a casting press that could do a whole door in one step. And, "cast" is pouring molten metal into a mold, "stamp" is what is going on here, right? Wrong! High-pressure die casting is a process in which molten metal is forced under pressure into a securely locked metal die
    cavity, where it is held by a powerful press until the metal
    solidifies. After solidification of the metal, the die is unlocked,
    opened, and the casting ejected.

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