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Volvo will build electric cars using Tesla’s signature megacasting process

Volvo plans to roll out several new electric models in the coming years, including the C40 Recharge picture above.

Volvo

  • Volvo is spending $1.1 billion upgrading its Swedish auto plant for electric-car production. 
  • It’s taking a page out of Tesla’s playbook by introducing the process of megacasting. 
  • Volvo aims to be an electric-only carmaker by 2030. 

Volvo, like practically every carmaker on the planet, is diving headfirst into electric cars. It’s taking a page out of Tesla’s playbook as it prepares an onslaught of new battery-powered models. 

As part of the electric transition, the company said Tuesday that it plans to spend $1.1 billion upgrading its Swedish auto plant. Volvo is introducing new manufacturing processes, including megacasting, a technique pioneered by Tesla. 

Casting large pieces of a car’s body in aluminum theoretically reduces manufacturing complexity. It means a vehicle’s underlying structure can be composed of a few bigger pieces, rather than a patchwork of smaller stamped components, that are welded together. 

Tesla uses giant casting machines to make parts of the underbody of its Model Y SUV. Elon Musk plans to expand the use of casting over time, eventually making both the front and rear underbodies of the Model Y out of individual pieces of aluminum. According to Musk, the casting machine at Tesla’s Shanghai plant is “the largest and most advanced casting machine ever made.”

Tesla plans to use an even larger piece of equipment to churn out the rear body of the long-awaited Cybertruck pickup truck. 

Using megacasting for Volvo’s next-generation electric vehicles — particularly for the floor structure — will help reduce weight, improve efficiency, and boost driving range, the company said.

“This is the biggest technology shift since we switched from wood to steel,” a Volvo engineer told Automotive News Europe. Volvo’s head of engineering and operations told the outlet that the new process will cut down the time it takes to assemble large aluminum parts by 75%. 

The $1 billion investment will also allow Volvo to revamp the Torslanda plant’s paint and final assembly areas and build a battery assembly plant. Volvo also recently announced a roughly $3 billion investment with battery maker Northvolt to develop and manufacture battery packs. Volvo aims to be an all-electric car company by 2030. 

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