Aluminum Parts Supplier For Tesla Model 3 Announces Investment To Boost Production

7 months ago by Steven Loveday 13

The Tesla Model 3 will likely be constructed of a notable amount of aluminum, due to its minimal weight compared to steel.

The Tesla Model 3 will likely be constructed of a notable amount of aluminum, due to its minimal weight compared to steel.

We still don’t know that ratio of aluminum to steel in the upcoming Tesla Model 3, but one can assume that, like other Tesla models, aluminum will be a critical component.

This assumption was strengthened by a report from Japanese news website, Nikkei, stating that a Japanese aluminum supplier for Tesla has ramped up production, and is setting future goals.

The Tesla Model 3 supposed to begin pilot production this week, days ahead of Tesla's fourth-quarter earnings call.

The Tesla Model 3 supposed to begin pilot production this week, days ahead of Tesla’s fourth-quarter earnings call.

The company, UACJ, will invest ~$26 million into a company division that produces aluminum automotive parts for the Tesla Model 3. The goal of the investment is to boost production at its Michigan base by about 50 percent by December 2017.

Tesla has been explicitly clear with suppliers regarding timeline and expectations. The company has stated publicly that it can only be as successful as it weakest and slowest suppliers. This is, in part, a way for the company to steer blame when missing deadlines, but also read as a word of caution to suppliers. If a supplier isn’t satisfying Tesla, the automaker will find another option.

With more news surfacing from Tesla’s Q4 report yesterday (details) surrounding Fremont factory preparations, Model 3 pre-production that started this month, and a start of production in July, the “drop-dead” date is upon us.

Tesla has already nixed at least one supplier for not complying with its requirements. The automaker cancelled a $100-million order for axle drive pumps. Being that Tesla keeps much information private until the final moments, suppliers have to be proactive. In the event that Tesla Model 3 production meets the company’s July 2017 goal, suppliers will have to be diligent to assure that production moves forward as planned.

Source: Nikkei, Electrek

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13 responses to "Aluminum Parts Supplier For Tesla Model 3 Announces Investment To Boost Production"

  1. Leptoquark says:

    Well, if the production is in Michigan, it should pass the Trump test.

    1. SJC says:

      CEOs do what is best for their company,
      not what some blow hard liar says.

  2. Kdawg says:

    Interesting history. “UACJ” has only existed since 2013, and US operations since 2014.

    http://www.uacj.co.jp/english/company/profile/history.htm

    1. Kdawg says:

      Looks like the Michigan operations are in Ludington, and that came from buying Whitehall Industries about a year ago.

      http://www.whitehallindustries.com/index.html

  3. ffbj says:

    Suppliers should making herculean efforts in order not to get hit with the Musk ban hammer.
    Forewarned is forearmed.

  4. Bob Nan says:

    If Japanese company is supplying parts to Tesla, then they should buy this car as well.

  5. Ocean Railroader says:

    I remember reading that the price of Aluminum as a global commodity is really low right now to the point a lot of counties are complaining about one another dumping cheap Aluminum on to the market.

    I guess 400,000 Aluminum based cars right now would be a really big help.

    1. super390 says:

      Yes, but it takes a lot of energy to make things out of aluminum if you’re starting with bauxite. So using more steel lets you say your manufacturing has less impact, as if anyone really takes that seriously compared to the car’s propulsion energy.

      1. Priusmaniac says:

        Not sure making steel using coal to reduce the iron oxide ore would produce less CO2 than the electricity needed to electrolyse the Aluminum oxide. In more the electricity can be green which is impossible for the coal.

        1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

          I thought most steel making plants used electric crucibles these days, but I could be wrong.

          However, as super390 said, that’s arguing over trifles. The amount of pollution, and CO2, generated during manufacturing is a drop in the bucket compared to refinery+car exhaust emissions vs. electric power plant exhaust emissions (if any) over the lifetime of the car.

          1. RussB says:

            Not a drop in the bucket at all – if you look at the LowCVP report referenced below, it looks like about a quarter of the total emissions for a petrol car and as much as half for a future BEV.

        2. RussB says:

          Aluminium from bauxite can have anywhere from ~4 to ~10 times the GHG emissions of steel from iron ore, depending on the GHG intensity of the grid. Because BEVs use energy so efficiently, it can be difficult to make up that extra energy in the driving phase.

          http://www.lowcvp.org.uk/assets/reports/CONFERENCE%202013%20Final%20Report_Lifecycle%20CO2%20Assessment%20of%20Low%20Carbon%20Cars%202020-2030_PEJuly2013.pdf

  6. Mister G says:

    GO TESLA GO KICK SOME SUPPLIER ARSE