Austrian Supplier Secures Order For 1,864 Miles Of Aluminum Cabling For Model 3

6 months ago by Steven Loveday 35

Tesla Model 3 – Image Via Datcode on Imgur

Tesla uses electromagnetically shielded aluminum cable to connect its battery packs to its electric motors. A recent substantial supply order for the material could be yet another indication that the automaker is definitely on track with the Model 3.

Update:  As asked of us, the  name of the Austrian company has been removed from the story

Tesla Model 3

Tesla Model 3 – Image Via Larry Wu

An Austrian supplier has reported that it is filling an order from Tesla for 1,864 miles (3,000 km) of aluminum cabling. According to company co-owner (name removed), the cable is:

“a shielded aluminum cable with silicone cable [that provide] the power supply between the [battery] and the electric motor.”

Tesla has never worked with the Austrian supplier in the past, but was apparently impressed with its offering. The cable produced is lighter and less expensive than previously used materials. It is a very important component for EVs, because it allows for the “safe” flow of current between vehicle’s two primary components.

There is no way to know for sure how many Model 3 sedans that this length of cable will satisfy.  While, according to CEO Elon Musk, the Model 3 uses less than a mile (1.5 km) of total wiring, the shielded aluminum portion is only a short piece from the battery to the motor. So, this could conceivably be enough to outfit several thousand … if not tens of thousands of cars.

The company (name removed) announced the contract on the company’s Facebook page, and are very excited about future prospects of supplying Tesla. Due to the tight time constraints, and Tesla’s reputation regarding suppliers, getting on board with the electric automaker is a true accomplishment. This also proves that Tesla is, in fact, still securing new suppliers, and has viable “new” options available in the event that something doesn’t go as planned.

This massive order was only the beginning of Tesla’s intention to work with the company (name removed). The deal is reportedly worth about $5.4 million, and will come in multiple installments. The supplier, having only worked with large traditional automakers in the past (Ford and Chrysler), will have to assure that it can keep up with Tesla’s stringent expectations, in order to keep the contract in good standing.

Source: Teslarati, Kurier

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35 responses to "Austrian Supplier Secures Order For 1,864 Miles Of Aluminum Cabling For Model 3"

  1. Doggydogworld says:

    “Enough to outfit several thousand….”?

    $5.4m divided by 3000 cars would be $1800/car. Hard to build a car for $25k when you pay $1800 for some wires!

    More realistically, at a generous 10m ($18) per car it’s enough for 300k units. Obviously just a six month contract, LOL.

    This cable is

    1. William says:

      It’s kind of like a 6 month cable bill. And I thought my satellite bill was a bit pricey! ; )

    2. arne-nl says:

      Uuuuhm, are you sure?

      For the high current cable from be battery to the motor, you only need ~6 m per car. At $ 1.80 / m that is about 10 bucks per car.

      3 million m / 6 m = 500k cars.

      1. Doggydogworld says:

        Yeah, my post got mangled a little but I was trying to make the same point as you. This contract covers hundreds of thousands of cars, not just “a few thousand”.

  2. DangerHV says:

    I do not understand why Tesla didn’t use one of the many large Cable manufacturers in the USA. Isn’t the Model 3 supposed to be ~95% domestic? I am biased, especially since there is one of these plants close to me. Regardless it is frustrating to hear how much outsourcing is being done. (no, not a trump thing)

    1. arne-nl says:

      Do they make light and cheap aluminium cables? Or standard copper ones? Copper is expensive and heavy relative to its conductance.

      1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

        Yes, that was my reaction to this article too. Good for Tesla for using inexpensive aluminum cables instead of expensive copper ones in the Model 3.

        Every place Tesla can shave a few dollars off helps! Or in this case, probably quite a few.

  3. DangerHV says:

    I do not understand why Tesla didn’t use one of the many large Cable manufacturers in the USA. Isn’t the Model 3 supposed to be ~95% domestic? I am biased, especially since there is one of these plants close to me. Regardless it is frustrating to hear how much outsourcing is being done. (no, not a trump thing)
    update: They do have some type of facility in MI, USA.

    1. Rob Stark says:

      This is a highly specialized item, not only shielded but able to transmit a lot of electricity.

      Do you know for a fact there is an American company that makes a comparable product?

      America produces a lot of steel but highly specialized steel used by American industry usually comes from Luxembourg or Sweden. With the very cheap stuff coming from Asia and Latin America the USA producers usually target 80% of the market in the middle.

      1. DangerHV says:

        Looking at the product line up for General Cable makes me think they can make pretty much any wiring product imaginable. From hook-up wire to HVDC transmission cable. RSCC in Windsor Locks, CT was making large power cables for a nuclear reactor installation overseas. (I worked there)
        I google mapped G&G in MI. If the map is correct, this is only a small office. Certainly not a manufacturing facility. I’d guess we’re simply not competitive on price.

      2. Terawatt says:

        Australian aluminium? That sounds like a polluting choice given how energy intense aluminium production is and the energy mix in Australia!

        Iceland makes aluminium using electricity from geothermal. Don’t know if there are cables to be had from there, but a pity if not.

        1. IanL says:

          Australia?
          Where did you get that from?

        2. Ron M says:

          I don’t know what’s the population of Iceland

  4. Miggy says:

    Saw this story a few days ago with the headline of: Tesla Model 3: supplier says it received an order for 3,000 km of ‘shielded aluminum cables’ from Tesla.
    Why did you feel the need to change to Miles??

    1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      Because the vast majority of InsideEVs’ readers are Americans, and all too many of my fellow countrymen who see metric units used in the title of an article think “This article isn’t intended for me”. They think it’s either a technical article or one aimed at an overseas market.

      It’s pretty standard for American editors to convert metric units to Imperial units for articles aimed at the general public. I’m not saying that’s good practice; I’d love to see the USA adopt the metric system. But it’s the industry standard in American publishing.

      1. Ambulator says:

        Yeah, I understand that, but it really annoys me that InsideEVs added all those significant digits. Either 1,800 miles or 1,900 miles would do, or if you want to be hyperprecise 1,850 miles.

        1. DL says:

          You can’t necessarily tell how many of the zeros are significant in “3000”. The length could be written as 3×10~3 km, or alternately 3 megameters, in which case there would be only 1 significant digit. But it’s safe to say that the 3 following zeroes are significant though since kilometer is the normally used unit of length for this range of distances. Therefore, the proper conversion using 4 significant digits is 1864 miles.

      2. wavelet says:

        A majority, but hardly a vast one, see here:
        https://www.similarweb.com/website/insideevs.com#overview
        Standard jounalistic practice is to retain the original units and add the equivalent in parentheses, e.g., “3000km (~1900mi)”

        1. JIMJFOX says:

          Well said. Quite WHY the rest of the world 7 billion can use the “Metric” system [which is not the correct name- it is the S.I. or ‘Systeme Internationale’ of units- not just linear, but ALL scientific units], yet a tiny 300 million Americans can’t is beyond ludicrous.
          Recall many years ago two Mars landers crashed because a small error in conversion [km-miles] was made by NASA?

          I put it down to religion! ;-))

          1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

            Nor is the U.S. actually still using the Imperial system of weights & measures. For example, American gallons do not equal Imperial gallons. But if I had written “USCS vs. S.I.”, how many readers here would have been able to decipher that? (USCS = Unites States Customary System)

            As is the case with whether or not American editors convert metric… sorry, S.I. …units to American Standard units for publishing, it’s best to write (and edit) for your intended audience. InsideEV’s ain’t a technical journal!

      3. Mike says:

        change starts with you … EV drivers!

        1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

          Yes, that’s why the British no longer measure fuel efficiency in miles per gallon, but rather in kilometers per liter.

          Oh, wait… 😉

  5. Four Electrics says:

    “A recent substantial supply order for the material could be yet another indication that the automaker is definitely on track with the Model 3.”

    Umm, no. Wire is needed for any electric car. It’s quite possibly the safest material to commit to buying in advance. Everything about the design could change, but you’d still need the wire. And, tellingly, no delivery schedule is specified.

    What’s next? Getting excited when Tesla has locked in a supplier for tires?

    1. ffbj says:

      …yeah. It’s a bit silly.

    2. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      For once, I agree with a comment by one of our Tesla-bashing Usual Suspects.

      While I am as eager for news about the Model 3 as the next ardent Tesla fan, there doesn’t seem to be much point to articles about contracts for common or garden variety auto parts.

  6. Jim Whitehead says:

    Why didn’t they buy cables in the USA? The Model 3 squeezes every dollar. So perhaps they are simply the lowest bidder with lightweight shielding.

    Why is it both cheap and good? A guess: I used to work for some defense contractors and when we wanted to impress a new client, we often bid at COST or under to get a relationship going, we did this when we saw the potential to expand the contract to huge business in 2 or 3 years and turn it profitable. Its a smart way to get your foot in the door – almost anywhere! (Some newbies do it, to break into a new job in a tight closed shop, for example some Hollywood union guilds. Some are even work the first job for free, to get the experience, while waiting tables, or even making porn films, etc. on the side. Once they have the job secured, adios freebies.

    This may be going on with new contracting for Tesla (not porn, just legal work done at cost or less the first year or two).

    1. JIMJFOX says:

      “defence contractors”- there’s your clue!
      Defence is the most profligate industry precisely because the taxpayer foots the bill- hence, cost has zero relation to value.

  7. rad says:

    From battery to motor. Hmmm. Supposing each car used 3 meters, 3,000 km (3,000,000 meters) would be enough for 1,000,000 cars. Is that right?

  8. Ken says:

    Battery to the motor? Or more likely battery to the Inverter. My motorcycle and my ev conversion both have short cables from the invertor to the motor also but i’m guessing since the Tesla motor is so close to the inverter they may just use bus bars or something similar. There is defintely NOT any cable going from the battery directly to the motor though. Im sure there is probably 2 or 3 feet of cable (positive and negative) from the battery pack to the inverter.

    1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      It’s fairly common, even in technically oriented discussions of EV tech, to use the term “the motor” to include both the actual motor and the “integrated motor controller” which includes the inverter.

      Personally I wish it was the general rule to keep a clear distinction made between the actual motor and the PEM (Power Electronics Module, which includes the inverter), but usually there isn’t. This does sometimes lead to confusion, particularly in discussions of the efficiency of “the motor” when generally what they actually mean is the efficiency of the PEM.

  9. Mister G says:

    I wonder how much copper is in a Tesla?

    1. ffbj says:

      About 4 times what is an average car..One reason I bought some SCCO.
      https://www.ft.com/content/0e091ff8-fd5a-11e5-b5f5-070dca6d0a0d

  10. JIMJFOX says:

    Obviously, NO American manufacturer could meet Tesla’s *standards- otherwise Musk most certainly would have bought locally.
    *Technology, quality, reliability of supply & so on.

    1. ffbj says:

      I may be that or time constraints, price, etc..or some combination of variables.

  11. leafowner says:

    I bet those guys violated their non-disclosure agreement they had with Tesla.