Inside Tesla's Model S Factory (Video)
As we're getting closer to the first Model S deliveries (scheduled for June 22, earlier than first planned!), Tesla is starting to open the kimono and reveal more about what is going on behind the scenes. This just posted the video above on the company blog, which shows their stamping presses inside the gigantic NUMMI factory in California.
Here's a description of the process that can be seen in the video (It looks epic with that music. Sounds like E.S. posthumus or something):
Tesla is one of the few companies in the world producing a steel-reinforced aluminum car. Aluminum reduces the overall weight of Model S to help maximize efficiency and range.
Your Model S actually starts as a huge aluminum coil that weighs up to 20,000 pounds. This coil is unfurled and fed into our Blanking Line that cuts the aluminum into large rectangles aptly called “blanks.”
Our Press Line stamps the aluminum blanks into 3D parts using huge molds called “dies.” The large black and yellow dies weigh up to 40 tons and are design-specific to stamp each aluminum piece of Model S.
The hydraulic Press Line shown here enables Tesla to produce large panels of the car, like doors and hoods, in-house, rather than outsourcing this production. Our Press Line is the largest of its kind in North America and is capable of producing one part every six seconds.
Our state-of-the-art Kuka robots move aluminum blanks into the press, and then, using over one thousand tons of force, the blank is formed, trimmed and pierced. It’s very impressive to watch as flat aluminum blanks go in one side and shaped, paint-ready panels come out the other.
You can see more photos of the stamping area on Tesla's Flickr stream.
Via Tesla Motors