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Steel or Aluminum for body panels?

Discussion in 'Model 3' started by ElectroFroggy, Apr 21, 2016.

  1. ElectroFroggy

    ElectroFroggy Member

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    Maybe I missed it but do we know yet what type of material we will be getting for the majority of the body and body panels? Obviously would prefer the aluminum, but with a $35k price point AND the fact that M3 will be a high volume car i'm thinking we are gonna get steel.

    Thoughts?
     
  2. Craig9080

    Craig9080 Member

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    Mixed last I heard...and I'm useless because I cannot remember where I heard that.
     
  3. Brad_NC

    Brad_NC Member

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    I am not trying to be rude, I am just asking this question...

    Why does anyone care what the panels are made of?

    It's not like I'm going to forge my own replacement body panels if someone dents my car, but I only have an aluminum foundry, so steel would ruine it for me or something.
     
  4. Topher

    Topher Energy Curmudgeon

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    Those of us who live in areas where they purposefully put corrosive materials on the roads, would prefer body panels which don't rust.

    thank you kindly.
     
  5. slipnslider

    slipnslider Member

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    Howbout STAINLESS STEEL like the delorean? That would look amazing on the model 3. And it lasts forever. And you can literally buff out any scratches you get and clean the car with windex.
     
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  6. Brad_NC

    Brad_NC Member

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    Now this I can make sense of. Thank you for clarifying.:)
     
  7. tga

    tga Active Member

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    Pretty sure I remember reading that someone going for a test ride at the reveal tried, but failed, to get a magnet to stick to the body panels, but I can't find it now.
     
  8. Jason Bourne

    Jason Bourne Member

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    I also remember hearing that it would be a mix as well, but I don't remember where. Makes sense, since all aluminum would be too costly for this price point, but they want to keep the weight down.
     
  9. jonnyg

    jonnyg Member

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    2018 Tesla Model 3 - Official Photos and Info

     
  10. lklundin

    lklundin Member

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    #10 lklundin, Apr 22, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2016
    Nice. :)

    But be careful, it could also be a stainless steel alloy such as the common 304, which is nonmagnetic.
     
  11. tga

    tga Active Member

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  12. Skotty

    Skotty 2014 Model S P85

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    The magnet thing is interesting, but doesn't really tell you anything about the production Model 3. The early prototypes may have very well had their panels stamped in aluminum just because they already had the right stamping equipment for it.
     
  13. Zaphod

    Zaphod Galaxy President (former)

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    But the likelihood of making panels out of stainless steel is virtually zero. Too expensive and not enough strength and few other reasons it would not make a good choice. To my knowledge, no one since Delorean has made automotive panels out of stainless steel.

    Much more likely they are made of aluminum. But as Skotty eludes to, hard to judge final production based on hand-built prototypes.
     
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  14. lklundin

    lklundin Member

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    Apart from pillars and such, what about some parts made of plastic?
     
  15. EcoHeliGuy

    EcoHeliGuy Member

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    Without being a fly on the wall and with a little knowledge into the realities of metal fabrication.

    1) The Model S and X are primarily aluminum structures. A few key components are steel and titanium.

    2) Steel is cheaper to purchase but cost the same to fabricate with. So only raw materials is the cost factor.

    3) it's common practice in the industry to build aluminum exterior panels for weight savings. Hoods and trunk lids are the most common.

    4) Most aluminum cars and trucks have steel frames, such as the F-150 which has an aluminum cab and box.

    5) Most cars today have aluminum in the structure, engines, drivetrain, suspension, and rims.

    6) Tesla and the personal at the reveal stated that the Model 3 frame is steel and aluminum where benefits mattered most.

    As its standard practice today, I suspect the Frame to be primarily high strength steel. With steel and aluminum used in different components. All the paneling, floor boards, door structures and front substructure will likely be Aluminum.

    Aluminum is lighter then steel, but typically you need beefier structures then steel to accomplish the same result. Steel is there fore cheaper per component, but if your building large components the weight negatively effect the range of the Car.
     
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  16. Wolfsburg

    Wolfsburg Member

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    That and aluminum is lighter. Ford makes mass produced aluminum bodied trucks now so I don't think it's totally out of the realm of possibility that the M3 would be aluminum too.
     
  17. Lloyd

    Lloyd Active Member

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    Their stamping equipment is already set up to stamp either steel or aluminum. There is no change in equipment.
     
  18. Skotty

    Skotty 2014 Model S P85

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    Maybe, but I'm just saying they probably don't care about getting the materials right on the prototypes. So I wouldn't put much stock in what the prototypes are made out of. Their very first Model 3 was probably a clay model, but that doesn't mean production Model 3's will be made out of clay. Yeah, I'm reaching a bit on that one, but I thought it was funny so I said it. :p
     
  19. brianman

    brianman Burrito Founder

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    Estimated repair costs and turnaround time.
     
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  20. brianman

    brianman Burrito Founder

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    How is this different from any other car? Windex is amazing. ;)
     

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