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Steel or Aluminum for body panels?

ElectroFroggy

Member
Apr 14, 2016
37
0
NOVA
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?
 

Brad_NC

Member
Feb 20, 2016
246
0
Myrtle Beach, SC
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.
 

slipnslider

Member
Apr 13, 2016
786
0
los angeles, ca
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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tga

Supporting Member
Apr 8, 2014
3,864
0
New Hampshire
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.
 

Jason Bourne

Member
Mar 29, 2016
410
0
Philly
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.
 

jonnyg

Member
Jan 20, 2016
236
0
Atlanta, GA
2018 Tesla Model 3 - Official Photos and Info

The Model S and Model X are primarily aluminum, but that’s an expensive material and, at the Model 3’s price, a tough cost challenge. Even so, during our brief test ride, we quietly touched a small magnet to various outer panels, the inner doors, and the structural pillar between the doors and got not a single quiver of attraction. A Tesla engineer told us the car is a mix of steel and aluminum but refused to elaborate. Unless the prototypes we sat in were made from nonproduction materials, there’s not much steel in that body.
 

Skotty

2014 S P85 | 2020 3 P19"
Jun 27, 2013
2,422
0
Kansas City, MO
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.
 

Zaphod

Galaxy President (former)
Dec 10, 2015
2,160
0
Austin, TX
Nice. :)

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

Member
Dec 2, 2012
545
0
Canada
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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Wolfsburg

Member
Apr 6, 2016
27
0
USA
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.

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.
 

Lloyd

Well-Known Member
Jan 12, 2011
6,252
1
San Luis Obispo, CA
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.

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

Skotty

2014 S P85 | 2020 3 P19"
Jun 27, 2013
2,422
0
Kansas City, MO
Their stamping equipment is already set up to stamp either steel or aluminum. There is no change in equipment.
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
 

brianman

Burrito Founder
Nov 10, 2011
17,515
0
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.
How is this different from any other car? Windex is amazing. ;)