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What if the Tesla Model 3 would have had an aluminium body, just like the Model S and Model X?

Discussion in 'Model 3' started by Benz, Mar 27, 2016.

  1. Benz

    Benz Active Member

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    What if the Tesla Model 3 would have had an aluminium body, just like the Model S and Model X? What would the base price have been?

    The Tesla Model 3 will have a steel body and a US base price of $35,000.

    Aluminium is obviously more expensive than steel.

    What would the US base price of the Tesla Model 3 have been (instead of $35,000) if it would have had an aluminium body instead of a steel body?

    It would obviously more expensive than $35,000.

    But how much more?

    Would it have been a small difference or a substantial difference?

    Anyone who can tell us something with regard to this subject?
     
  2. Panu

    Panu Member

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    Can't answer the question but aluminium body could be an option. Or something even lighter like carbon fiber.
     
  3. James Anders

    James Anders Member

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    Guarantee it would never be an option. Way different assembly tools, processes, welding, etc. I do think there's a chance the Model 3 body will be aluminum however.
     
  4. Yggdrasill

    Yggdrasill Active Member

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    Yeah, no way it's an option. It would mean basically designing the same car twice.

    I think it's fairly probable the Model 3 will be made to a large extent of aluminium. It will definitely be a mix of steel and aluminium, and we will just have to wait and see in what way the different materials will be used.
     
  5. Franckche

    Franckche New Member

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    If the Model 3 was constructed of aluminum, it would be 15 % more expensive due to higher costs of material ( about 7%) , industrialization (about 10 % compared to welding issues, regarding the adjustment , reinforcements .. . ) , but aluminum does not require anti-corrosion treatment (2 % less) .
    Either additional $ 5000 at the time of marketing that make it less affordable for the general public.
    The Model 3 should have a similar weight of 2 tonnes due to the density of steel versus aluminum, even if it is 20% less sized.
    The Model 3 should have a similar weight of 2 tonnes due to the density of steel versus aluminum, even if it is 20% less sized.
    What justifies the least important level of performance.
    .
     
  6. James Anders

    James Anders Member

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    Agree with raw material costs being higher.

    But, there may be economies of scale for Tesla to help mitigate somewhat. They will be able to buy aluminum in greater quantity. There would be standardization in the factory with tooling, painting, primers and techniques.
     
  7. ZAKEEUS

    ZAKEEUS Member

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    I think it will be mostly aluminum. The weight in this situation is more important than the cost since most of the cost savings are coming from the battery. If the lighter materials allow for less needed battery, that's even more savings.
     
  8. Benz

    Benz Active Member

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    What we already know is:

    Steel is cheaper than aluminium, therefore steel is the more economical choice.
    Steel is heavier than aluminium, therefore aluminium is the more "fuel"-efficient choice.

    Cars are primarily made to enable people to have private mobility.

    During the lifetime of a car people will drive in it for a few hundred thousands of miles.

    It should be very obvious that during the lifetime of the car the extra money that is initially paid for having an aluminium body instead of having a steel body, will be earned back many times because of the extra "fuel"-efficiency gain of aluminium.
     
  9. sandpiper

    sandpiper Active Member

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    People may understand that but don't behave that way. From what I've seen, $1000 at the time of purchase is much more significant than a minor fuel/energy savings. I suspect it's partially because we've been conditioned to not believe the fuel ratings, and so small differences are disregarded.

    I'd be shocked if the Model 3 wasn't a typical steel bodied car. Tesla needs all of the nickels and dimes that they can find on this one.
     
  10. mczajka

    mczajka Member

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    But, the hood could be aluminum. On my Fusion Energi, the hood is aluminum.
     
  11. sandpiper

    sandpiper Active Member

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    I'm sure you'll get some of that. But you have to be careful mixing aluminum and steel construction. Galvanic corrosion can be a really nasty and costly problem. There is definitely some of that issue showing on the Model S.
     
  12. tga

    tga Active Member

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    1 - Saving weight with aluminum adds cost. It also reduces the needed battery size for the same range. Smaller batteries are cheaper. Which car is cheaper, heavier steel with more cells, or lighter aluminum with fewer cells?

    2 - Aluminum isn't the big deal everyone is making it out to be. My 6 year old pickup has an aluminum hood. The new Miata (cheaper than the 3) will have a bunch of aluminum panels. The Ford F150 is aluminum bodied. Mountain, meet molehill.
     
  13. sandpiper

    sandpiper Active Member

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    It's not a molehill at all, and calling it one diminishes what Ford accomplished with the F150. Manufacturers are getting better at working with aluminum, yes, but it's taken a long time. Aluminum is much more difficult (costly) to work and weld than steel. The Model 3 may have some aluminum bits, but my money is on predominantly typical steel construction, like all of the competing cars.
     
  14. MitchMitch

    MitchMitch Lurker In Chief

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    My 16 year old Oldsmobile has an aluminum hood and trunk. No signs of corrosion anywhere, so careful, is possible and effective.
     
  15. ummgood

    ummgood Member

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    I think more and more cars are going Aluminum. At least in parts of the car. I don't think Tesla would be any different and I don't think it is too expensive for a 35k price point. The Ford F150 is now all or mostly aluminum. My wife's '14 Odyssey has aluminum in the front portions of the car.
     
  16. sandpiper

    sandpiper Active Member

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    Yep... it's been done for quite a while - no debate. But it adds additional cost/complexity, and can lead to unexpected problems.
     
  17. Benz

    Benz Active Member

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    What is more important:

    1 - Use steel instead of aluminium, to reduce the cost, in order to hold on to the base price of $35,000 of the Tesla Model 3.

    or

    2 - Use aluminium, even if that would increase the base price of the Tesla Model 3 (for example to $36,000).

    I would choose the second option.

    If it's $36,000 then so be it.

    I think that all EV models (from any brand) should have an aluminium body.

    It should be standard practise.

    Just like a flat battery pack in the floorpan (skateboard-design), for the low center of gravity.
     
  18. Skotty

    Skotty 2014 Model S P85

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    How ironic it would be if Tesla still had frunk dent issues on a mostly steel Model 3 because they put an aluminum hood on it. (although one would hope they will construct future aluminum hoods with more strength along the front)

    There are some additional advantages to steel that usually go unsaid. It is a stronger material, so it would most likely be more resistant to door dings and hail. Plus probably cheaper to fix, which has been said before. Both would be useful advantages on a mass market car. Not saying it should definitely be steel, but I don't think it would be a bad thing.
     
  19. hoang51

    hoang51 Member

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    #19 hoang51, Mar 28, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2016
    Cost does not always equal value. Especially in the case of steel vs. aluminum for Tesla Model 3. If it was a negligible difference in price between the two materials, aluminum would've been the choice. So this is an a fortiori scenario: steel is more cost effective. Without any figures of cost differences among the two materials and how they're processed, my hypothesis is that it would cost substantially more.
     
  20. Johan

    Johan Took a TSLA bear test. Came back negative.

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    I agree that if tou can save enough weight by using Aluminum instead of steel so that a smaller battery could produce the same range it would be an option. But, it's air resistance and very little weight that impacts range and smaller batteries supercharge slower.
     

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