Giga-casting and robots: How Volkswagens Trinity aims to catch up with Tesla –

BERLIN, March 31 (Reuters) – As Tesla begins production at its brand-new German plant this month, Volkswagen is weeks away from finalising prepare for a 2 billion euro ($ 2.2 billion) electrical car (EV) factory that it hopes will bring it up to speed with its U.S. rival.
Tesla (TSLA.O) states it can currently churn out a Model Y in 10 hours at its brand-new Giga Berlin-Brandenburg factory in Gruenheide near the German capital, whereas it can take Volkswagen (VOWG_p. DE) 3 times as long to make its ID.3 electrical car.
The German auto giant now intends to slash production times with its “Trinity” EV plant, which must be up and running in 2026, by utilizing strategies such as big die casting and cutting the variety of elements in its automobiles by several hundred.

Volkswagen finalising production plans for brand-new EV factory
Large die casting and more automation on the cards
Goals to match Tesla with 10-hour vehicle production time

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Reporting by Victoria Waldersee, Jan Schwartz, Nadine Schimroszik and Hyun Joo Jin; Editing by David Clarke.
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

” Our goal is clear: we wish to set the standard with our production,” Volkswagen brand production chief Christian Vollmer informed Reuters in an interview. “If we can get to 10 hours, we have achieved something huge.”
The carmaker has been improving productivity at a rate of about 5% a year but need to take bigger leaps to keep its edge in the European market, Vollmer stated, without providing a new portion target.
Volkswagen, the worlds second-biggest carmaker behind Japans Toyota with a stable of brands from Skoda, Seat and VW to Audi, Porsche and Bentley has a 25% share of the European EV market, ahead of Tesla on 13%.
However the pressure on German carmakers to both master and increase EV production has been heightened by Teslas presence in the country and Volkswagen Chief Executive Herbert Diess has actually cautioned Germans need to accelerate to prevent getting beaten on their own grass.
Volkswagens goals align with a broader trend in the market of streamlining product varieties and improving production as carmakers scramble to find the money to fund the electrical transition – and stay up to date with competitors like Tesla that do not have to handle making EVs as well as cars and trucks with combustion engines.
” Tesla actually ignited the drive for decreasing part counts and making easier items,” Evan Horetsky, a partner at McKinsey who was previously in charge of engineering at Teslas new Brandenburg plant, stated. “Legacy manufacturers have a more hard time due to the fact that they need to preserve existing orders.”
A Tesla representative stated among the factors it can produce its Model Y vehicles in Germany within a 10-hour amount of time is since it is utilizes two giant casting presses, or giga-presses, using 6,000 tonnes of pressure to make the back of the car.
Its Gruenheide press store can produce 17 elements in under six minutes. With 6 more giga-presses on the method, Tesla will soon be making the front of the automobile with the giga-press too.
” Thats why were so fast,” the spokesperson stated.
The giga-casting method that VW plans to embrace was popularised by Tesla as an option to the more labour-intensive method of putting together several stamped metal panels with crumple zones to absorb energy throughout a crash.
German high-end carmaker BMW (BMWG.DE) has actually declined big castings in the past on the grounds that the greater costs of repair outweigh the lower manufacturing expenses.
Advocates state automated driving innovation will reduce the frequency of accidents: “Tesla is designing a lorry that a lot of likely will not be in a severe crash,” Cory Steuben, president of manufacturing consulting company Munro & & Associates, stated.
While VW can produce certain designs such as the Tiguan or Polo in 18 and 14 hours in Germany and Spain respectively, its electric ID.3 – made in a factory juggling six designs from three Volkswagen brands – still takes 30 hours to assemble.
At the Trinity plant, several work steps will be condensed into one through automation, diminishing the size of the body store and decreasing the number of tasks needing unpleasant physical labour, Vollmer said, dubbing it a growth of “human-robot cooperation”.
Volkswagen does not prepare to have giga-presses at the new plant in Wolfsburg and will rather utilize the equipment at its factory in Kassel about 160 km (100 miles) away and transfer the products by train.
U.S. financial investment bank JPMorgan anticipates that Teslas Gruenheide factory will produce about 54,000 vehicles in 2022, 280,000 in 2023 and after that 500,000 by 2025.
Volkswagen, which delivered some 452,000 battery-electric lorries internationally in 2015, has not yet set an output target for Trinity, which will utilize its Scalable Systems Platform.
It aims to develop 40 million cars worldwide on the new platform – which combines several internal combustion engine and electric platforms into one– with half of its international output all-electric by 2030.
Tesla, which produced 936,000 vehicles in 2015, has stated it intends to put 20 million on the road a year by the end of the decade, or approximately double the existing yearly production of Toyota, the worlds biggest carmaker now.
Still, Tesla can anticipate numerous obstacles as it broadens in Germany, from securing more water materials to ecological groups mad about light pollution and blockage near the plant to unions fretted about a management-heavy works council and wages being driven down by workers being available in from somewhere else.
” Starting production is good, but volume production is the difficult part,” Musk told a cheering audience at a festival at the plant website in October 2021. “It will take longer to reach volume production than it required to construct the factory.”
($ 1 = 0.8985 euros).

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