Tesla Can Make a Model Y in 10 Hours in Germany, Volkswagen Wants the Same

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Volkswagen’s upcoming Trinity plant is hoping to catch up with Tesla, as the established automaker looks to mimic Elon Musk’s company, according to Reuters.

The German automaker’s $2.2 billion ‘Trinity’ electric vehicle plant, expected to be up and running by 2026, will use huge Giga casting machines like Tesla, among other productivity-boosting plans.

While Tesla’s Model Y can be built in 10 hours at its Gigafactory Berlin, the Volkswagen ID.3 can take as much as three times as long to build at 30 hours — though the German company hopes to match Musk and company with its upcoming plant.

Volkswagen Brand Production Chief Christian Vollmer emphasized that a 10 hour build time is a goal that the automaker would like to reach.

Vollmer said, “Our goal is clear: we want to set the standard with our production.” Vollmer continued, “If we can get to 10 hours, we have achieved something big.”

Volkswagen has been improving productivity by about 5 percent per year, though the automaker will need to take bigger steps toward productivity increases. It plans to reduce the number of steps needed to make its EVs, including reducing the size of its body shop. It will reduce jobs that require tough physical labor, said Vollmer.

The upcoming Volkswagen plant in Wolfsburg won’t have Giga presses on site, like Tesla, however. Instead, the parts made by Giga presses will take place at its Kassel factory, then shipped 160 km (100 miles) by train to the Trinity plant.

To do so in the coming years, Volkswagen hopes to create a better sense of vertical integration to manage supply issues and to shift to a direct sales model like Tesla.

Tesla told Reuters it can make a Model Y in Germany within 10 hours is because of its two Giga presses that cast the rear of the vehicle, able to produce 17 components in less than 6 minutes. Tesla says it has six more Giga presses on the way, soon ready to make the front of the Model Y as well. “That’s why we’re so fast,” said the Tesla spokesperson.

Other German automakers such as BMW have dismissed casting machines in the past based on higher costs.

But Cory Steuben, president of manufacturing consulting firm Munro & Associates, said Tesla is making a car that is less likely to be in an accident due to automated driving technology. “Tesla is designing a vehicle that most likely won’t be in a severe crash,” said Steuben.

Volkswagen announced plans to delay the ID.5 until May earlier this week, citing issues with certain parts supplies from Ukraine.

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