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Tesla Model 3: Japanese supplier explains how Tesla is pushing them to develop tools for mass production

Tesla Model 3 silver prototype promo shot headlands

When talking about the Tesla Model 3 and how the automaker will manage to bring the car from a final design to volume production in just over 12 months, CEO Elon Musk often says that the company designed and engineered the vehicle to be easy to manufacture in volume.

Fuji Technica & Miyazu, a Japanese supplier of dies (custom tools to shape materials), explains  how the company is working closely with Tesla since the early stages of development in order to design the tools that will make the Model 3 possible.

While speaking with Nikkei Asian Review, a Fuji Technica representative said:

“Tesla is a demanding customer, insisting, for example, on retaining a smooth curve on an outer panel regardless of the difficulty it might give the die-maker.”

Fuji Technica says that Tesla pushed them to redesign the die based on their inputs aimed at mass producing the parts.

Interestingly, Fuji Technica’s specialty is to make dies to shape aluminum parts. Tesla officials said that the Model 3 will be made in parts of aluminum, but not almost the entire chassis like the Model S and X. Steel is expected to be more prominent in the Model 3 since it is cheaper and more malleable.

Tesla plans to be producing hundreds of thousands of Model 3 units within its first full year of production. The automaker already started installing production equipment at the Fremont Factory as part of its $1.3 billion expansion of the plant for the Model 3 assembly line.

With around 400,000 reservations with deposits for the vehicle, it’s much easier for Tesla to convince suppliers to invest into capacity for parts for the Model 3 vehicle program. We recently reported on Tesla even convincing suppliers to establish new production capacity around Fremont ahead of the start of production.

Musk is pushing external suppliers and internal teams to be ready for production on July 1, 2017, but he expects that at least some parts will not be ready in time and volume production should start later in 2017 with deliveries shortly after.

The Model 3 will start at $35,000 before EV incentives and it is expected to have a range of more than 215 miles on a single charge.

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