Model 3

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

edited November -1 in Model 3
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?


  • edited November -1
    Wow, $500 really isn't that much, I think.

    Considering the advantage of the lower weight and therefore some extra/more range. Resulting in a lower kWh consumption per mile (for the life of the car).
  • edited November -1
    I hope it has an aluminum body, otherwise it will create fragmentation in manufacturing. An aluminum Model 3 will help Tesla to get better at it. Also, it might help alleviate the body shop problems Tesla cars have when damage to body happens.
  • edited March 2016
    I read Tesla has installed a higher-capacity aluminum stamping press, so maybe Model 3 will be aluminum.
  • edited November -1
    $500 added cost for 500K cars a year is $250M a year. Each dollar Tesla can shave off the cost could be another $500K in their pocket. It's possible that using aluminum will result in other savings to justify the added expense, but it could also be a luxury they can't afford to get the margins they want at 35K. We'll know soon enough.
  • edited November -1
    Here's an article that claims the cost of an aluminum structure is 60-80% more expensive than using steel :

    Here's another one that says the costs can be more competitive :
  • edited March 2016
    The guide mentioned during the tour we took at Fremont plant yesterday aluminum body costs twice as much as steel to make.
  • edited March 2016
    It would be $35,000.

    Honestly, this reminds me of the 1 lbs of gold versus 1 lbs of sand 'brain teaser'...

    A $1.00 hot dog is still a $1.00 hot dog.
  • edited March 2016
    @ carlk


    "aluminum body costs twice as much as steel to make."

    Could this be about correct:

    A steel body: $500
    An aluminium body: $1,000

    Or is it more like:

    A steel body: $1,000
    An aluminium body: $2,000
  • edited November -1
    Which weighs more: a pound of feathers, or a pound of gold?
  • edited November -1
    @red : the old troy ounce trick question?
  • edited November -1
    Chunky Jr.: Yeah. The same sort of thing as playing Three Card Molly... Everyone keep their eye on the Queen, OK? See? Here she is... Round, and round, and round she goes...
  • edited March 2016
    I'm not an engineer, but it seems to me that Model 3 will be made from aluminum,just like the S and X, since the Freemont factory is already set up and producing alumninum body cars. The equipment required to lift/move heavier steel panels is different from the equipment already in use. If 'ease of build' is to be the foundation of M3, then aluminum is the way to go.
  • edited November -1
    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.
  • edited November -1
    I believe it will be all aluminum. This is a car that should last 30 years or more with no rust. Only change out battery brakes and rubber.
  • edited March 2016
    @Benz, Chunky - What we also don't know is how the cost of using aluminum will change over the next few years BECAUSE of Tesla's robots. They're doing everything they can to attack the costs of batteries, maybe their processes will some day affect the use of aluminum too.
  • edited March 2016
    Elon has already stated that parts of the Model ≡ will be steel. He didn't specify, but like many cars today, it will be a mix of metals. Just look at any modern ICE. It is made up of plastic, aluminum and steel. Hell for anyone that remembers the R107 chassis SLs from '72 to '89, the hoods on those car were aluminum.
  • edited March 2016
    I'm hoping Model 3 will be aluminum for several reasons:
    1. Hopeful longer body life in the New England weather;
    2. Lighter body weight leading to better performance, etc.;
    3. Reduce the complications by introducing new equipment & process for steel body.

    In the end, I'm certain Tesla will do what they believe will keep the quality high for now, and for many years to come.
  • edited November -1
    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.


    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.
  • edited March 2016
    no one is talking about the cost of repair. Steel body cars can be repaired at your local body shop for a reasonable price. Aluminum body cars need to be repaired at specialty repair shops costing a very signifiant premium. Look up discussions on the Model S Forum and see what folks are paying to repair model S. Pay an extra 1K for Aluminum body and an extra 5K for the parking lot fender bender repair.
  • edited March 2016
    @milesbb - That is a very valid point! Insurance companies will catch on early and the mass market members who may have been willing to stretch a bit for a Model 3 may not be willing or able to stretch for increased insurance costs.
  • edited March 2016
    I am thinking Ford is changing that with their new F150, the largest selling vehicle in the country for many years running. Lot's of shops are going to be competing to do aluminum.
  • edited November -1
    Once upon a time, a guy at Tesla was interviewed and merely said that Model ☰ would be made from 'appropriate materials'... Sometime later, someone asked Elon Musk and in an offhand comment he said it would be 'made of steel'... Since then, many Tesla Enthusiasts have predicted the Generation III vehicles would be built primarily using 'high strength lightweight steel', with strategic use of aluminum bits, and perhaps combined with a carbon fibre reinforced plastic 'life cell', similar to what BMW introduced with the i3/i8.

    Even so, at least until Thursday, I'll hold out hope the Model ☰ will be built in a manner very similar to the Model S and Model X. That is, 90% of frame and body being aluminum. So that most of what you see in the exterior of the completed car is aluminum, plastic, and glass... While some critical components that are hidden within the body are made of hardened boron steel. I believe that the long-term anti-rust aspects of construction greatly outweigh the issues of fender bender correction.
  • edited November -1
    Cost is cost. Tesla can't afford to lose a little money on each car and "make it up with volume" :-))

    It will be interesting to see how they fulfill Elon's goal of building "compelling BEVs" on a tight budget with some challenging goals: $35K base price, 200 mile range, drag coefficient of .20, etc.

    Currently, the base price of the MS is $70K so that's build a car that is 20% smaller that sells profitably at half the price. Abracadabra...
  • edited March 2016
    Drop the $35,000 goal.

    In favour of an aluminium body.
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