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Model Y insurance costs may be lowered as Tesla addresses gigacast part deformation concerns and repair prices

New Cybertruck gigacasts (image: Joe Tegtmeyer/X)
New Cybertruck gigacasts (image: Joe Tegtmeyer/X)
Automotive insurers oftentimes prefer to total a Tesla vehicle and write it off rather than repair it at a prohibitive cost. Tesla has now started delivering gigacast chassis parts to repair shops at cost and has addressed deformation concerns to a great extent.

Tesla has reportedly addressed some of the main concerns about repair costs regarding its new gigacasting part production process, at least for the Model Y. That is the conclusion of the auto insurers' Thatcham Research shop, after examining Tesla's bestselling SUV and a gigacast section of it for their own repairability tests.

According to Darren Bright, the chief engineer at Thatcham, Tesla has now "thought about deformation in low- to medium-severity impacts and how to repair it," and he calls this production enhancement process of Tesla "a really, really great thing to see."

A so-called "gigacast" chassis section is made with giant, up to 9000-ton die casting machines that their Italian manufacturer IDRA calls Giga Presses. So far, 14 of those have already been delivered to Tesla for producing the Model Y, the Cybertruck, and, in the future, save on the production costs of the upcoming mass market Model 2.

The gigacasting process can significantly lower the manufacturing costs of a vehicle as it sometimes replaces up to 400 different bits and pieces that have to be attached together. Industry insiders and auto insurers alike have expressed concerns about the reliability and repairability of the gigacast vehicle bodies, though.

"In an accident, it gets really expensive if you hit the structure," warned VW's chief of technical development at the recent auto expo in Munich. "This can’t be cheap enough for the volume segment, but they're doing it," he added. Insurers have learned that the hard way, as structural and battery pack damages in even light Tesla vehicle accidents have often been cost prohibitive to repair, so they prefer to write off the EV completely, raising insurance premiums for Tesla owners in general.

Now, however, it is becoming apparent that Tesla is not only trying to address deformation concerns, but it has also created a thorough repair manual for service centers and, if all else fails, it is supplying the problematic Model Y body section seemingly at cost. According to Thatcham, the gigacast aluminum rear section of the Model Y is itemized by repair centers for only £752.50.

That price is "really not a lot when you look at how much material is in it," adds Bright. Eventually, these positive gigacast parts repairability and replacement cost observations by the auto insurers' research shop could lead to lower premiums for all Tesla owners.

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> Expert Reviews and News on Laptops, Smartphones and Tech Innovations > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2023 11 > Model Y insurance costs may be lowered as Tesla addresses gigacast part deformation concerns and repair prices
Daniel Zlatev, 2023-11-13 (Update: 2023-11-13)