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Volvo plans switch to Tesla technique to improve next-generation EVs

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Sculptured design

Fermer, who returned to Volvo in 2018 after nearly three years working at Apple as a senior product design engineer, said that using megacasting will let Volvo “sculpture the design tighter around the chassis, powertrain and interior.”

This should help improve range, he said, because it is possible to lower the seat, roofline and the complete cross section of the car at the same time.

Casting major parts of the floor structure of the car as one single aluminum part also boost range by reducing weight, Volvo said.

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Varela said there are also sustainability benefits from moving to megacasting.

“All the aluminum that you are injecting is used,” he said. “You don’t have any scrap like you do with stamping.”

Fermer said the transition to electric vehicle production is the perfect time switch to megacasting because it should allow Volvo the flexibility to be ready for further changes.

“There will be technology steps on the motors, batteries, whatever, so it’s good to have an architecture that is adaptive. That way you can quickly change to a new technique. If you have traditional production set up with all these subassemblies, it’s a pain if you want to change something.”

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To Varela the biggest challenge will be transitioning to megacasting at the same time that traditional production procedures are underway at Torslanda, but he is confident in the team. “We trust the capabilities of our people and their capability to adapt and to be agile,” he said.

In addition, Volvo is familar with the process, albeit on a smaller scale, from it purchase of cast components such as spring towers. “We already know how the process works. Now we are going to be doing it on much bigger parts, but the technology is not radically different from a medium part or a small part.”

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