Volvo’s upcoming EX60 will be built like a Tesla

Sticking to its deadline of an all-electric line-up by 2030, Volvo plans to overhaul its production process. Its platform for next-generation EVs, spearheaded by the EX60, will be constructed by Gigapresses, which are more efficient and environmentally friendly. But there’s a drawback.

In November last year, the news agency Reuters reported that three car manufacturers had bought Gigapresses from the Italian company Idra. This company teamed up with Tesla to enhance the productivity and costs of car manufacturing by pressing much larger components than usual. In addition to Ford and Hyundai, Volvo was also one of the buyers.

Not in Ghent

Reportedly, the Swedish car manufacturer is gearing up to operationalize its two machines for the SPA3-architecture. This platform for its next generation of EVs is supposed to debut on its global bestseller, the EX60.

Officially, Volvo doesn’t communicate on this strategy. Still, like the XC90 and EX90, it is known that the all-electric SUV will be sold along with its combustion-engined version until the latter is discontinued.

According to British car channel Autocar, these 9,000-ton Idra presses, the company’s largest die-cast machines, won’t be installed in Ghent but in Torslanda, the factory near Gothenburg where the current XC60 is made. This indicates that the EX60 is the introductory model for the revolutionary assembly technology.

However, Idra stated on its LinkedIn page last year that the presses would be shipped and installed in Košice, where the Swedish carmaker is constructing a new EV factory slated for 250,000 units per year. It is scheduled to open in 2026 when SPA3 goes live.

Some good, some not

Like Toyota, which is readying the technology in Japan, Volvo intends to start with the rear section of the floor pan, extruding it as one giant piece. It makes up for otherwise 100 parts, illustrating the specific gains of Gigacasting. In battery-powered vehicles, these measures of reducing costs are welcomed since the cell packs drive up retail prices. Other benefits are optimized waste control and accelerated assembly time.

The downside of Gigacasting surfaced at Tesla, Idra’s first automotive customer. The large size of the parts lashed back in repair scenarios, which turned out to be decidedly more expensive.

It was one of the reasons why Hertz and Sixt started dumping and reversing their Tesla orders. These rental companies have to cope with more exposure to these elevated repair costs because their customer base isn’t the most cautious of drivers.

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