Volvo Cars is Investing $1.1 Billion in its Factory in Sweden for the ‘Mega Casting' of Aluminum EV Bodies
【Summary】Volvo Cars is investing SEK 10 billion (US$1.1 billion) in its Torslanda manufacturing plant in Sweden over the next several years in preparation for the production of its next generation fully electric cars. Volvo said it will introduce a number of new and more sustainable technologies and manufacturing processes in the plant, including the “mega casting” aluminum vehicle body parts as a single structure.
Following the news of Swedish automaker Volvo Cars' plans to build a 50 GWh joint venture electric vehicle battery factory with Northvolt, the company is making another massive investment in its factory in Torslanda to prepare the facility to produce advanced electric vehicles.
Volvo Cars will invest SEK 10 billion (US$1.1 billion) in its Torslanda manufacturing plant in Sweden over the next several years in preparation for the production of its next generation fully electric cars.
As part of the investments, Volvo said it will introduce a number of new and more sustainable technologies and manufacturing processes in the plant, including the "mega casting" aluminum vehicle body parts as a single structure.
The investment plans represent new steps towards Volvo Cars' bold plans to only produce fully-electric vehicles by 2030.
"With these investments we take an important step towards our all-electric future and prepare for even more advanced and better electric Volvos," said Håkan Samuelsson, chief executive. "Torslanda is our largest plant and will play a crucial role in our ongoing transformation as we move towards becoming a pure electric car maker by 2030."
"Mega Casting" of Aluminum Vehicle Bodies
The assembly areas of the Torslanda manufacturing plant are being retooled to accommodate the next generation of fully electric Volvo vehicles. But the most significant part of the new factory will be the introduction of mega casting of aluminum body parts for the next generation of electric Volvo models. The process is used by Tesla for the Model Y SUV.
Mega casting creates a number of benefits in terms of sustainability, cost and car performance during the vehicle's service life and Volvo Cars says its the first automaker to invest in this process, although its being used by Tesla for the Model Y.
Volvo plans to cast its future electric vehicle bodies as a single structure instead of stamping separate pieces of aluminum body parts which are welded together during the assembly process. This includes the installation of advanced casting machinery to assemble the ‘marriage point' of where the top body and the floor of the car meet for the first time, Volvo says.
Using a single aluminum body structure for EVs helps reduce weight and increases efficiency, which in turn extends range. It also allows Volvo Cars to create a larger cabin and optimally use all of the available space for passengers and cargo, which in turn will make future EVs more versatile for customers.
Volvo says the cars produced at the plant will have long range, faster charging, lower costs and reach new milestones in automotive safety and sustainability.
Volvo will also integrate the battery cells and modules in the floor structure of the vehicle, which will become part of the vehicle's structural support and protect the batteries from damage in the event of an accident.
In addition, mega-casting the vehicle body structures will reduce complexity in the manufacturing process, according to Volvo. This manufacturing process also creates cost-savings in terms of material use which can help the company reduce its overall environmental footprint to meet its sustainability goals.
"Today is a great day for the Torslanda plant as we are making it fit for the future with this investment package," said Javier Varela, head of engineering and operations at Volvo Cars. "Our future as a company is all-electric and that requires a variety of upgrades across the plant, to ensure that Torslanda can continue to build premium electric cars of the highest quality."
Other upgrades include a new battery assembly plant and fully refurbished paint and final assembly shops. The upgrades for the paint shop will include the installation of new machinery and implementing new paint processes, which are expected to reduce energy consumption and emissions.
The Volvo factory in Torslanda has an annual production capacity of 300,000 vehicles. It opened in April 1964 and was once the largest single workplace in the country.
Volvo's Torslanda plant currently operates on three shifts and employs around 6,500 people.
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