Tesla Cybertruck Stainless Steel To Be Supplied By Finnish Company: Report

Tesla is reportedly sourcing some stainless-steel panels for the exterior of the Cybertruck from Finland-based company Outokumpu, according to people familiar with the matter cited by Bloomberg.

The unnamed sources said the supplier, which has worked to with Tesla to accommodate the Cybertruck’s unconventional design, will ship the materials to EV maker’s factory in Austin, Texas, in what is a major product shift for Outokumpu.

The company has a plant in Calvert, Alabama, which could supply Giga Texas with materials, the sources said, noting that Tesla could use more than one supplier. Neither Outokumpu nor Tesla commented on the report.

Helsinki-based Outokumpu is Europe’s largest producer of stainless steel. It typically supplies stainless steel for bridges and railways, and its products are also used in washing machines, refrigerators, and car exhaust systems. Stainless steel is a combination of steel and nickel that can be two or three times as expensive as regular steel.

The Tesla Cybertruck features stainless-steel panels, which CEO Elon Musk has described as “bulletproof” in the past. Stainless steel helps give the Cybertruck its distinctive look and eliminates the need for paint.

Gallery: Tesla Cybertruck

However, it presents several challenges, with Musk himself admitting in social media posts that the Cybertruck is “a tough product to design & even tougher to build.” He also warned the company is in “uncharted territory” because the truck “is not like anything else.”

An internal email from Musk to the Tesla team leaked in August, highlighting the challenges of using stainless-steel panels. Musk asked the manufacturing team to pay extra attention to the Cybertruck’s fit and finish to ensure high standards of quality. He mentioned panel gaps in particular, noting that tolerances “need to be specified in single digit microns.”

The last production car to use stainless steel was the DeLorean DMC-12 gull-winged coupe in the 1980s, but production problems and quality-control issues doomed the sports car.

However, Tesla might be using a more modern, higher-tech stainless steel. It has filed to patent an “ultra-hard cold-worked steel alloy” designed for “improved hardness and corrosion resistance for high-performance applications including automobile parts.”

No other production pickup truck uses stainless-steel panels, with most featuring high-strength steel. The only exception is the Ford F-150, which features aluminum body panels affixed on a steel frame.

Tesla is expected to update investors on the production of the Cybertruck on October 18 when the company is scheduled to report its latest quarterly earnings. The Cybertruck is not yet in full production, but Elon Musk has promised it for later this year. Tesla also said it will start Cybertruck customer deliveries before the end of 2023.


Source: Bloomberg

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