Last week, we told you about how the automotive industry is ramping up its use of aluminum for a new wave of chassis and doors. Tesla Motors, manufacturer of high-end electric cars, has leapt beyond the curve, shipping out the new aluminum-bodied electric 2012 Model S on June 22.
Tesla Motors has always stepped to its own beat when it comes to consumer cars (the company also says electric powertrain components within the industry), as its electric Roadster is far more powerful than other electric vehicles on the market. So it wasn’t that surprising when Tesla decided to swap out composite materials for aluminum in their new Sedan.
Why the change? Strength and safety were the key drivers, as they should be in any vehicle. After that, Tesla’s Franz von Holzausen cited manufacturing costs and efficiency, along with weight. The result is an electric vehicle that looks and performs like a Tesla, except it’s got an aluminum body beneath the bells and whistles. (And if you’re curious, the Model S’s design goal including the aluminum body is a 2012 five-star NHTSA safety rating.) As the car enthusiasts at Winding Road put it, “When we headed out onto the road, the sense of solidity in the body structure was impressive. The car feels as if it was carved from solid billet aluminum rather than assembled from pieces bolted or bonded together.”
Does the talk of a high-performance aluminum-body car get your motor revving? Check out the specs of the 2012 Model S at Tesla’s official site.