Tesla Inc has turned to European stainless steel giant, Outokumpu Oyj, to procure stainless steel panels for its highly anticipated Cybertruck, sources familiar with the project disclosed. These materials are slated for shipment to the assembly facility of Tesla Inc in Austin, with potential sourcing from Calvert, Alabama plant of Outokumpu Oyj. The move underscores Tesla’s concerted efforts to adapt to the unique design of its electric vehicle.
Outokumpu stands as Europe’s foremost producer of stainless steel, renowned for its collaborations with automakers in exhaust system production. The utilization of stainless steel panels, a blend of steel and nickel, comes at a premium of two to three times the cost of standard steel, lending the Cybertruck its futuristic Blade Runner aesthetic while obviating the need for traditional paint applications. Elon Musk has boldly asserted the vehicle’s exterior to be “bulletproof” and has even sought a patent for an “ultra-hard cold-worked steel alloy.” This pioneering finish distinguishes the Cybertruck from any other major automaker’s offerings.
However, this innovative approach to construction has resulted in a delay of at least two years, placing Tesla in uncharted territory, according to Musk. The Cybertruck is set to join the ranks of electric pickups from Ford and Rivian Automotive Inc. upon its release.
The incorporation of stainless steel panels marks a seismic shift in the automotive sector’s materials choice, although it is unlikely to cause significant disruption in the steel industry. While a standard North American vehicle typically employs about a ton of steel per unit, Tesla has refrained from providing a sales forecast for the Cybertruck. Even if each truck were to utilize a ton of stainless steel, it would represent only a fraction of the 2 million tons produced annually in the U.S.
Outokumpu’s conventional stainless steel applications encompass projects like bridges, railways, and household appliances such as washing machines and refrigerators. Now, Tesla’s collaboration with the company paves the way for the adoption of a more contemporary, high-tech stainless steel in their production processes, propelling innovation and revolutionizing the truck industry with an unparalleled model.
The Cybertruck, after a prolonged delay, is poised to make its debut in 2023. With Outokumpu’s contribution and Tesla’s innovative team, consumers can anticipate a new era in electric trucks. The Cybertruck promises to redefine industry standards, heralding an era of cutting-edge design and materials.