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    Thread: How an Electric Car is Made ?

    1. #1
      No Commerce, Just Fun
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      May 2012

      How an Electric Car is Made ?

      Since last few months, i have been investigating on topic "What it takes to build a Automobile Factory?" As part of this study, i have been watching some videos. I thought of sharing some interesting ones with fellow Gearheads, who can also share some of their insights along with passion for cars.

      Assembly Line has been one of the most important invention of last century, by Henry Ford. What is better than learning about how FORD makes it's iconic car, FORD MUSTANG.

      Chapter 1: Exterior Design

      Chapter 2: Interior Design

      Chapter 3: Engineering

      Chapter last : Market Launch

      My investigation about "What it takes to build a Automobile Factory?" took me to Ingolstadt, some 80 KMs from Munchen, Bavaria part of Germany.

      I spent a complete day visiting the A4 production line including Robotic Body Shop, Paint Shop, Assembly Line, Testing Chambers, Supplier park, AUDI showroom as well as Museum. It was worth every euro cent spent. Photography or Videography is prohibited inside AUDI factory. But i found a National Geographic Documentary video on AUDI R8 Manufacturing. it is approx. 43 minutes.

      As part of my study during my Germany visit, I also visited BMW Welt, Museum, BMW HeadQuarters in Munchen. I also experienced Rolls Royce, Mini Cooper and BMW portfolio of cars. I also visited their design studio and interacted with few designers.

      Below is a 45 minute Youtube video on BMW6 Manufacturing.

      BMW Car Design Process: 7.21 minutes

      Design Process of 2016 BMW 7 series....11.04 minutes

      AUDI Design Chief explains his Design Philosophy and Concepts...
      Audi Prologue concept | Marc Lichte divulges design process | Digital Trends

      Car Designers are a Creative set of people, whose passion for cars does not make them a keyboard warrior on automobile forums, but immerse themselves in the hard path of developing their own portfolio, learn design through hard work, road less traveled, and facing more failures and rejections than successes or appreciation.

      Modern Car Designers must know the car inside out in all respects viz. materials, usability, experience, durability, processes, parts, manufacturing, automation, marketing, sales, service etc.

      It is a tough job and like any tough job, it is very exciting and fun as well.

      Last edited by Nomad; 7th Mar 2017 at 19:11.

    2. #2
      No Commerce, Just Fun
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      May 2012
      I have visited Tata Motors Campus in Pune few times. I have also seen Tata Nano factory from outside during my tourist visit to Gujarat. My employer was one of their tech supplier and i had an opportunity interact with ERC few times during last decade. I also visited them during 2015 middle for some discussions. Of course i do not have any photographic evidences of their factory or processes.

      I found a documentary on Youtube on Tata Nano, the world's cheapest car.

      Apart from Tata Motors, another well known automobile manufacturer from India is Mahindra.

      Please watch 43 minute video on making of XUV500 by Mahindra, from 2006. The sophistication shown here is at least a decade old, if not more. i am sure Mahindra has moved ahead with innovation and process refinement.

      please do share your insights if any...

      Last edited by Nomad; 17th Apr 2017 at 08:56.

    3. #3
      No Commerce, Just Fun
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      May 2012

      How an Electric Car is made? - Tesla Model S

      During my visit to Germany, i visited a Tesla showroom, experienced Model S and Model X, had an hour long ride in Tesla Model S, test drove it for few KMs. It was one of the adrenalin pumping experience.

      Electric Cars are considered leapfrogging way of manufacturing cars. I found a 45 minute Youtube video on Tesla Model S factory.

      As my study progresses, my fascination for cars is being raised to a different paradigm. I can not express it in words as of now. Automobile Manufacturing is the Mother of all Factories or Industry, while Steel Manufacturing is Grand Mother.

      Please do watch and share your insights if any...

      Last edited by Nomad; 7th Mar 2017 at 19:12.

    4. #4
      Gears in head!!!
      Life needs a purpose!
      rksingh1's Avatar
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      Feb 2012
      Chennai, Tamilnadu
      Quote Originally Posted by Nomad View Post
      Munchen, Bavaria part of Germany
      Was this the purpose of your Germany visit or it came as an off day tour?

      Quote Originally Posted by Nomad View Post
      XUV500 by Mahindra, from
      Saw it as a part of my XUV500 research. J.Ravi sir had recommended it as well. It was a good watch.

      Quote Originally Posted by Nomad View Post
      experienced Model S and Model X, had an hour long ride in Tesla Model S, test drove it for few KMs
      I guess your experience alone warrants a thread. Tesla Model X/S (or such type of electric cars) are the future! I will watch this video tonight.

      Quote Originally Posted by Nomad View Post
      Automobile Manufacturing is the Mother of all Factories or Industry, while Steel Manufacturing is Grand Mother.
      Nicely put. Automobile industry is a fascinating world. There are two big global hubs for it - Europe and Japan. You'll be awestruck seeing the Japanese auto manufacturing plant.
      Last edited by Nomad; 10th Nov 2016 at 14:10.

    5. #5

      Sex is not the Answer. Sex is
      the Question. Yes is the
      Indian's Avatar
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      Mar 2013
      Tesla is selling cars before they are even made and collecting billions in deposits. In the end these buyers might only get a folder with some beautiful pictures of cars that they have shown to the press. Or even a car radio like what happened to Preston Tucker. All those who paid their deposits lost their money.
      By then Elon Musk would have secured his future.

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      Preston Tucker - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    6. #6

      reclaiming my life!

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      Mar 2016
      Nice one Nomad. I am planning a visit to Tata factory at Pune. I would like to see how they make a Safari. Once i get a confirmation that they indeed manufacture the Safari at Pune plant I will schedule my visit.


    7. #7

      following a 'Linea'r
      Guru's Avatar
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      Jun 2011
      Thane, near Mumbai
      Nice. IIRC, National Geographic did an episode on Nano in their series "Megafactories" or something like that.

      They also did one on Hero Motors.

    8. #8
      No Commerce, Just Fun
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      May 2012

      What car designers 'smoke' while designing ?

      I recently spent few days in Munchen, Bavaria trying to understand the German way of Automobile Design and Manufacturing. I had an opportunity to visit couple of design studios, car museums, car showrooms, car factory apart from meeting and discussing with some very experienced designers. These are some of my notes from the visit outlining the Car Design Process as understood by me. This article is typed out of my notes out of the books i purchased in Germany, my internet search and personal notes from conversations with designers. Hope it will provide you a perspective on what goes in designing a car.

      Broadly Automobile Design has few major elements

      1. Exterior Design: This basically deals with external body and surfaces of the car including size, proportions, shape, surfaces.

      2. Interior Design: This basically deals with the proportions, shape, placement, surfaces for the instrument panel, center console, seats, door trip panels, headliners, pillar trims etc. Here the emphasis is on ergonomics and comfort of the passengers.

      3. Color and Trim Design: This basically deals with all interior and exterior colors and material used in the vehicle. This may include paints, plastics, fabrics, leather, grains, carpet, headliners, wood trips etc. Here the emphasis is on color, contrast, texture and pattern which are carefully combined to deliver unique interior environment experience. These designers work closely with Exterior and Interior Designers.

      4. Graphic Design: This basically deals with items such as badges, dials, switches, kick or thread strips, decals, etc.

      The Design Process consists of following steps

      Concept Development: A design process starts with the approval (of budget) to develop a new car. the first step is to define a conceptual framework after considering customer and market requirements. Typical requirements include geography, local regulations, price targets, legacy aspects etc. These requirements are then translated into first drafts and character sketches. Some times up to 10 different design teams (each having 6-8 designers) from different design studios participate in an internal design competition. Drafts and ideas are presented and assessed during regular review meetings with the Head of the Design. Designers often seek inspiration from history and legacy of the car brand, also from trade fairs, examples from nature, fashion and architecture apart from product design and furniture sectors.

      BMW Concept Design Process

      Sketches: Once he character is defined and objectives are identified, the designers enter the actual sketching phase. Every designer participating in the competition starts with an empty sheet of paper. With countless drafts being created, the concepts slowly take shape. The first sketches are often simple graphic notes i.e. the first hand drawn traces of an idea. They are neither highly elaborate not perfect, but this imperfection creates unique appeal. All through the process these sketches are followed by more detailed and elaborated drawings that illustrate the birth of a new car design.

      Start of the sketch
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      Different views:
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      Evolution of different sketching stages
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      Final Exterior Sketch example
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      Example of sketch which also shows some interiors
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      Sketches of Different parts/components
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      Sketch of Door Panels
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      Sketch of Dash board
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      The Art of the Line: Based on these first sketches, the designers prepare so called tape drawings on a kind of technical roadmap for the future vehicle, including all known constructional conditions. The designers create the tape plan on a large white wall, to illustrate the future car true to scale and in life size. A black adhesive tape is used in this process. This enables designers to analyze and define the proportions and distinctive contour lines and change them quickly. The silhouettes and contours of the finished tape drawing provides a first impression of the cars final character.

      Youtube video on Tape Drawing technique

      Form-finding and creating the series: In addition to tape drawing, the designer and the form-finding modeler create virtual and real models of the car. Computer Aided Design (CAD) models are especially suited for viewing individual parts and components. A life-size clay model is preferred for assessing the car's overall appearance. Modeling clay is industrial material that can be worked like plasticine. The form-finding phase includes the elaboration of surfaces, lines and details, enabling the modelers to create real design sculptures.

      Examples of Clay Model Car
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      Youtube video on Alias or Clay Modeling

      The Final Lap: Generally all above steps would take approximately an year of hard work and creativity. All the clay models get reviewed by the group management, which decides upon the final exterior and interior design; as well as the color and material during the final presentation. Sometimes fusion is created from different concept teams to arrive at final design. Next the concept becomes real and final hand made sculpture is developed which exactly looks like a Car which can be touched, felt, walk around and experienced by the viewers.

      examples of final model of the concept design, which people can review by going around it.
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      An example of a Virtual Reality / Animation video of a concept car

      A typical Design Studio consists of following experts

      * Exterior Sketch Designers
      * Interior Sketch Designers
      * Surface Designers
      * Color, material and trim specialists
      * Graphic and Branding Designers
      * Virtual Reality, Rendering and Animation experts and visualizers
      * Computer Aided Designers and Stylers.
      * CAD Analysts
      * Clay / Hard Modelers
      * Workshop staff viz. Milling, Machining, tool room experts.
      * Design Leads and Managers
      * Head of Design

      Typical Design Studio consists of following infrastructure

      * Sketching Tools like photoshop, prismacolor etc.
      * Computer Aided Design Softwares like autodesk Maya, autodesk - alias, deltagen, CATIA
      * Virtual Reality, Visualization and Animation tools like VRed
      * Graphic Design Tools
      * Analytical Tools
      * Tool Room
      * Milling and Machining facility
      * Modeling shop
      * Rapid Prototyping facilities like Stereolithographic 3D printing, Laminated Object Manufacturing, Vacuum moulding
      * Paint Shop
      * Demo Room with walk around area
      * Presentation, Communication, Collaboration tools.
      * Tried, tested and trusted partners or vendors

      A lot goes behind designing a car, creativity, research, efforts, debates, hand work, brainwork, coordination, collaboration, communication before an idea takes shape, form and finish. knowing this will bring in a bit more sensitivity while reviewing a car or experiencing it for the first time.At a very conservative estimate it takes few million euros to develop a concept car design. Knowing this also helps avoiding downright statements like "i do not know what the designers where smoking while they designed this car". It is indeed an expensive Cigar or Cigarette or Bidi for sure if they get it wrong.

      Here is a perspective from a Designer.

      Last edited by Nomad; 25th Jan 2017 at 15:06.

    9. #9

      not aware that he can set his status here!
      sparkls's Avatar
      Join Date
      Nov 2013
      uss sulaco
      So designing is a costly process! maybe thats why MM produces ugly cars by hiring kindergarten kids.

    10. #10
      No Commerce, Just Fun
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      May 2012

      14 Automobile companies that control 54 brands

      Found this interesting Infographic...

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      Some comments:

      1. Suzuki is missing in the infographic,
      2. Chinese car brands BYD, SAIC ..... etc are missing
      3. Renault and Nissan are couples, more or less joint management group
      4. Ferrari is missing, part of FIAT group
      5. All these companies might get disrupted in coming decade as EV brands become big ; Tesla, Google, Apple, BYD, NextEV, Faraday Future...

      Meet these top 6 EV companies...

      Tesla | Premium Electric Sedans and SUVs
      NIO - Home
      FF 91 | First Of The Species | Faraday Future
      Waymo - Wikipedia
      Apple electric car project - Wikipedia
      Last edited by Nomad; 14th Jan 2017 at 08:22.

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