20.000t diecasting machine by Neta and LK Technogy

Manufactoring time could be reduced tremendously

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(A large die-casting machine displayed on LK Technology's website.)

The arms race in China's electric vehicle (EV) industry is spilling over into large-scale die-casting machines.

Neta, a brand of Hozon Auto, announced today that it signed a strategic cooperation agreement with Hong Kong-listed integrated die-casting machine maker LK Technology on December 15 to jointly develop die-casting equipment in the 20,000-ton class.

The equipment will be the most powerful in the field globally, surpassing the 12,000-ton die-casting machine currently used by Xpeng (NYSE: XPEV), the 9,000-ton die-casting machine used by Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA) and Aito, and the 7,200-ton die casting machine used by Zeekr, Neta said.

With the help of this equipment, the integrated die-casting technology will be used for larger-sized parts, including B-class vehicle chassis, allowing a skateboard chassis to be made in 1-2 minutes, Neta said.

Neta will also purchase several large die-casting machines from LK Technology and will form a joint venture to build a die-casting demonstration manufacturing base in Anhui province in eastern China.

Integrated die-casting equipment can integrate otherwise dispersed components, significantly reducing the number of parts in a vehicle and lowering manufacturing costs compared to traditional manufacturing methods, Neta's press release noted.

The technology can reduce the manufacturing time for a vehicle chassis from the traditional 1-2 hours to 1 to 2 minutes, and help reduce the weight and improve the comfort of the vehicle, Neta said.

Creating a 20,000-ton die-casting facility is significant in scaling down costs and will help the company achieve its goal of selling more than 1 million vehicles globally by 2026, Neta said.

Neta was founded in October 2014 and it launched its first model in November 2018, making it one of the first new car-making forces in China.

The company plans to enter more than 50 countries and regions by 2024 and aims to sell 100,000 units overseas next year, it said earlier this year.

Neta aims to transform itself into a global high-tech technology company by 2026 and reach 1 million sales in global markets, it said on October 30.

LK Technology is a major global manufacturer of die-casting machines with a market share of more than 50 percent in the Chinese mainland, according to the company.

Several Chinese EV makers have now introduced large die-casting machines, with Xpeng building the front and rear bodies of the X9 with one 7,000-ton die-casting machine and one 12,000-ton die-casting machine at its Guangzhou plant.

CnEVPost visited the plant earlier this month to see the two large die-casting machines and learned that Xpeng will start putting a new 16,000-ton die-casting machine into operation in mid-January.