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Future Mobility

Model 3 production: Tesla insider reports huge problems

Termed "production hell" by CEO Elon Musk, Tesla’s problems manufacturing its new Model 3 cars might be bigger than originally thought – and largely self-inflicted, according to a company insider.

21 Nov. 2017 Source: t3n Jörn Brien
Elon Musk presenting the new Tesla Model 3 (Source: dpa)

Model 3: Tesla’s "production hell" allegedly homegrown

At the beginning of October, Tesla was forced to admit that it had substantially missed its planned targets for the production of its Model 3 car series. By the end of September, only 260 electric cars had been produced instead of the planned 1,500. According to the Wall Street Journal, some of these even had to be produced by hand. Tesla CEO Elon Musk explained that this was a result of "production bottlenecks" – a situation he later termed "production hel". An insider has now exposed Tesla's production problems to the Daily Kanban website.

According to them, the manufacturer’s problems are largely homegrown due to inconsistencies and chaos at the management level. In addition, components for the production lines had been ordered far too late. The anonymous source went on to report that there had been multiple requests for changes based on disagreements between the designers and developers at Tesla. The source also said that, in contrast to traditional car manufacturers, the company had dispensed with product prototyping, relying on its own internal “pilot line” to test product functionality ("cold build").

As a result of this, and due to the departure of several key managers previously involved in the production of the Tesla Model X and Model S cars, it could take longer than previously expected for production of the Model 3 to take off, as Mobile Geeks reports. If you order a Model 3 car now, you might have to wait more than a year for delivery – not the best sales argument.

Model 3: Production tally of 3,000 cars a week unlikely before the end of 2018?

Another insider had already told the industry magazine Wards Auto just a few weeks ago that it was scarcely conceivable Tesla could produce 2,500 to 3,000 Model 3 cars a week, given its current limited production capacity and other problems, until the end of 2018. Tesla had originally planned to ramp up Model 3 production to 5,000 vehicles a week by the end of 2017, which will now no longer be possible. But there is a glimmer of hope: Kazuhiro Tsuga, head of the Japanese tech company Panasonic, who is working with Tesla on battery production, announced on Tuesday that the “production bottlenecks” in Tesla's Gigafactory 1 would soon be eliminated, with the automation of battery production soon to be implemented. After that, Model 3 production should swiftly go up, said the Panasonic CEO, according to Reuters. Elon Musk recently paid a personal visit to the factory – the company's survival depends on its Model 3 production being as uninterrupted as possible.