- In a leaked email obtained by CNBC, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said that Model 3 production has moved about 500 units per day.
- The troubled TeslaModel 3’s run rate is now at roughly 3,500 per week.
- Some aspects of the system are pushing toward 700-vehicle capacity per day.
- The carmaker has said that it will achieve 5,000 per week by the end of June.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk is excited about the manufacturing of the carmaker’s troubled Model 3 – a reversal of his nearly yearlong journey through “production hell.”
But according to an internal email obtained by CNBC, he isn’t overconfident, insisting that there’s plenty of work left to do if the company is going to meet its own target of 5,000 in weekly Model 3 output by the end of June.
“All parts of the Model 3 production system are now above 500 and some are almost at 700 cars already,” Musk said in the email. He also said that “radical improvements are still needed in paint shop output, GA3, bringing up the new GA4, End of Line and Module Zone 4 at Giga” and that “[w]e also need to achieve sustained, 700+ per week on the body line.”
Tesla declined a request to comment.
But just because the production capacity at the Fremont factory might be increasing, doesn’t necessarily mean that Tesla will be able to reliably crank out those number of cars.
For example, “GA3” and “GA4” are “general assembly” lines, where the various components of the Model 3 are put together – at this juncture on a 24/7 schedule. Tesla has had issues with automating Model 3 assembly and has now moved to running two parallel lines, plus a new fourth line that’s in the process of being installed and made operational.
The company has been doing this on the fly, a departure from the usual practice in the auto industry, which is to build a line and test it before moving a significant number of cars through. In the case of early Model 3 production, this led to problems as Tesla realised it has been overly ambitious with its automation goals.
“Module 4 at Giga” is the fourth area where the Model 3’s battery packs are assembled at its massive battery factory. Obviously, Tesla can’t complete the vehicles in Fremont without the batteries coming in from Nevada, where the Gigafactory is located. Since last year, this has been a major bottleneck for the company, contributed to lower-than-predicted Model 3 output.
If the system is pumping out 500 vehicle per day – about 3,500 per week – then Tesla is still well short of its own 5,000-per-week goal, and that could be the basis for Musk’s email.
However, the carmaker continues to run flat-out to achieve this objective. The question is whether the Model 3 production system can sustain the pace.
Tesla shares slipped slightly in pre-market trading Monday, to $US356.
You can view the full email from Musk below:
From: Elon Musk
Subj. Only 8 days left to reach 700 cars/day or 5k/week
June 15, 2018
It’s getting very exciting! All parts of the Model 3 production system are now above 500 and some are almost at 700 cars already. Congratulations to all on making so much progress!
That said, radical improvements are still needed in paint shop output, GA3, bringing up the new GA4, End of Line and Module Zone 4 at Giga. We also need to achieve sustained, 700+ per week on the body line.
Wherever you are in the company, if you feel you can help out in any of those areas, please check in with Jat Dhillon on GA3, Jerome Guillen on GA4 and Omead on EoL and JB Straubel or Christ Lister on Module Zone 4.
I will be at our Fremont factory almost 24/7 for the next several days checking in with those groups to make sure they have as many resources as they can handle.
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