Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...

Documents detail how Tesla struggled to to manufacture 5,000 Model 3 units per week

Published Aug 21st, 2018 7:11PM EDT
Model 3 Tesla

Without question, demand for Tesla’s Model 3 has never been an issue. Shortly after introducing the Model 3 back in mid-2016, reservations for Tesla’s mass market EV went through the roof and easily exceeded the most optimistic of projections. That’s the good news. The bad news is that Tesla, which has a long history of production delays, has continually struggled to sufficiently ramp up Model 3 production as to keep pace with staggering demand.

Early on, Tesla CEO Elon Musk boasted that Model 3 production would reach 5,000 units per week by the end of 2017. A number of highly-publicized production delays, however, prompted Tesla to push that production goal back all the way to June of 2018. Ultimately, Tesla did manage to produce 5,000 Model 3 units per week during the last week of June, thus proving some notable Tesla skeptics wrong in the process. Reaching that goal, however, did not come easy.

According to internal Tesla documents obtained by Business Insider, Tesla during the last week of June had to rework a whopping 4,300 of the 5,000 Model 3 units that came off the production line.

Internal documents show that Tesla had to rework more than 4,300 of the 5,000 Model 3 vehicles it built during the last week of June, when it hit its critical production target.

Put differently, only 14% of Model 3 cars coming off the production line were deemed ready to ship immediately, a figure that’s far below the industry standard. Incidentally, the average repair time for cars that needed extra attention was 37 minutes.

In a statement on the matter, Tesla didn’t dispute the figure but noted that some Model 3 vehicles require tweaks for relatively minor issues that have no bearing on areas like safety. In other words, Tesla claims that the 14% figure is somewhat misleading.

“In order to ensure the highest quality, we review every vehicle for even the smallest refinement before it leaves the factory,” Tesla said. “Dedicated inspection teams track every car throughout every shop in the assembly line, and every vehicle is then subjected to an additional quality-control process towards the end of the line. And all of this happens before a vehicle leaves the factory and is delivered to a customer.”

Looking ahead, Tesla is aiming to reach a sustainable Model 3 production rate of 6,000 units per week sometime during the current quarter.

Yoni Heisler Contributor

Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large for over 15 years. A life long Mac user and Apple expert, his writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and TUAW. When not analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions.