During Tesla’s recent third quarter, the company only managed to produce 260 Model 3s, a figure far below expectations. While it was long assumed Tesla would need some time to ramp up production, no one really envisioned Model 3 production being as slow as it’s been. As to why Model 3 production has been curiously low, Tesla attributed the blame to “production bottlenecks” without delving into further detail.
Looking to fill in some of the gaps, the The Wall Street Journal last week claimed that the “production bottlenecks” Tesla alluded to were the result of problems with the company’s advanced robots. Consequently, the Journal added that Tesla factory workers were busy “piecing together parts of the cars in a special area while the company feverishly worked to finish the machinery designed to produce Model 3’s at a rate of thousands a week.”
It sounds plausible, but Tesla was quick to issue a statement vehemently denying any such problems with its manufacturing process. In an email sent to Jalopnik about the Journal article, Tesla boasted that everything is running smoothly, all things considered.
This reporting is fundamentally wrong and misleading. We are still in the beginning of our production ramp, but every Model 3 is being built on the Model 3 production line, which is fully installed, powered on, producing vehicles, and increasing in automation every day. However, every vehicle manufacturing line in the world has both manual and automated processes, including the Model S and Model X line today. Contrary to the Journal’s reporting, this is not some revelation. As we’ve always acknowledged, it will take time to fine-tune the line for higher volumes, but as we have also said, there are no fundamental issues with Model 3 production or its supply chain, and we are confident in addressing the manufacturing bottleneck issues in the near-term. We are simply working through the S-curve of production that we drew out for the world to see at our launch event in July. There’s a reason it’s called production hell.
Moving things to the Twitterverse, as Elon Musk is prone to do, the outspoken Tesla CEO added that they’re currently hoping to begin customer deliveries by late October.
Bear in mind that the production ramp is an exponential curve. Late Oct is possible, but not certain. Literally every day makes a big difference.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 6, 2017
What’s more, Musk on Sunday brushed off his Instagram credentials and posted a video of the Model 3 production line slowed down to 1/10th full speed.
Looking ahead, it will be interesting to see if Tesla will be able to manufacture 5,000 Model 3s a week as initially promised.