Tesla has further reduced its production forecast for the Model 3
Tesla Model 3 production numbers are still far below what was expected at this stage due to ongoing battery issues that have required "hand assembly" of parts.
According to reports on CNBC, Tesla's Nevada Gigafactory has not yet fully automated the Model 3's production process, meaning some emloyees have been making batteries by hand.
An unnamed inside source said Tesla had to "borrow" workers from Panasonic, with which it is partenered, to speed up production. They said quality control workers were also not experienced enough to ensure the job was done well enough.
A Tesla spokesman responded by stating that the company had expected some parts of the production process to require "manual" work at this stage. "This is something Elon Musk [CEO] and Jeffrey Brian Straubel [CTO] discussed extensively on our Q3 earnings call, and it has no impact on the quality or safety of the batteries we're producing," they said.
The firm admitted it was working to clear production ‘bottlenecks’ for the Model 3 late last year. In the third quarter of 2017, 220 Model 3s were delivered, compared with Tesla’s prediction of 1500 stated in its second quarter report.
Tesla reassured stakeholders: “There are no fundamental issues with the Model 3 production or supply chain. We understand what needs to be fixed and we are confident of addressing the manufacturing bottleneck issues in the near term.”
The California firm delivered 1550 of its Model 3 cars to customers in the final three months of last year, short of the 4100 expected by most industry analysts. The firm has now said it expects to be producing 2500 Model 3 per week by the end of the first quarter of 2018, half of its original target of 5000 cars per week. Tesla says it will reach 5000 models per week by the end of the second quarter.
Despite the pushback in production for the entry-level model, for which Tesla received more than 400,000 orders in the month following its reveal, company CEO Elon Musk has claimed that major progress has been made on the so-called production bottlenecks which have so far prevented the company from fulfilling its production pledge of the Model 3. In a statement, Tesla said that in the final week of 2017 it hit a production rate that would equate to 1000 Model 3s per week.
The car is not due to arrive in the UK until early next year, although Autocar is awaiting comment from a Tesla spokesman on whether the production setbacks will affect the delivery time of UK-bound vehicles.
Tesla delivered 29,870 cars in the fourth quarter of 2017, including 15,200 Model S and 13,120 Model X. That is broadly in line with industry expectations that the firm would deliver 30,000 cars.