Automotive

Fourfold increase in Tesla Model 3 production as Musk takes the wheel

Fourfold increase in Tesla Mod...
The baby steps that were the start of the Tesla Model 3's production life have evolved into the strides of a toddler
The baby steps that were the start of the Tesla Model 3's production life have evolved into the strides of a toddler
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Hundreds of thousands of customers pre-ordered Tesla's hotly anticipated Model 3 within a week of its grand reveal
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Hundreds of thousands of customers pre-ordered Tesla's hotly anticipated Model 3 within a week of its grand reveal
Tesla's debut electric sedan for the mass market promises a 215-mile (346-km) range, a sub-six-second 0-60 mph (96.5 km/h) sprint
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Tesla's debut electric sedan for the mass market promises a 215-mile (346-km) range, a sub-six-second 0-60 mph (96.5 km/h) sprint
The baby steps that were the start of the Tesla Model 3's production life have evolved into the strides of a toddler
3/5
The baby steps that were the start of the Tesla Model 3's production life have evolved into the strides of a toddler
Tesla's disappointing Q4 production results were compounded by a loss of US$675.4 million, the biggest quarterly loss in its short history
4/5
Tesla's disappointing Q4 production results were compounded by a loss of US$675.4 million, the biggest quarterly loss in its short history
Hundreds of thousands of customers pre-ordered Tesla's hotly anticipated Model 3 within a week of its grand reveal
5/5
Hundreds of thousands of customers pre-ordered Tesla's hotly anticipated Model 3 within a week of its grand reveal

The baby steps that were the start of the Tesla Model 3's production life have evolved into the strides of a toddler, with the company revealing it shipped five times as many sedans in Q1 as it did in Q4 last year.

Hundreds of thousands of customers pre-ordered Tesla's hotly anticipated Model 3 within a week of its grand reveal. At a cost of US$35,000 apiece, the company's debut electric sedan for the mass market promises a 215-mile (346-km) range, a sub-six-second 0-60 mph (96.5 km/h) sprint and Tesla's evolving suite of autonomous driving technologies.

The company had planned to be producing 20,000 Model 3s a month by December 2017, but in a disappointing Q4 it shipped only 1,542. Following that, it set a target of 2,500 a week by the end of Q1 and then 5,000 a week by the end of Q2. It's numbers are starting to look a lot brighter, albeit still short of these lofty goals.

It produced a total of 34,494 vehicles in Q1, which it says was a 40 percent increase on Q4 and the most fruitful quarter in the company's history. Of those, 9,766 were Model 3s. Within that time, it was able to double weekly production of Model 3s and shipped a total of 8,180. In the past seven days, it produced 2,020.

Tesla's disappointing Q4 production results were compounded by a loss of US$675.4 million, the biggest quarterly loss in its short history. Reports have since emerged of CEO Elon Musk taking direct control of Model 3 production to get things back on track, something the billionaire moved to downplay the significance of on Twitter, while also kind of conceding he lives in a factory.

"Can't believe you're even writing about this," he said. "My job as CEO is to focus on what's most critical, which is currently Model 3 production. Doug, who I regard as one of the world's most talented engineering execs, is focused on vehicle engineering."

It is, of course, hard to tell whether the uptick in production is a result of Musk's involvement or a natural ramping up as a car company in relative infancy irons out manufacturing kinks. Either way, he appears to be throwing a lot of energy behind it.

"About a year ago, I asked Doug to manage both engineering & production," he continued. "He agreed that Tesla needed eng & prod better aligned, so we don't design cars that are crazy hard to build. Right now, tho, better to divide & conquer, so I'm back to sleeping at factory. Car biz is hell … "

Source: Tesla

3 comments
MartinVoelker
Not bad when seen in historical context of how fast (or slow, rather) other companies were able to ramp up production of a new line - such as the Bolt. The speed is relevant because only once Tesla is churning them out at high volume do their profits materialise. A production line built for 5000 cars per week doesn't pay for itself - even with Tesla's industry leading margins - if it's only producing 1000 or 2000 cars a week.
DavidB
Kudos to writer Nick Lavars for correctly using "a FOURfold increase" to describe FIVE times the previous rate of production. Most people get that wrong, so HIGH FIVE to you, Mr. Lavars!
Daishi
I'm glad to see Elon address reports that he had taken control of production. The headlines made it sound like he kicked Doug out of the way like "I'll show you how it's done" but in reality he stepped in to help him so Doug isn't spread so thin and can focus on the things he needs to which is a significantly different tone than the headlines imply.