Sam Altman of Y Combinator recently had the opportunity to have a 1-on-1 sit down with Elon Musk. During the interview, they conversed about various subjects including whether or not he [Musk] thought people getting their PhDs is generally useful, the colonization of mars, and artificial intelligence. But one statement, in particular, that Musk revealed in his talks with Altman stood out like a sore thumb: he believes that the team at Tesla can increase the speed on the production line by, a staggering, 20-fold.
In recent months, Musk started comparing Tesla’s future factory to an “alien dreadnought”, adding “the point at which that’s what the factory looks like, that’s when you know you’ve won.”
Earlier this year, he explained that his new focus is on “the machine building the machine.” Applying physics first principle, he turned manufacturing into an equation: “the output is going to be volume times density times velocity.”
He has since been talking a lot about the output of Tesla manufacturing plants in term of speed. For example, this is how he described the future battery cell manufacturing output at the Gigafactory:
“The exit rate of cells from Gigafactory will be faster than bullets from a machine gun.”
Now towards the end of the conversation with Sam Altman published today, in reference to the automated robots at the Fremont factory, they started talking about the speed of the factory output:
Sam: It’s amazing to watch the robots go here and these cars just happen.
Elon: Yeah. Now, this actually has a relatively lower level of automation compared to what the Gigafactory will have and what Model 3 will have.
Sam: What’s the speed on the line of these cars?
Elon: Actually our speed on the line is incredibly slow. I think we are…in terms of the extra velocity of vehicles on the line, it’s probably about, including both X an S, it’s maybe five centimeters per second. This is very slow.
Sam: And what would you like to get to?
Elon: I’m confident we can get to at least one meter per second. So, a 20-fold increase.
Sam: That would be very fast.
Elon: Yeah. At least. I mean, I think quite a…one meter per second, just to put into perspective, is a slow walk or a medium-speed walk. A fast walk could be one and a half meters per second. And then the fastest humans can run over 10 meters per second.
To put things into perspective, Tesla is currently producing about 2000+ vehicles per week at the production speed of ~5 centimeters per second on the line. If they get to the point where they’re moving cars down the line one meter per second, we can only imagine how many vehicles they’ll be pushing out. We do know that they are trying to get to levels of producing ~10,000 vehicles per week by 2018, so increasing their speed and efficiency by 20-fold is definitely one way to do it.
In addition to further developing their efficiency, reaching this speed on the line will assist Tesla in keeping up with the insane demand for the Model 3.
You can check out the interview down below:
This in an incredibly bold statement. A 20-fold increase?What do you think? Let us know in the comment section below.
Subscribe to Electrek on YouTube for exclusive videos and subscribe the podcast.