All eyes are on Tesla’s Model 3 production ramp up as the company is trying to increase volume from a few hundred vehicles to the biggest electric car program in the industry.
Tesla recently confirmed that they have “production bottlenecks” preventing higher volumes but without specifying what are the issues.
Now CEO Elon Musk hints at problems at Gigafactory 1 as a potential explanation for the bottlenecks.
While Tesla has been working on the Gigafactory since 2014 and started producing products at the factory in 2015, Model 3 is Tesla’s first EV program depending on the new battery plant.
Panasonic is making the Model 3 2170 battery cells and Tesla is producing both the battery packs using the cells and the drive units for the new electric car at the factory.
Those manufacturing efforts are apparently not immune to what Musk has been calling “production hell”.
The CEO shared images of himself camping on the roof of the Gigafactory with a few other people:
On Twitter, he later explained that they camped at the Gigafactory because it took less time than going back to Reno, which is the closest town and about half an hour away from the plant.
He added “production hell, ~8th circle” to tweet:
That seems to indicate that at least one of the production bottlenecks, and potentially a serious one (~8th circle), is coming from the Gigafactory 1.
It could be anything from the battery cell level to the battery pack level or even the drive unit production lines, which are also located at the factory.
Recent reports suggested that the bottlenecks were instead at the Fremont factory, where Model 3 is being built and assembled, and another report said that the production bottlenecks are due to suppliers.
It’s clear at this point that all the information is just all over the place, which is understandable considering there are probably more eyes on the Model 3’s production program than any other automotive program ever.
As previously mentioned, Tesla is trying over the next few months to produce the Model 3 at a rate of 5,000 units per week, which is unprecedented for an electric car.
We need to keep that in mind when Musk adds comments like that or his previous warning to “assume the worst” about potential delays.
Tesla is still listing “late October” on its website for first regular customer deliveries. With just a few days left in the month, we should have a better idea of a potential delay soon. I expect an update on Model 3 production status when Tesla releases its third-quarter results on November 1st next week.