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Tesla clarifies comments about Model 3 production ramp – no need for new battery line for 2,500 units per week

During its financial results and conference call, Tesla reiterated that it plans to reach production of 2,500 Model 3 vehicles per week by the end of March and 5,000 units per week by the end of the second quarter.

But some comments led people to believe that those levels of production relied on a whole production line being moved from Germany to the US.

Tesla now clarifies those comments to try to reinforce the expectations for its goals.

CEO Elon Musk said that a newly designed Model 3 battery module production line made by Tesla’s automation group in Germany needed to be disassembled and moved to the US in order for them to start producing more than 2,000 units per week.

Here’s exactly what he said during the call:

“[We] expect the new automated lines to arrive next month in March. And then it’s already working in Germany so that’s going to be disassembled, brought out to the Gigafactory and reassembled and then go into operation at the Gigafactory. It’s not a question whether it works or not. It’s just a question of disassembly, transport and reassembly. So we expect to alleviate that constraint. With alleviating that constraint, that’s what gets us to the roughly 2,000 to 2,500 unit per week production rate.”

That sort of led many people (including us as discussed in our podcast earlier today) to believe that this move needed to be completed by the end of next month in order for Tesla to achieve its goals.

But the company issued a clarification in a SEC filing after market close today.

They wrote:

“The “2,000 to 2,500” units per week cited in this comment refers solely to the capacity of the additional automated battery module manufacturing equipment that is currently located in Germany, and not to Tesla’s total Model 3 production run rate or to the capacity of the automated battery module equipment that is already present at Gigafactory 1.  Tesla’s ability to meet its target of 2,500 per week by end of Q1 2018 is not dependent on the additional equipment that is currently located in Germany, as that equipment is expected to start ramping production during Q2 2018.  With respect to battery module production, Tesla’s ability to meet its target of 2,500 per week by end of Q1 2018 is dependent only on the equipment that is already present at Gigafactory 1, as well as the incremental capacity that is currently being added through the semi-automated lines that were also discussed during the conference call.”

The “semi-automated lines” are lines that require some manual labor, but Musk praised their efficiency nonetheless during the conference call.

Electrek’s Take

It’s rare that Tesla issues clarifications of the sort, which leads me to believe that they are really trying to reinforce the expectation that they can reach the goal of 2,500 units per week – especially after the updated Model 3 delivery window for reservation holders this week.

Moving a production line is no small feat, but Musk did say that it would arrive in the US in March, which made sense with the timeline for the goal – albeit being a little ambitious, but what’s new?

But it now sounds like Tesla currently has the resources needed to ramp up production to 2,500 units per week within the next 4 weeks without the new line up and running.

What do you think? Let us know in the comment section below.

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