Tesla’s latest production milestone has been surprisingly controversial. Tesla employees and enthusiasts have been celebrating it while Wall Street is doubting the significance of it.
Ford is adding itself to the conversation by somewhat mocking Tesla’s Model 3 production achievement by comparing it with its own manufacturing capacity.
Are they looking at it the right way?
As we reported last weekend, Tesla has reached its production goal to make 5,000 Model 3 vehicles in a week.
On top of that, Tesla maintained its production of about 2,000 Model S and Model X vehicles per week – resulting in a total of about 7,000 vehicles produced in a single week.
Musk tweeted a short message of appreciation for the Tesla team – congratulating them for the new record production week.
Steven Armstrong, Chairman and CEO of Ford Europe and MEA, responded to Musk’s tweet, mocking the achievement by comparing it to Ford’s production in just a few hours:
7000 cars, circa 4 hours. ❤️Ford Team❤️ https://t.co/FZSclsFoS0
— Steven Armstrong (@StevenArmstrong) July 1, 2018
Tesla and Ford had their issues in the past. For example, Ford has participated in some lobbying efforts to stop Tesla’s direct sale model in certain states through their lobbying group.
There was also a trademark issue.
Tesla first wanted the call the Model 3 – Model E. It would have joined the models S and X in Tesla’s lineup to make “S-E-X” with the Model Y to follow later.
The name stuck for a while, but during the shareholders meeting in July 2014, Tesla CEO Elon Musk revealed that the company had to drop its “Model E” trademark after Ford threatened to sue over having a similar naming scheme. At the time, Musk said that “Ford tried to kill sex.”
They don’t get it.
What is impressive about Tesla’s 7,000-car production rate is not as much that they produced 7,000 cars in a week but that they produced 7,000 electric cars in a week – something that is unprecedented by any other automaker.
And I’m not saying that because of the complexity of producing electric cars over gas-powered cars, but what it means to be able to sell and produce EVs at that kind of volume.
No one is doubting Ford’s ability to produce lots of cars. The company has been honing that skill for over 100 years.
If they want to impress EV enthusiasts, they would have to produce and sell 7,000 electric cars in a week, but they can’t do that in a year right now.
It’s 2018 and Ford doesn’t even have an all-electric vehicle built to be electric from the ground up.
As far as compliance electric cars, the Ford Focus Electric is more than decent, but it’s a conversion from the Focus platform and it’s a shame that it is Ford’s only all-electric vehicle in production.
To be fair, the company has been accelerating its electrification plan lately, though it is still hybrid heavy over all-electric. Ford announced an acceleration of its electric effort with 16 all-electric models and 24 hybrids earlier this year.
They unveiled their “refresh lineup for 2020”, which is when they plan to introduce their first all-electric vehicle built to be electric from the ground up, an all-electric CUV with 300 miles of range.
But there’s no doubt that Ford is falling behind in EVs right now.
They recently walked away from most cars to focus on pickup trucks and SUVs. Hopefully, it means that they will start producing all-electric trucks and SUVs.
While they mock Tesla’s manufacturing prowess, they are certainly interested in their technology since we spotted a Tesla Model 3 being tested on Ford’s campus earlier this year.