Tesla’s 2nd Production Line Capable Of Pumping Out 3,000 Tesla Per Week

2 years ago by Eric Loveday 35

Two Lines Are Always Better Than One

Two Lines Are Always Better Than One

Tesla Gears Up For Model X Production With Addition Of 2nd Production Line

Tesla Gears Up For Model X Production With Addition Of 2nd Production Line

Nearly 3 months ago, Tesla Motors idled its Fremont factory to install a second production line.

Recently, Global Equities Research analyst Trip Chowdhry went inside Tesla Fremont factory to explore the various upgrades Tesla performed.  In regards to that second production line, here’s what Chowdhry reports:

“We observed that the new production line is fully operational.  This new production line has a potential production capacity of 3,000 cars per week.  The factory has an empty area, where Model III Production line could be installed.”

Of course “potential capacity” is not to be confused with actual, or current; remember Nissan’s Smyrna plant in Tennessee is capable of producing 150,000 LEAFs in a year, yet is currently tooled to make only about 40,000 – a demand level that took the company more than half a year to bump up to thanks to a very slow battery pipeline.

Chowdhry noted that at the time of his visit (late August) the lines were capable of pumping out 800 Model S EVs per week.  He estimated that production would hit the 1,000-unit per week mark with 4 to 6 weeks (so, right around now).

The retooling at Fremont cost Tesla $100 million.  It was the single largest investment made by Tesla into the factory since operations there began.  Most of the retooling was to allow Tesla to build both the Model S and upcoming Model X on the sames lines (2 lines, that is).

Source: Street Insider

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35 responses to "Tesla’s 2nd Production Line Capable Of Pumping Out 3,000 Tesla Per Week"

  1. Bonaire says:

    When talking “a line” you also need to talk of the shifts running that line. If they run it with five days and two shifts, then the line can also run weekends and 3rd shift at night. However, they are running weekends now to get through end of Q3. What they should do is run the line at a constant rate and not have to work extra hard to “make it” at quarter end. The only thing I can see is that they will catch up on backlog during Q4 and have limited backlog going into 2015 Q1 when orders for Model X start to take away from orders for Model S. Meaning – the line will not do more than 1000/week any time soon otherwise they will have a slow Q1. I do suspect that they also do not go over 34,000 sales in 2014 and will blame the slow-start of the new line after August 4 for that “miss”. Gotta blame something.

    A story about the possibility of an assembly line doing 3000/week is one thing. It is like trying to say that if you buy a McDonalds restaurant, the “lunch rush” will go all the way until 9pm at night. The issue at Tesla is the balance between orders, shipping logistics, service centers, sales galleries, issues with import laws and more. They have far more to deal with than just how many cars the assembly line can produce.

    1. Grendal says:

      Elon said that by the end of 2015 Tesla will be at a level of producing 100,000 cars a year. 3000 a week would be 1/3 higher than even that. I suppose the most efficient way to increase production would be to have the one production line be able to make the Model S, X, and even the Model 3. That way Tesla can begin production of the Model 3 on their primary line for its introduction. All while building more lines to deal with increasing demand. If they hit the demand that they expect then they will need two more lines that are just as efficient as this one seems to be.

      1. Anthony says:

        From a capital efficiency standpoint, I figure 100K/yr is two shifts, five days a week. 150K would be three shifts around the clock, five days a week. Seems to line up for me.

        1. sven says:

          Tesla can’t do three shifts under it’s present system, since Elon requires his factory workers to work 10-hour shifts for 50-hour workweeks.

          1. liberty says:

            Of course they can do 3 shifts There are 158 hours in a week. You can split that into 3 shifts x 50 hours, but typically we talk about 3 shifts x 40 hours with some overtime to fill it in. You typically size a line to run 2 shifts, and if volume is heavier then add a shift. 3000 per week capacity at 3 shifts, would be properly sized for 100,000 likely at 2 shifts. There is maintenance and seasonality that need extra capacity.

            1. Buddyroe says:

              158 hours in a week?

              1. liberty says:

                Sorry typo, 7 hours x 24 is 168 hours in a week. Typically 3 shifts x 8 hours x 5 days (120 hours) with possibilities for 48 hours (saturday and sunday) overtime.

      2. Omar Sultan says:

        IIRC, he said they would be delivering vehicles at an annualized rate of 100K, they noted their production would be in excess of this number to account for vehicles in the delivery pipeline.

      3. wkndtech says:

        So far Tesla has meet or exceed their sale quota, so their online of producing more cars . I’m sure
        That logistics aren’t a problem with them going global, cause their vehicles are already in most countries.

  2. IDK says:

    You guys have popup ads again covering your site here and there. Seen both on a iPhone and iPad.

    1. QCO says:

      And it is incredibly annoying because the pop ups return to blot out the text every time you scroll, even when just scrolling down by one line.

      For people who scroll continuously, InsideEVs has become almost unreadable.

      1. Snowman says:

        Turn off java script in advanced settings for safari.

        1. IDK says:

          It’s not a Safari issue, I’m actually using Chrome browser. This website is infected with malware.

          1. Jay Cole says:

            It’s not (see below), an ad provider has change the setting on our ad unit without our consent and we can’t reach them on the weekend apparently. Hope to have it sorted out Monday morning.

            1. Jay Cole says:

              Actually, our IT guy just came online and has disabled the ad unit entirely until it can be resolved. The issue should now (crudely) have been solved.

      2. Anon says:

        Yeah, the ads are quite distracting and makes me increasingly unhappy reading this site…

        1. Jay Cole says:

          Random update:

          Not sure exactly what has happened, one of our ad providers has changed the setting on how their ads appear on their own…which is kind of a big no-no.

          We are working on returning them to normal…unfortunately it seems like while we work weekends, they do not.

          Update 2: The ad unit has now been disabled until it can be resolved. The issue should now (crudely) have been solved.

          1. QCO says:

            Jay, thanks for looking into this and resolving it so quickly.

            We probably don’t say it enough, but I’m sure all of us really do appreciate the work you put into making InsideEVs such a great information source for this industry.

            1. Rick Danger says:

              +1!

    2. Kubel says:

      I can’t even get my Android phone to load insideevs.com.

    3. Steven says:

      Not seeing them on my android phone or tablet.

  3. Does the 2nd line then double the potential capacity? It won’t be long until both lines are going full-tilt and not much longer until they need to build that 3rd line for the Model 3. Great company, great progress.

  4. Holger says:

    “Nissan’s Smyrna plant in Tennessee is capable of producing 150,000 LEAFs in a year, yet is currently tooled to make only about 40,000”

    The Tesla Fremont factory is capable of producing 500,000 cars in a year, but is currently tooled to make 150,000 in a year.

    Just to use the same language…

    1. Kubel says:

      Factory capacity > tooling capacity > actual production.

      1. Bonaire says:

        Remember that production > sales. In Q1 and Q2 of this year, Tesla produced 1078 and 1184 Model S above the number they sold. Given that – they needed a plant shutdown for retooling given that they had 2300 inventory, en-route cars in July.

        Talking about what a production line can do is one thing. Backing that up with an actual true delivery demand is another. Until quarterly sales match the prior quarter’s production, they will continue to over-produce cars that may sell as lower-priced loaners to close-out the next few quarters.

  5. GSP says:

    If I remember Tesla’s statements at the 2Q results Q&A correctly, Tesla did *not* install a SECOND assembly line.

    Instead, they shut down their existing assenbly line, and upgraded it to 3,000 unit per week capability.

    The existing Model S *BODY* line still has less than 3000/week capability, but Tesla plans to install a *second body line* in 1H2015. This will not require a plant shutdown. The new body line will make more units per week than the old one and lower costs. Tesla can also run both body lines if they need to.

    Tesla also plans a big paint shop upgrade. I think that is in 2015 as well.

    GSP

    PS. The body line welds the unibody together. It is then sent to the assembly line.

    1. Omar Sultan says:

      They did install a brand new high speed production line. They have maintained the old serpentine line for one-offs and prototypes.

      1. Josh says:

        I think both of you are right. My understanding is it is a second assembly line, with the original line still existing.

        But in order to hit the 100k per year run rate, they will still need to install a second body line and a paint shop upgrade. And that is planned for early next year.

        My guess is it will be needed before Model X goes into production. They did say that they would not need to stop Model S production to complete those upgrades, like they did with the assembly line changes.

    2. Bonaire says:

      The new assembly line is in a different part of the building than the old line. The new line is – um – NEW. The old line is meant for prototypes of MX and maybe production if demand grows. The new line is supposed to do all production for the most part going into 2015.

  6. jmac says:

    Speaking of production schedules…..

    Tesla announced a while back that 35,000 units was the production goal for 2014,

    To achieve that goal Tesla must reach a Model S production/ delivery number of around 60,000 vehicles by the end of 2014.

    On the Tesla Motors Club website there are at least two threads that track Vin numbers.

    The highest registered Vin number is 58630.
    scheduled for delivery sometime in November in Seattle.

    Will Tesla sell, manufacture and deliver 1,200 more vehicles before the end of the year and hit 60,000 Model S sales and the 35 thousand production number for 2014 ?

    I think so. It will be interesting to watch.

    http://www.teslamotors.com/it_CH/forum/forums/tracking-highest-vins?page=22

    http://www.teslamotorsclub.com/showthread.php/5747-Model-S-Reservation-Tally/page271

    If interested in Model X pre-orders here’s the link.

    http://www.teslamotorsclub.com/showthread.php/7535-Model-X-Tally

    1. Josh says:

      Those VIN numbers are not a great marker anymore. Tesla blocks out large batches of VINs for foreign vehicles and definitely does not deliver strictly in VIN order.

      It is still a useful tool for tracking the rate of production over longer time frames (3 – 6 months). Most analysts are expecting Tesla to need to deliver 13k Model S worldwide in Q4 to hit the full year target. This is nearly double what they delivered in their busiest quarter, Q2.

      It will be interesting to see how this plays out. Q4 has historically been the trickiest quarter for deliveries. Customers are on holiday travel and are playing the tax season game figuring out taking delivery this year or next.

      1. jmac says:

        If Tesla car production and delivery runs 2 or 3 months behind behind purchase orders (confirmed reservations) it really doesn’t matter. Same goes for block assignment of foreign Vins.

        Eventually, if Vins are issued in sequential order, production and delivery numbers will eventually catch catch up to Vins issued in serial order.

        If Tesla is eliminating Vins or even whole blocks of Vins, then that’s a different story. I don’t think Tesla is doing that.

        If Vins are issued serially but production and delivery of the vehicles does not occur in sequential order, it really doesn’t matter. It’s just that some Vins are produced and delivered out of order according to Vin assignment.

        In the end, all vehicles (assigned Vins) are eventually produced and delivered, even if the cars are manufactured and delivered somewhat out of order.

  7. Stanley says:

    Hi Jay,
    When do you think Model X deliveries will begin. My reservation is about number 2000. When do you think I can expect delivery

    1. Jay Cole says:

      Hey Stanley,

      Congrats on the reservation, (=

      Just given the way things have been going of late with the X and the expected not-so-fast ramp up/volume out of the gate – along with the run rate for 2015 (~15,000/1,000 sigs), I would say you are looking at late June as a WAG.

      We probably get some more info as to X production schedule in early Nov with Q3 report, if not then, then after the holiday shutdown/anticipated production-intent X debut at the NAIAS in January.

    2. Josh says:

      There will be 1000 signature vehicles produced before Tesla start into the production numbers. The list is sold out right now. When Model S started production, some early production reservations were offered the opportunity to move into the Signature series.

      If you want to move forward, it wouldn’t hurt to contact Tesla and express interest in it.