Highlights From Recent Tour Of Tesla Model 3 Production Site

Tesla Model 3 Production


Bloomberg got a first-hand tour of the Tesla Model 3 production facility in Fremont.

Bloomberg’s Tom Randall (one of the creators of the publication’s Model 3 tracker) recently enjoyed a pretty amazing experience. He had the chance to check out the robots that build the Tesla Model 3, while they were resting during the recent shutdown and when they fired back to life as manufacturing resumed. Randall shared:

If Elon Musk can make this dance of robots and people work, it will change how cars are made.

Tom explained that during the recent shutdown, Tesla workers added the new production line, fixed ventilation issues after paint shop fire, and serviced several machines. He was clear that there are still additional issues to resolve, but progress is continual.

As most of you are aware, Tesla has experienced a myriad of setbacks related to Model 3 production. There’s not a single problem to blame, but rather a combination of issues. Musk holds himself accountable for the excessive automation in the factory and the slowdowns it has caused, but assures that once everything is working as it’s supposed to, Tesla will set a new bar for production speed, precision, and scalability in the industry.

Let’s have a quick look at a few facets of the facility as shared by Tom Randall:

  • Stamping – Tesla uses an advanced Schuler servo stamping press, which is one of only 35 on the planet and the first in the U.S.
  • Assembly – While most top-notch car factories rely on people for many aspects, the Model 3 line is about 95 percent automated.
  • Seat Factory – Most automakers outsource seats (since it’s a tedious, highly-skilled process). However, Tesla built its own seat factory with the capacity to exceed its 2018 production goals.
  • Quality Control – According to Tesla, 47 robots are situated in Model 3 body-line scanning stations to measure and record 1,900 points down to 0.15 millimeters. These calculations follow each car’s VIN for better diagnosis of potential issues down the road.

For the whole story, and to view Bloomberg’s exclusive images, follow the link below.

Source: Bloomberg


33 photos
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39 Comments on "Highlights From Recent Tour Of Tesla Model 3 Production Site"

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All legacy auto makers know they will all be extinct if they don’t shake up soon, by 2022 will be too late

Houston…., “We have a Problem”…………lmao

Most automakers sell globally and there will most likely still be global ICE vehicle demand through this century so they’re not going to be extinct…I’d take a Vegas bet that in 2022, global EV sales would be no more than 3% of total vehicle sales…However, the good news is nearly all automakers have EVs in their pipelines…

There is no chance anybody will be buying ICE vehicles by 2040. It is going to be hard to sell them even by 2025.

Have you ever been to a third world country?

I have. They tend to buy second hand from first world countries hence the importance for the ev revolution to start there.

That’s a valid point. We can expect to see gasmobiles to mostly or completely disappear from new car sales in first-world countries over the next 15-20 years, but in regions where electrical power is not reliable, we can expect gasmobiles to continue to be sold. Or at best, PHEVs will be sold in such regions in preference to BEVs. But I expect some fraction of the market will continue to be gasmobiles, since they are cheaper to make than PHEVs.

Third world countries now increasingly make use of the option to invest in cheap and reliable decentralised generation, thus leapfrogging the “industrialised” world…

3rd Wrold either do not buy new and wont have influence on car OEMs, or is still rich enough to buy better car that is EVs

The world vehicle fleet uses twice the power of the current electric grid. Do you suppose the grid will be three times the size it is now any time soon?

I suppose the electrical grid will continue to be upgraded to provide the power demanded from it, just as it always has been. Duh!

I also suppose you’re an EV basher, since you’re repeating one of the standard old “EV hater” arguments.


…and ‘anonymous user’ is using old FUD that makes him look especially thick. His patron will not be amused by his failure.

Not true. You ‘forgot’ something:

– An ICE travels only 1 km on a 1 kWh of thermal energy.
– An EV can drive 5 km on 1 kWh of electrical energy.

You can easily do the calculation by looking up vehicle km traveled and then dividing by 5 and see that the number for the US or any other first world country comes to about 20% of electricity use.

Switching the entire ldv fleet to electric overnight would increase electricity consumption by 20%, not double it as you’re trying to make us believe.

Lorries and buses and other heavy vehicles use about half as much energy as cars and vans. Include those and you’re looking at an increase of roughly 30% of electricity consumption to completely switch road transport to EV’s. These numbers are easily verifiable from public data sources.

I was under the impression that refining uses more electricity than is required for EV transport…? Is that correct? Does anyone have a credible source?

Don’t forget that by reducing gasoline consumption you also reduce refinery demand which frees up appx. 7KWH per gallon of gasoline refined. Per EIA

Why not? Grid expansion and power plant buildout is not rocket science. Everybody have tech and expertise or 3rd party country to buy from whats needed.

By what measure? Energy or Power. As the typical use curve on the grid has an evening peak and drop in the day and later night there’s plenty of room to increase energy by a factor of 2-3 by just running more generation. The generation, being able to run continuously can be optimized and made more efficient by running at its optimal fuel rate. The issue might be power, but that will be more localized and can be managed in a variety of ways.

Keep in mind that the added value of electricity used as car fuel vs the value of being used for lighting is dramatic. That incents the utilities and entrepreneurs to find a way.

Dude, at current growth rates, we will see 3% global EV sales *in 2019* — and I see no reason to assume that growth rates are going to slow down any time soon…

Tesla cut out a step in production that is usual, the beta stage, or the soft tooling stage.. Anyway I think they learned a lesson there, as they were universally condemned for doing so by the legacy auto industry, who were correct in that many problems would ensue.

My personal take is that I would not buy a Model 3, or any car for that matter, in the first two years of it’s production.
Now with the 3 I might shorten that to 18 months as they have already made some improvements and have the capacity to do OTA changes that no one else can. I suppose you could argue the employee roll-out was the beta-stage.

Tesla had the BETA stage so to speak. The difference is they sold the vehicles produced to their employees and then past buyers. Running their BETA stage this way sped their production. It is hard to see the downside to this decision since there is no evidence that those vehicles are plagued with quality issues. There were plenty of early breathless reports generalizing specific examples of problems yet the data is not backing those reports up. Since Tesla does continual improvement the BETA step makes little sense anyhow. All previous versions are BETAs under the continual improvement model. The production problems are all related to too much automation too quickly.

You don’t remember the NDA’s all those folks had to sign? The censored videos?

“You don’t remember the NDA’s all those folks had to sign? The censored videos?”

Why do you ask? Do you think the data you can’t see confirms your bias? The only data available shows no major issue.

I have a relatively early Model 3 72xx and it has been nothing but a joy to drive for 5,500 miles now. And I did not have to sign any NDA.

72XX is not early, that is 8 months into production, Feb 2018 build? Do you have the alcantara headlining?

Do you think the data you’ll never see confirms yours?

Yes, my buddy (SpaceX employee) bought one, the build quality is the worst I have ever seen on a new production car, but he will not even let me take a photo of it…

“It is hard to see the downside to this decision since there is no evidence that those vehicles are plagued with quality issues.”

The long-term driving report from Edmunds.com, and many other reviews pointing to quality control problems in the Model 3 build, rather strongly indicate otherwise.

Now, I won’t say you’re wrong in your overall argument; arguably Tesla is better to charge ahead as fast as it can grow, and not worry so much about quality so long as the market remains wide-open for expanding BEV sales.

But it’s very easy to see the downside of Tesla concentrating on quantity rather than quality. Tesla has not earned a good reputation for quality control. Unfortunately, rather the opposite. Once an auto builder gets a reputation for poor quality, it’s hard to shake that reputation.

If Tesla does not do something to significantly improve the average fit-and-finish quality, as well as deal with serious ongoing problems with failure of such everyday things as door handles, then sooner or later a reputation for less-than-sterling quality is going to affect their sales.

How much of these quality issues are hard data and how much are, ahum, ‘fake news’?

With ‘fake news’ I don’t mean that the issues are made up. They do exist alright, but oddly enough, you rarely hear from the satisfied customers. The data is mostly anecdotal and so I try to ignore it until some hard statistical data appears.

A colleague’s Audi A6 Quattro started stalling randomly at stop lights. He brought it to different garages for repairs. Every one of them replaced something different, assuring him the problem was fixed. But it never went away. He got rid of the vehicle after spending almost a 5 figure amount in repairs. Clearly their mechanics have no clue about the technology . They couldn’t find the problem and resorted to replacing random parts in the *HOPE* it would go away. Absolutely laughable.

There surely comparable examples for Mercedes, BMW, Lexus. How come that doesn’t affect their reputation? Maybe because the cases are super rare? But what if the media distorts the picture and magnifies the problems Tesla is supposedly having? That’s why I postpone judgement until hard data is available. Last year, CR ranked Tesla 8th brand.

Some antidote against the negativity 😉

“Finally received my Model 3 on Tuesday. […] My car was perfect. I didn’t find any imperfections. Paint was beautiful. Didn’t notice any panel gaps. The driving experience was beyond expectation!!!!! The car is so responsive and quick. The regenerative braking took about an hour to get use to but now I can’t imagine not having it. The cabin is quiet – much more than my Civic and on par with my Highlander. Sound system is very impressive. No issues whatsoever with the car…until today.

I was in a multi-car accident on the freeway today. I was the #2 car in a 5 car pileup. Traffic had stopped ahead and even caught me off guard. But the emergency braking system worked as expected (I didn’t order auto pilot for my car). I was warned of the stopped vehicle in front of me and was able to brake to avoid collision”


Read on Model 3 owners club about the guy with a 2 week old car rear suspension failed last Sunday… ??? Terrific Tesla quality…

I would hope they learned their lesson but would take a Vegas bet they didn’t based on the still extremely high Model 3 demand…Maximum efforts should be focused on developing the Model Y and IMO the AWD P version first…

Elon has Changed the Most Complicated Rocket Science, By Re-Landing & Re-Using Rocket Boosters For the 1st time in the History of Space Rockets . Something That “No-One” Else Was Ever Able to Accomplish Until Musk ….. So, I wouldn’t Be a Bit surprised if He were to Change Many Things For the Better, in the Way Cars are Made..Building cars is a Far Cry from “Rocket Science”…………………..That should be an easy One for Musk !.

Actually I think it was Jeff Bezos with New Shepard November 23, 2015.

Suborbital. Basically straight up and down. Not a big deal. Space-X beat Bezos to suborbital with Grasshopper.

McDonnel Douglas landed a rocket back in the 70’s… Come on guys, at least know the facts…


It’s definitely a complex web of humans and machinery. More power to him if he can pull it off.

Great to see that Tesla keeps making progress in ramping up Model 3 production!

But it seems rather contrary to reality to brag about Tesla’s quality control procedures, given all the troublesome reports from Edmunds.com and Consumer Reports and various other sources, about serious quality problems with the Model 3 build.

Sure, many Model 3 owners report no problems at all. But others, such as Edmunds.com, report a whole laundry list of problems, and frequent visits to a Tesla service shop. The point is, I think, that there is a troublesome lack of consistency in build quality, and also a lack of consistency in fit-and-finish.

I understand that Tesla needs to grow as rapidly as it possibly can, but doing so at the expense of quality is going to prove to be a huge mistake for Tesla if it gets a widespread reputation for poor build quality. Sad to say, I think it’s already some distance down that road. Here’s hoping Tesla can reverse course on that situation!

Go Tesla!

“Seat Factory – Most automakers outsource seats (since it’s a tedious, highly-skilled process). However, Tesla built its own seat factory with the capacity to exceed its 2018 production goals.”

Why does Tesla make seats – and fail? A solution creating a problem?

Source to that revelation?

Seats being high skill and complex process earn high markup for suppliers. In house mean more moneys stays at Tesla account. But that’s obvious.