It would be ironic if COVID-19 gave Tesla owners the paint improvements they've asked for.
A tweet from Elon Musk – what else? – relieved Tesla owners and fans this April 15. The Tesla CEO said Giga Berlin would have the “world’s most advanced paint shop,” but that is not the relieving part. He also mentioned Fremont and Giga Shanghai would have this new paint shop but said “it’s hard to retrofit these improvements to an operating paint shop.” Hasn’t Fremont been idle since the end of March 23 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, or are we missing something? Is Fremont’s paint shop still working?
As we have mentioned in many articles already, Tesla did not suspend its Lathrop facilities. The local sheriff stated the company is taking all measures to protect its employees there, but the employees that got in touch with us say that it is not true. Could Fremont’s paint shop be painting parts made in Lathrop?
Even the Tesla Owners Silicon Valley Tweeter account asked Musk about that, but they did not have more luck than we usually do.
That lack of clarification led us to even more questions. If Fremont is not working, why would it not be a good time to make Fremont have the “world’s most advanced paint shop” right now? Would that be difficult to implement due to lockdown orders in California? If that were the case, Lathrop would also be closed, wouldn’t it? What is it that demands Fremont waits to be “upgraded over time?”
We know European customers may not be so forgiving with the paint quality Tesla currently offers on its cars, but would that be the reason for Tesla to have Giga Berlin premiere the “world’s most advanced paint shop?” Why wait for an entire factory to be built to get such a benefit in its current products? It does not make sense. At least not with the information we currently have.
Ironically, we have already suggested Tesla could use this COVID-19 forced stop to improve manufacturing as Jérôme Stoll did when he ran the Brazilian branch of Renault. Perhaps changing the paint shop is just part of the necessary changes in Fremont.
We know of at least one paint supplier that has a deal with automakers: If they follow its guidelines, any painting problem that emerges is on its account. Considering the issues the Model 3 has, and the Model Y is starting to present, such a supplier would have already stepped up to fix them if Tesla did what it recommends. The question is: does it?
If you are familiar with this matter, we would love to write an article explaining the paint issues Tesla vehicles currently have. Is it BASF’s problem, since it is the company that supplies paint for Tesla? Or is it something Tesla should do and doesn’t? Will BASF help Tesla have the “world’s most advanced paint shop?”
We have already tried to contact the paint supplier, but “as a matter of company policy, BASF does not comment” on its “industry partners.” Wise decision to preserve contracts. Luckily, that does not include people that could tell us more about this with their anonymity safeguarded. If you can add anything to this story, please get in touch.