Report Claims Tesla Model 3 Delays Ahead, Battery Quality Questioned – Tesla Issues Counter Statement

Tesla Model 3

JAN 25 2018 BY DOMENICK YONEY 137

Tesla Model 3

Tesla Model 3 charges in Tallahassee, trunk open.

More delays ahead for Tesla Model 3 production? Really?

Tesla share prices, which had been stealthily rising over the past month, took a downward dive today (down −$8.25 (2.39%) as of this writing) after a CNBC report warned of more Model 3 delays and made allegations of potentially defective battery packs being installed into cars.

Tesla Gigafactory - Model 3

Tesla Gigafactory August 2017 Aerial Construction Update – Duncan Sinfield

The report claims that the battery packs for the California automaker are still not in mass production. This, despite the fact that Tesla had stated it achieved a production run-rate of 1,000 Model 3s per week in the closing days of 2017. It begs the question: What, exactly, is mass production? CNBC says its sources, which include former and current employees, assert that the company was still doing some pack assembly by hand until some time in December, though it also says”

“Today, Tesla is dwindling down manual assembly as much as possible at the Gigafactory, a hopeful sign.”

Confused warnings about continued production delays aside, the most damaging part of the story appear to concern allegations about safety. The report says some “…quality control workers are relatively inexperienced, make sloppy calculations and don’t know when they’re looking at flaws.” The most concerning part though is the charge that some packs may be improperly assembled and may lead to fires. Says the article:

Two current engineers told CNBC that they are concerned some of the batteries being shipped do not have the minimum gap required between lithium ion cells. These engineers warned that this “touching cells” flaw could cause batteries to short out or, in worse cases, catch fire.”

These same engineers are purported to have said that their warnings to management went unheeded.

Short of Tesla allowing journalists into its Gigafactory complex where the battery packs are being built, there is no way to verify claims of manual construction or safety lapses, though we do expect pointed questions will be asked of CEO Elon Musk and other management officials during the end of quarter (and year) financial call with analysts set for February 7.

As might be expected, the allegations are not sitting well with Tesla and a spokesperson has sent up a lengthy rebuttal, which we have included in its entirety below.

“This is an extremely misinformed and misleading article. To be absolutely clear, we are on track with the previous projections for achieving increased Model 3 production rates that we provided earlier this month. As has been well documented, until we reach full production, by definition some elements of the production process will be more manual. This is something Elon and JB discussed extensively on our Q3 earnings call, and it has no impact on the quality or safety of the batteries we’re producing. As noted in our Q4 deliveries release, during the fourth quarter, “we made major progress addressing Model 3 production bottlenecks, with our production rate increasing significantly towards the end of the quarter.

Furthermore, as is often the case in manufacturing, some parts of the production process require the expertise of employees with engineering or manufacturing experience, and others don’t. We’ve created thousands of new high-quality jobs in Nevada in recent years. As we continue to expand Gigafactory 1 and ramp Model 3 production, we’ve been able to teach new skills to thousands of new employees, many of whom had no manufacturing experience prior to joining Tesla. New hires on the module line receive extensive training, including safety training, and learn about the importance of proper cell-to-cell spacing so they can identify such issues in the production process. More broadly, battery production – and the module line in particular – is overseen by our top engineering talent, and many of Tesla’s most senior leadership.  

Finally, the implication that Tesla would ever deliver a car with a hazardous battery is absolutely inaccurate, contrary to all evidence, and detached from reality. It is irresponsible to suggest as much based on unnamed, anonymous sources who have provided no such evidence and who obviously do not have a complete understanding of the extensive testing that all batteries in Tesla vehicles are subjected to.  As with Model S and Model X, which have well demonstrated safety records, we maintain a rigorous approach to quality and process control for the Model 3 battery. Even more importantly, to our knowledge, there has not been a single safety concern in the field related to Model 3 batteries at any point over the six months of Model 3 production.
 
As for the assertion about cells touching in Model 3 batteries, this is extremely misleading and displays a complete lack of basic knowledge about how our batteries work. Every battery in a Tesla vehicle has thousands of cells, the vast majority of which are at the same voltage potential as neighboring cells. Hypothetically, even if two cells of the same voltage potential were touching, there would be absolutely zero impact, safety or otherwise – it would be as if two neutral pieces of metal touched. Despite this fact, all Model 3 battery modules’ cell positions are measured twice in manufacturing to verify process control and quality of outgoing parts. Conversely, if at any point in the production process cells are touching at different voltage potentials, they cannot be electrically interconnected. Over the course of the production process, we conduct three different tests to ensure the right number of cells are electrically connected in Model 3 modules. Additionally, the long term reliability of cell position is something validated through testing, including shock and vibration, and high temperature and humidity testing, as well as thermal cycling endurance testing throughout design and via sampling in production. All of this testing is designed to prevent touching cells from being installed in any of our vehicles, including Model 3. Finally, the safety aspects of our module design would continue to function even in the presence of touching cells, so the concerns raised are further unfounded.
 
These false claims are being made even though we have a proven history of making the safest vehicles on the road, with Model S and Model X receiving 5-star safety ratings not only overall but in every subcategory. Although not yet tested by NHTSA, Model 3 has been designed and internally tested to have the same result. Data from NHTSA’s testing shows that Model S and Model X have the two lowest probability of injury scores in the history of NHTSA testing. Furthermore, over billions of miles of actual driving, Tesla’s vehicles have been roughly five times less likely to experience a fire than a conventional gasoline vehicle. In light of these facts, it’s preposterous to suggest that a company as committed to safety as Tesla would allow untested or unsafe batteries to go in our vehicles.”

Source: CNBC

Categories: Tesla

Tags: , ,

137 responses to "Report Claims Tesla Model 3 Delays Ahead, Battery Quality Questioned – Tesla Issues Counter Statement"
  1. Bill Howland says:

    Only business that will benefit is the Private Investigation business. Of Course Tesla will want to know, amoung a very small group of people, who criticized their manufacturing techniques, accusing them of violation of ‘Trade Secrets’ agreements that surely they have had to sign to gain employment.

    1. LOL says:

      What Tesla need to do to appease the audience is to launch a public statement: we are working hard to cater low income families by vigorously working on new type of vehicle: with Front Wheel Drive, with CD radio and wireless charging system. It’s all it takes, follow in the Mercedes’ and BMW’s footsteps. The more Tesla make things complicated the longer they will be in dire straits. Wake up TESLA !

      1. Lamata says:

        I agree . But, Musk Likes “Complicated” I Personally Do Not Like Complication As Many Other people out here. It seems that “Complication” is the “Future” and we Cannot Stop it , As Much as I would Like to see it STOP!,Once sorted out, It may Turn out to be a Good Thing.. …

        1. Lamata says:

          ie: …the Falcon Wing Doors..They do work Great!…Now…

  2. Get Real says:

    And this “report” offers no evidence, just the allegations of fired former Tesla employees.

    1. Domenick Yoney says:

      They also have current employees as sources.

      1. zzzzzzzzzz says:

        CNBC must have turned to the Dark Side and have been bought by Koch brothers. It was so friendly to our Dear Leader and to Tesla before!

        These defectors who crossed the line and disclosed trade secrets and showed disrespect to the Great Cause must be fired immediately, and their Tesla cars must be disabled OTA!

        No Tesla cells ever short, it is FUD by shorters, haters and Big Oil conspirators. Tesla has access to special electricity that eliminates all shorting!

        1. ffbj says:

          Hardly, they were never pro Tesla and have aired many anti Tesla stories.
          Just look at how long and how often they have had Bob Lutz on to air his views on Tesla. Probably a dozen times over the last few years. They have zero credibility.

          1. Six Electrics says:

            This is why I only get my Tesla news from those long in the stock, or who make a living selling Tesla aftermarket add ons, or those who work for a pro-EV blog.

        2. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

          “No Tesla cells ever short…”

          Thank you for highlighting the issue of short-circuits in BEV batteries, regarding which Tesla has an exemplary record.

          Tesla battery packs are built with an individual fuse attached to each cell, so that if there is a short, the cell is automatically disconnected from the rest of the pack. That’s one of many reasons why there has almost never been a Tesla car battery fire at any time other than right after an accident which severely damaged the car. I do recall one (1) incident of a battery fire in a Tesla car at a Supercharger station, but I’m not aware of any fire, except that one, which wasn’t related to a severe accident.

            1. Craig says:

              That wasn’t a battery fire.b if u remember correctly it had to do with a loose bolt somewhere outside the battery pack. It was work done at the local service center.

              1. Any evidence other than Tesla’s own statement?

                1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

                  Any evidence that you’re not a Tesla short-seller trying to spread FUD?

                2. How about this: A loose Bolt on the Post of on of my 12V Batteries in my EV Conversion MELTED THE WHOLE POST, and finally the Stud Bolt had no more connection, the Voltmeter I had, drop instantly to Zero Volts, a condition that only normally happens when I hit a Separate Special ‘Kill Switch’.

                  When turning of the main power switch, pre-charge capacitors slowly bleed off, and the Voltmeter, slowly drifts down to Zero, taking 4-5 seconds or more!

                  Also, a single little fuse popped in my controller, and the power dropped just as suddenly!

                  That is what fuses are for: to protect a larger circuit!

                  1. Steven says:

                    I’d sooner say that a fuse is there to protect a more expensive circuit.

          1. Chacama says:

            I for one and Gfb, rather have a battery fire than a gasoline fire.

        3. Tesla’s denial:
          “As has been well documented, until we reach full production, by definition some elements of the production process will be more manual,” the spokesman said.

          So, basically no rebuttal. It’s a cyclic logic. So how the F was Tesla expecting to produce 100k-200k Model 3 in 2017? How did Elon tell everyone in Q3 earnings call in Nov that he is shooting for 5000 a week by March? This smells fishy 🙂

          But here is the thing. Tesla could have 1 out of 4 lines working, fully automated, thus reaching only 25% of full production but without manual processing. Tesla’s definition is, again, (you guessed it), BOGUS!

          1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

            So how much money have you lost on your Tesla “short” investment, and how long have you been copying and pasting Tesla hater FUD?

            1. Timmy says:

              Huh, :crickets: in reply to all your questions. That’s odd!

          2. John Hanna says:

            Tesla already explained this. One of their suppliers failed in delivering a working battery line at the gigafactory so they had to redo it all internally from scratch. It is amazing they are catching up as fast as they are.

            1. floydboy says:

              Now now John! Let’s not inject FACTS into a perfectly good basher narrative! They need the therapy to soothe the pain of those very tight shorts.

            2. Asak says:

              We actually really have no idea how fast they’re catching up. All we have here is a report stating things are going badly and Tesla replying that they’re not going that badly (which of course is what they would say). Considering Tesla has been less than upfront about their production issues for far, I wouldn’t consider the denial anymore credible than the report.

              Ultimately the proof will be in the pudding (actual car sales). That’s the only way we can really judge how production is going. Reports or statements really for matter much.

              1. And the general quarterly production reports!

                Ultimately, when Tesla is comfortable giving monthly Sales and Production reports, we will have better clarity.

                Until then…room for Fudsters and Fans to fight!

            3. Here is a little fact. Gigafactory is operation since the Model 3 launch day! So what has Tesla been doing there for 2 years, that even the first battery assembly line is still all manual? How was Tesla expecting 20k Model 3 in December? When will Tesla install the second line for 5000 cars a week in June?

              Tesla repeatedly failed its M3 production targets massively. Whom should people believe? Tough call.

              1. If they had a supplier promising a working Battery Module Assembly Work Cell, and while delivered on time, was not actually ‘Working’, and it turns out they had 2 such events, and you blame the buyer of that product & service for trusting their supplier?

                Nice!

                At the Factory I work at, we have ongoing supplier issues of a similar nature! It screws up numerous down stream processes, too!

              2. mxs says:

                The only point you have is that they should have been more realistic with their ramp-up projections. I think that was indeed PR fluff …. rest of your post is just trying inject a vitriol into something which is not even news, under normal circumstances.

                BTW, your alias is quite silly. Honest typo?

              3. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

                The FUDster calling himself “Tesla Investors” continued his Tesla Hater cult campaign:

                “…even the first battery assembly line is still all manual?”

                Anyone who is clueless enough to believe that Tesla could make and deliver 1,060 Model 3s in a month (last December) while still hand-assembling battery packs… is probably also clueless enough to make a “short” investment in Tesla when the stock price is near its all-time high. 😉

        4. eltosho says:

          Fun Fact: The Koch brothers actually own CNBC 🙂

          1. Steven says:

            That explains the fake news then.

          2. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

            “Fun fact: The Koch brothers actually own CNBC ? ”

            I guess that was intended as a joke, because they certainly don’t.

    2. Six Electrics says:

      And this “rebuttal” offers no evidence, just the strained credibility of a company with everything to lose.

      1. Samwise says:

        You mean other than billions of vehicle miles driven using the same technology and a vehicle fire rate 5 times lower than the ICE average or course.
        You also obviously mean other than disclosing quite a large amount of the manufacture and QA processes involved in preventing issues.

        But hey sure, complete conjecture from anonymous source with absolutely zero supporting evidence, has got to be more reliable right?

        Seriously though…

        How can you prove something is unlikely to catch fire other than by the fact that it was deliberately designed not to and it hasn’t caught fire yet?

        1. ffbj says:

          It does tend to support my belief that even relatively smart people can believe ridiculous things. We take a position, and then disregard, or minimalise, the counter arguments against our point of view.

          As analyst of a particular, company, movement, idea, we become hopelessly deadlocked mentally into not believing anything else.
          It’s why propaganda works.

          In Tesla’s case, any hit or whiff of smoke, of trouble and the shorts fan the flames, while pouring gasoline on the fire.
          The longs do the opposite.

          Once a friend of mine told me that he was concerned that he was receiving thoughts from aliens.
          I consoled him by saying: “Tim how do you know that all of your thoughts don’t come from aliens?”

      2. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

        “And this ‘rebuttal’ offers no evidence, just the strained credibility of a company with everything to lose.”

        Gosh, Tesla’s exemplary record of safety, vs. yet another in an endless stream of FUD from a serial Tesla basher, whose posts about Tesla always include lies or, at best, half-truths.

        Who to believe, who to believe? 🙄

        Speaking of “everything to lose”, how is your TSLA short investment doing, Six Pretend Electrics? Hmmmmm?
        😆 😆 😆

        1. philip d says:

          Those aren’t pretend electrics. He really does have 6 whole electrical outlets at his disposal where he lives in his mother’s basement.

          1. Each with an Electri Car that is powered by it! Slot Cars, that is!
            ?

        2. floydboy says:

          HA! I thought it was nine, guess I miscounted.

      3. Paul Smith says:

        It was a rebuttal of an an article that had ‘no evidence’ just hearsay from unnamed sources.

      4. floydboy says:

        That’s NOT how it works. The accusers have to provide some measure of proof of what they’re saying. Otherwise they could be accused of lying to affect some sort of outcome(manipulation). Anyway the drop isn’t enough to save the shorters anyway.

        1. Asak says:

          In this case they don’t really need to offer evidence either way. The end of the month sales will tell the story one way or the other.

      5. Recoil says:

        Six for the love of god please stop driving your imaginary Model X before everyone dies.

    3. ffbj says:

      These stories tend to surface to knock Tesla down after it’s been on a tear. A chance for shorts to cover, as they are getting killed.

      Financial and media channels are worthless as they are controlled, mostly, by the legacy elite who are inclined to slam Tesla at every opportunity. This won’t have any lasting effect on the stock, as it is total BS.

      1. earl colby pottinger says:

        But many shorts believe Seeking Alpha that Tesla stock would fall to $200, even with the present big drop they still lose a lot of money.

        Ha, ha, ha.

        1. ffbj says:

          It’s true. To say nothing of the opportunity cost, shorting Tesla while the market rampages higher, for years. You could done almost anything else, and made gobs of money.

          Clearly one of the worst positions to hold for all time.

    4. Lamata says:

      Stock Shorting………..

  3. Warren says:

    Lots of stories. I guess we will know the reality at the end of this month. Or will it take until February 7th to get real production numbers? Guys?

    1. (⌐■_■) Trollnonymous says:

      ” “…quality control workers are relatively inexperienced, make sloppy calculations and don’t know when they’re looking at flaws.””

      That’s the problem when you HAVE TO hire employees from within the state.
      Sometimes the local talent just isn’t there.

      1. (⌐■_■) Trollnonymous says:

        yo, I did not click reply to you…….lol

    2. (⌐■_■) Trollnonymous says:

      I predict ~1800 for January.

      1. CarGuy says:

        I will stick my head out and estimate 3,000 delivered Model 3s for January.

        1. ffbj says:

          Oooh! That’s gutsy. I will raise you +200.

          1. CarGuy says:

            Likely not too gutsy when they had something like 800 built in December that weren’t delivered yet. They of course will be delivered in January.

        2. CarGuy says:

          Of course we won’t find out until a few days into April when the quarterly sales report comes out. I will be looking forward to Insideev’s estimate for January.

      2. Asak says:

        I think it will be in the range of 1500, but that’s just a complete guess. Most have proven overly optimistic any Tesla’s ramp. So far it’s paid off being pessimistic, although eventually that might fail.

        1. If they made 800+ in the last week of December, 2017, that were ‘In Transit’ to American Customers, you can be pretty safe to count those as delivered in January, 2018.

          Then, just take 3 Weeks Production from January and add that:
          If 500 per week = +1,500 alone, + 800 = 2,300!

          But if 600/Wk = 1,800 + 800 = 2,600!

          Then if 700/Wk = 2,100 + 800 = 2,900!

          And if still at only 800/Wk = 2,400 + 800 = 3,200! That would assume no improved production rates!

          But if they averaged just 900/Wk x 3 Wks = 2,700 + 800 = 3,500 Total potential deliveries!

          Yet, if they built 800 in Jan. Wk 1, plus 900 in Wk 2 plus 1,000 in Wk 3, that would add up to 2,700 as well, plus the 800 from Dec. = still 3,500 potential deliveries!

          Maybe more, if they can improve the delivery process!

          So, it seems to me that even estimating just 2,500 in January 2018 as deliveries, would be on the low side of probability! Estimates of 3,000 are closer to probability & reality, but even Estimating 3,500+ is not too extreme!

          1. Alex Clabburn says:

            I hope you are right. I have a feeling the end of quarter ‘burst’ was a brief flash in the pan and carefully orchestrated so they could demonstrate progress to the market. The wording was very precise
            (terms like ‘extrapolated’ were significant) so it’s still making a bit of a leap to assume they are producing at a steady rate off 500+ per week. I have a feeling we will need to wait for the full Q1 numbers to really get a sense of things and there will be the typical surge of activity during March.

            1. bro1999 says:

              Just like when Tesla posted a “profit” in Q3 2016. They pulled so many tricks out of the bag to eek out in the black that one quarter. They’ve been back to burning hundreds of millions of capital every quarter since.

              Odds are the “1,000 cars a week” rate was also “just for show”.

              1. ffbj says:

                I look for burn rate to go up too. If they do a cash raise they probably don’t want to wait too long, with rates rising.
                Delivering another case of ammunition to the shorts.

          2. Doggydogworld says:

            They built 793 in the last seven “working days” of the year. That covered more than a calendar week. It was also an “all hands on deck” frantic burst to make numbers.

            Your method is sound, though, and ~600/wk for the first couple weeks is a good estimate. Tesla told analysts in mid-Jan they’d hit 1000/wk at the end of the month.

          3. ffbj says:

            That’s a lot of ciphering.

  4. CCIE says:

    The manual assembly info seems outdated, since it references a time when we know that was going on (December). Presumably it has reduced since then.

    The part I find interesting is Tesla’s response to the battery cell spacing issue. Instead of beginning their defense by saying outright that there is no issue, they say that the “vast majority” of cells are at the same voltage, so there is no potential for energy transfer (shorts). They then continue to say they double check the spacing.

    To me, that means they know a non-trivial number of these manually built batteries are going to develop internal shorts between improperly spaced cells.

    As with all previous Tesla vehicles, I wouldn’t want to be an early owner.

    1. Lamata says:

      Battery cell Voltages are very very close sometimes Identical but there is usually always a very very tiny variance which is completely NORMAL & Affects NOTHING!..

      1. Six Electrics says:

        What happens when one of the touching cells fails? Are the voltages still identical?

        1. earl colby pottinger says:

          It’s fuse blows so nothing happens.

        2. Mark C says:

          The sides of the AA & AAA cells in my remote controls for audio/video devices touch all the time. I’ve been using various types for several decades. Not once has one gotten hot to the touch, much less caught on fire.

          Reports like these are a lot like the trash you see in political campaigning, it is always someone who is coming up short trying to beat the one who has a stronger position.

          The traditional manufacturers, some of their investors and certainly some of their fans are pretty happy with the status quo and have nothing better to do than bash concepts they either do not understand, or simply wish would die and go away. A report like this isn’t going to cause a rush on people to cancel their reservation for the most waited for car in….forever.

    2. EV4Life says:

      Wait, what?
      Did you even read the response.
      Even if the cells are touching there will be NO SHORT.
      Spacing has nothing to do it. It’s right there in the article.
      There’s only one type of short connected to this rubbish and it’s not electrical.

      1. earl colby pottinger says:

        Cooling fluid needs to have space to move.

        1. Brahmin says:

          > Cooling fluid needs to have space to move.

          Too funny. They are not talking about the cooling fluid being blocked, or they would have said that.

          1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

            Yup. A coolant loop being blocked would be a serious problem in a Tesla battery pack. One or two cells inside the battery pack short-circuiting… isn’t.

        2. John Hanna says:

          If the model 3 battery modules are like the Model S/X, then the cooling flows through a ribbon that weaves between the batteries. There wouldn’t be any blockage of cooling fluid by poorly spaced cells, if that even exists.

      2. CCIE says:

        Yup, I read it and I read between the lines. Fact is the cell voltages are never all identical. They’re often very close, but there can be significant differences.

        So, if/when two cells come in contact, energy will flow. That’s an internal short. Best case, those two cells are cut out by internal fusing. Worst case, the short causes a cascade and the battery catches on fire.

        A poorly assembled battery is much different than an improperly aligned door or hood. It’s dangerous.

        1. Null says:

          uhm, side to side, not th electrical contacts…

          1. CCIE says:

            Why do you think they went of their way to make the false claim that the cell voltages are identical? Because, if improperly installed, the cells can touch in a way that will cause a short.

            1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

              How is that physically possible? The cells are installed vertically in a single layer. How could the top of one cell contact the top or bottom of another? Because that’s what would be required for what you’re talking about. The side of one cell pressing against the side of another wouldn’t do it; there’s no conductivity thru the side of the cell, unless it’s damaged.

              What you’re talking about is simply not possible unless there is some serious physical damage, such as the pack’s case being punctured or one of the cells inside overheating, followed by swelling up and leaking. The latter probably does happen, but as already noted, the cell(s) involved would be cut out of the circuit by a fuse blowing, which is exactly why Tesla attaches a fuse (or more precisely, a fusible link) to each individual cell.

              1. CCIE says:

                Again, if there is absolutely no potential for a short due to cells touching, Tesla would have said that and ended all debate. Instead they danced around the issue.

                1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

                  I’d say it’s pretty clear you have not read the actual CNBC article, or you’d understand why Tesla’s response said a lot about cell alignment. It’s not at all about short-circuits from inaccurately spaced cells.

                  The accusations in the CNBC article were mainly about supposed lack of quality control and about supposed slow hand-assembly rather than high-speed automated assembly. The danger of short circuits was barely mentioned.

                  The CNBC article made a lot of accusations about improperly placed cells, without ever specifying exactly that the problem was with misalignments. It did say something about cells being positioned too high or too low on the bandoliers, not that they were “too close together”.

                  So it’s hardly a surprise that Tesla’s response also focused on quality control. They were not “dancing around” the issue of short circuits, as you’re claiming, CCIE. That’s your misinterpretation.

                  You might want to read the article before making any further posts on the subject.

                  1. CCIE says:

                    For the third time, if their was no physical way for improperly installed/aligned cells to short, why did Tesla bother falsely claiming that the voltage differential between cells is zero?

                    If not for that one statement, I would have written off the entire CNBC article as Tesla haters and ex-employees making up BS.

                    But, that statement by Tesla is very telling. It’s them indirectly acknowledging that their are issues with cell spacing/alignment and trying to say it doesn’t matter because there is no voltage potential between adjacent cells.

    3. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      “To me, that means they know a non-trivial number of these manually built batteries are going to develop internal shorts between improperly spaced cells.”

      It’s pretty well-known in the industry that there is a certain failure rate of li-ion cells developing internal short-circuits. This has nothing whatsoever to do with the spacing of batteries. That ridiculous assertion can only be believed by someone with no understanding of the technology, and at least to me it’s a pretty strong indication this is just another groundless smear campaign from the anti-Tesla FUDsters.

      From the very beginning, Tesla battery packs have been built with a fuse (or more precisely, a fusable link) attached to each individual cell, to allow a few cells in the pack to be cut off from connection to the rest of the pack when the few inevitable short-circuits do happen.

      Tesla fans should welcome discussion of just how safe Tesla’s battery packs are, and how well they are designed and built. We only need to point to Tesla’s exemplary record for safety to refute this latest FUD.

      1. CCIE says:

        Yup, if those fuses function properly, then the battery will just lose a couple cells if they touch and short. But, since they couldn’t properly assemble the pack to prevent cell shorts, what makes you so confident that the fuses will work?

        As with everything Tesla related, time will tell and those of us who are pragmatic/realistic will likely be proven right.

        1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

          “…since they couldn’t properly assemble the pack to prevent cell shorts, what makes you so confident that the fuses will work?”

          So, have you stopped beating your wife yet? 🙄

          Let me dumb that down for you: It’s not possible to assemble a battery pack containing thousands of lithium ion cells in such a manner as to absolutely prevent short circuits from developing over the life of the car. What Tesla has done, instead, is to engineer their packs so that can happen — because it will — without creating a danger of fire or seriously affecting the performance of the pack as a whole.

          I’m confident this will work because thus far we have one and only one reported case of failure from the now over 100,000 Tesla cars on the road. Furthermore, in that one reported exception, the reported cause was not related to a fusible link.

          1. CCIE says:

            Even the best engineering/design is easily outweighed by poor assembly and QC. That’s what the article claims is the case here.

            Battery failure rates on the early M3s are going to be high. Hopefully they’re not catastrophic failures.

            1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

              The problem is that you haven’t read the article. It’s not that Tesla is “dancing around the problem”, it’s that the CNBC article never specifies exactly how the cells being aligned a bit too high or low — as the article claims, again without any evidence — would cause a danger of short circuits.

              Yes, the article does assert that:

              Two current engineers told CNBC that they are concerned some of the batteries being shipped do not have the minimum gap required between lithium-ion cells. These engineers warned that this ‘touching cells’ flaw could cause batteries to short out or, in worse cases, catch fire.

              But it never goes on to explain just how this would cause a short circuit. Surely you’ve put batteries into some device; batteries which not only touched; you had to jam them in together? Did that cause a short circuit? Of course not!

              Perhaps something has been “lost in translation” between what the engineers said and how the reporter interpreted what they said. From long experience participating in TheEEStory forum, that is all too common when you have a journalist (trained in English, Writing, and Communications) trying to summarize what’s said by someone specializing in engineering and science.

              At best, all this CNBC article does is raise a lot of questions, and frankly FUD — yes, there is a lot in the article which merely generates Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt — without providing anything at all in the way of hard evidence or verifiable facts.

              1. CCIE says:

                Again, the red flag here Tesla going out of there way to falsely claim that the voltage potential between cell is zero.

                If they believed that the cells have been properly installed, and that cells touching could not cause a short, why not directly say that?

  5. TM says:

    Most likely people saw some bad stuff – anyone who has ever worked in a quality department or in failure analysis gets a horribly distorted view as they only address whatever is bad. Sure it might only be 1 or 2 in 10K or even 1000K, but they have eyes on the bad stuff.

    The only question is does Tesla catch all of the bad stuff and fix/prevent it. We shall see.

    1. (⌐■_■) Trollnonymous says:

      “The only question is does Tesla catch all of the bad stuff and fix/prevent it. We shall see.”

      Name one auto manufacturer that does.

      1. TM says:

        It is always a matter of percentages. Below some point you are OK, above some point it begins to hurt you. GM is above the point. Toyota is below the point. Tesla, I don’t know what point that is – people cut them a lot more slack than the traditional ICE companies.

        1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

          People cut Tesla more slack? Certainly not when it comes to car fires! ICEV car fires are so commonplace that they aren’t even news. Yet every single fire in a plug-in EV gets wide coverage in the news.

          Ironic, isn’t it? If EV fires were more commonplace, then they wouldn’t be news! It’s only because they are so rare that the news media jumps on every occurrence.

          It’s also ironic that some people refuse to buy a BEV because they’re worried about a car fire, when they’re far more likely to have a car fire in a gasoline-powered car than a BEV.

          EV advocates should welcome discussion of the issue of car fires, and how much safer BEVs are than gasmobiles regarding the danger of fire.

          1. John Hanna says:

            Well put.

  6. ffbj says:

    All media outlets, that accept car advertising, are suspect in terms of their views of Tesla.
    Tesla does not advertise, so no ad revenue is forthcoming from them.

    1. Six Electrics says:

      These aren’t “views.” This isn’t an editorial. This is journalism, with penalties for libel if facts are misrepresented.

      1. ffbj says:

        Libel? Don’t be silly. That might be a bit difficult for you.

        1. Six Electrics says:

          I have a filter installed which removes ad hominem attacks. Unfortunately, your post is now empty. Care to retry?

          1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

            Too bad there’s not a filter which removes all your FUD, your lies and your half-truths. If there was, then nearly all your posts would be empty.

          2. ffbj says:

            It’s not ad-hominem if you’re a robot, silly.

        2. Nick says:

          Careful, six oil companies will slap you with a Libel suit if you keep that up.

          ?

          1. ffbj says:

            I don’t think that is Libel to happen.

        3. Six Electrics says:

          As I recall, Tesla sued Top Gear for libel. Then they recently sued their ex-Autopilot director. They are a very thin-skinned and litigious company. I don’t for a moment believe they wouldn’t sue again, so I guess we can wait and see.

          1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

            I hope Tesla does sue CNBC over this report. Not that they could win, due to the “absence of malice” defense against libel suits, but so that the sloppy journalism on display here would be exposed, and Tesla’s exemplary record for safety would be reported in news stories.

            We certainly do need something to counter the utterly false impression that the news media gives about BEVs being a fire hazard, when the truth is that they’re far safer than gasmobiles!

            1. ffbj says:

              Right, by at least an order of magnitude.

              Libel is notoriously difficult to prosecute, but in Top Gears case I think Tesla had to go with it, as the claims were egregious lies, based on staged events designed to make Tesla look bad.

      2. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

        “This is journalism, with penalties for libel if facts are misrepresented.”

        Ah yes, one of the favorite lies myths from FUDsters: “They couldn’t print that if it wasn’t true.”

        Perhaps that’s true to some extent in the UK, but certainly not in the U.S. Here, mere inaccuracy of reported “facts” isn’t anywhere near sufficient to win a libel suit. You have to prove (1) that there was malicious intent to damage the person or company’s reputation, and (2) that the reputation in question was actually damaged.

        Gentle reader, if you’ve never seen the film “Absence of Malice” (1981), then you should watch it. It’s pretty informative on this subject, as well as being a terrific drama.

  7. Six Electrics says:

    If it’s okay for the cells to touch, why not remove the gaps from the design? Think of the extra range you could extract from the same pack size!

    1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      Gosh yes, Tesla should totally redesign its battery packs based on a suggestion from a serial Tesla basher and FUDster who pretends to own a Model X. Fer sure!

      Or maybe not…

      1. But…But…His Username says…he has SIX (Countem…1….2….3….4….5….6!) Electrics!
        Each one is a Slot Car, though! ?

  8. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

    Gosh, TSLA short-sellers must be really horrified at all the money they’ve been losing lately, to gin up this allegation against Tesla! Someone said they’ve lost $1 billion already this year, so they’ve got a pretty strong motive.

    Or to put it another way: Another day, another Tesla basher story founded on rumor and/or false evidence. Remember the smear campaign about the Model S supposedly having front suspension which collapsed and caused accidents? Remember how that petered out because it was all based on falsified evidence from a crazed Elon Musk hater? Perhaps the anti-Tesla FUDsters and the Tesla Hater cultists are gearing up for a new smear campaign.

    * * * * *

    One thing that puzzles me is why so many people can’t seem to understand the difference between “entirely hand built” and “mostly mass produced, but with a few finishing touches made by hand”.

    It seems quite clear that most of the TM3 battery pack production bottlenecks at Gigafactory One have been resolved, and that most of the assembly is automated. If Tesla was still assembling TM3 battery packs entirely by hand, then there is absolutely no way they could be cranking out finished TM3s as fast as they are. My guess — please note this is speculation — is that they’re still having some quality control problems with the packs, and that some — not all — of them need to have some adjustments or fixes made by hand when they come off the assembly line.

    The term “manual assembly” suggests, at least to me, the sort of thing you see in Chinese factories assembling Apple products; hundreds or thousands of people in a giant room all working at tables with individual assemblies in front of them, with all assembly by hand. We can be sure that Tesla isn’t putting together its battery packs this way. Perhaps it did, back in the days when pack assembly was being done on the second floor at the Fremont assembly plant. But Gigafactory One is all about highly automated, high-speed production.

    http://www.hangthebankers.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/apple-factory-workers.jpg
    An Apple assembly factory — not a Tesla assembly factory!

    1. Six Electrics says:

      TSLA stock peaked in September.

      1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

        It also reached a 3-month peak just two days ago, as anyone can see by simply Googling “Tesla stock price”.

        Do you really think your half-truths and lies are fooling anyone, dude? I mean, even your screen name “Six Electrics” is a lie!

  9. William says:

    The Tesla Model 3 will be fine, this story is more of a media “look a squirrel” moment! Don’t fall the easy to spot, “much to do about practically nothing” journalism. Those in the media are trying to distract from their other lousy reporting, like the Lester Holt North Korean Luxury ghost town ski resort debacle.

    1. earl colby pottinger says:

      Love the “UP!” reference.

  10. Mister G says:

    FAKE NEWS

  11. bro1999 says:

    The truth hurts, doesn’t it?
    Hopefully no people are injured when Model 3’s start catching fire.

    1. Get Real says:

      Manic MadBro is almost incapable of the truth when it comes to Tesla.

      He prefers FUD and lies because it makes im feel important.

    2. Nix says:

      considering madbro’s record of being wrong about everything Tesla related, him blindly jumping on the bandwagon is not surprising.

      1. ffbj says:

        That’s generally but not entirely true.
        He called Musk out about 100k-200k as bogus.
        It was his masthead, his clarion call.

        I think we still should try to maintain a bit clarity and fairness, in this hot button issue.

        1. Nix says:

          I don’t think a single person here at insideev’s thought that was an accurate number. Nor did Elon, since he never repeated it ever again after only saying it once, and it never appearing in anything official from Tesla.

          I still contend that he was thinking about 100K to 200K total Tesla’s of all types (Model S/X/3 combined) and he misspoke. The fact that so many nutters go back to that one quote that was NEVER repeated makes it sound like it was actually something official just due to the number of times that THEY repeat it. Even though Elon never did.

          To me, it is actually just a sign of how desperate the anti-Tesla Cult really is to glam upon any misstatement they can, and repeat it endlessly as if it were bigger than it really was.

          It is the new “panel gap” nonsense. Easy to regurgitate, but essentially a big nothing-burger. Nothing to see there.

    3. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      “The truth hurts, doesn’t it?”

      The lack of it in your posts certainly has hurt your reputation. In fact, you’ve been so aggressive and persistent at posting things which are both factually incorrect and extremely biased against Tesla, that I’d call it a mortal wound.

      If you’re calling this report “truth”, then we hardly need look any further to know it’s not.

    4. ffbj says:

      Well, if they slam into a fire truck, they will put it out, real fast.
      So there, Mr. Smarty Pants.

    5. (⌐■_■) Trollnonymous says:

      Or worse completely shut you down in the middle of the road with traffic…
      https://electrek.co/2017/08/25/gm-bolt-ev-owners-battery-packs/

  12. Jake Brake says:

    Let’s be factual here. If two cells in parallel touch their cases it’s not a problem, if two in series touch you get a short circuit and it will likely blow the cell fuse. You’ll have now lost 1/46 of your battery capacity and range since its your limiting cell group. That’s just science.

    Now about that design, if they truly are gluing cells onto the snake cooling tube and trying to hold 1.25 to 1.5mm gaps without a mechanical locator then that’s just a bad design for high volume automotive.

    1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      “Let’s be factual here. If two cells in parallel touch their cases it’s not a problem, if two in series touch you get a short circuit and it will likely blow the cell fuse. You’ll have now lost 1/46 of your battery capacity and range since its your limiting cell group. That’s just science.”

      Ummm, no. Just touching cases isn’t going to create a short circuit, unless at least one of the cells is damaged or leaking. Cells are conductive at their ends where the contacts are located, not on their sides.

      And inside a Tesla battery case, adjacent cells are connected in parallel, not in series. Groups of cells are connected in series, but not individual cells. The parallel rather than series connection between individual cells is why a Tesla pack can cut out individual cells by blowing a fuse, and leave the rest of the cells in that string unaffected.

      That’s just engineering. 😉

    2. John Hanna says:

      There is a great YouTube video of a Tesla battery pack being disassembled. The top and bottom of the cells are held in place with a hard plastic. Those create the spacers between cells if the Model 3 design is similar to the Model S/X.

  13. Don Zenga says:

    CNBC is another media group which is anti EV. They know that Tesla is ramping up the Model 3 production and so they are throwing news like this to discourage people from buying it.

    I wish Tesla starts revealing at least Model 3 sales every month.

  14. Don Zenga says:

    Saudi Aramco, Shell and BP are investing in companies that make more fuel efficient engines. Why are doing this now when they opposed fuel efficiency for the last 40 years.

    They are afraid of rising tide of EVs.

    Saudis are also investing in refineries to convert Petroleum directly to Olefins which can be used to make plastics and this way they expect the petroleum consumption to increase.

    But the Oil used in power generation and heating is declining and they are willing to accept it.

    So transportation will be a battlefield where Oil companies won’t be willing to yield to other alternatives.

    1. pjwood1 says:

      I find what you’re talking about a lot more, right here, in the United States. A dozen state’s leadership relies on oil, and other extraction for more than ~2% of their economy, are they are in a fight to the end to deny science and highjack policy from the rest. Their populations don’t total more than about a quarter of the U.S.

      1. pjwood1 says:

        …*and* they are in a fight…

        It’s midnight. My proof-reading is flakey.

    2. terminaltrip421 says:

      yeah I was reading an article about I think it was mazda’s current R&D of a “compression engine” which was supposed to deliver a double-whammy of efficiency and power — but in fairness I think it might have said they’d been working in it for a number of years.

      still, the anti-ev sentiment seems quite apparent. anything to prevent them from taking over..

  15. DrJJ says:

    What is FUDF?

  16. Nix says:

    smells like union agitprop.

    The sad thing is that the same folks who regurgitate this exact same type of agitprop never have the intellectual honesty to actually admit their long track of factual failures. So there is no consequence for regurgitating BS.

  17. Jason says:

    “…quality control workers are relatively inexperienced, make sloppy calculations and don’t know when they’re looking at flaws”
    Seriously? What calculations do they have to make? Maybe they are still using slide rules. I highly doubt any quality control workers make any calculations in this factory. If they aren’t using diagnostic computers that would be pretty amazing for a tech company like Tesla.
    Tesla response is a bit weird, though.

  18. Gary Coates says:

    Just remember the source, CNBC.

  19. Serial anti tesla troll thomas says:

    Instead of writing thousands of comments you all would better go and help your friend Elon with assembly M3 ?

  20. vonk says:

    I wish CNBC would report about the EU not fining and letting Volkswagen/dieselgate getting away with everything and killing us all slowely over here.

    Over 10 million illegal poluting dieselcars on our mostly highly densed european roads everyday.

    The last time Germans tried to gas us, you guys set out to help us. (many thanks still).

    Kudo’s for Tesla and death to koch bro’s and the likes.

  21. JAYDEEE says:

    Sorry but tesla never produced 1000 cars in a week. The most was 730.

  22. Scott says:

    Fake News. Tesla’s Have only been in existence a few years and already the safest, fastest vehicles vs other companies that can only dream about it over a 100 years. With the worlds first fully automated production line for the model 3 designed by a rocket man! What will a few more years behold! I just purchased his power wall to go along with my Tesla Model X and solar panels

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