UPDATE: Tesla Model 3 Bottleneck Now Understood, Production Could Increase Soon

Tesla Model 3 Production

OCT 31 2017 BY ERIC LOVEDAY 131

The causes of the Model 3 production bottlenecks are now fully understood, so production should soon increase.

Tesla Model 3

Tesla Model 3

If we’re to believe the words of Panasonic chief executive officer Kazuhiro Tsuga, then we should assume Model 3 production will increase in the near future.

*UPDATE: According to a Reuters UK report, Tsuga stated that at least one of the bottlenecks was related to battery pack production. The issue was that some parts of battery pack production were done manually. Tsuga says this will soon be fully automated, but he gave no timeframe. Here’s the important bit from the Reuters report:

Panasonic Chief Executive Kazuhiro Tsuga said at an earnings briefing that delays to the automation of the battery pack production line meant some stages had to be completed manually.

“This process (for battery packs) will be soon automated, and then the number of vehicles to be produced will rise sharply,” Tsuga said. He declined to comment to what extent Model 3 production would be behind its targeted schedule.

Tsuga stated the cell production for the Model 3 should soon ramp up at the Gigafactory as the Model 3’s production bottlenecks have now been sorted. Tsuga made this comment following Panasonic’s Q2 release.

Reuters reports it like this:

“Panasonic Corp Chief Executive Kazuhiro Tsuga said on Tuesday that output could soon be increased at Tesla Inc’s “gigafactory” battery plant as the causes of production bottlenecks for Tesla’s Model 3 are now understood.”

Tsuga’s statements are rather vague. However, we do believe Tesla has been working through this production hell and should have a resolution soon.

We know that Model 3 production is way below Musk’s initial expectations. That has led some analysts to decrease Q4 sales expectations for the Model 3. Perhaps these words from Tsuga will lead to new predictions.

Hat tip to Alan!

Source: Reuters

Categories: Tesla

Tags: , ,

131 responses to "UPDATE: Tesla Model 3 Bottleneck Now Understood, Production Could Increase Soon"
  1. Just Sayin says:

    Hope this is true.

    Fool me once, fool me twice rule….

    1. Kosh says:

      SOOooooooo glad we don’t have to worry about the body welds….

      1. John A Brewer Jr says:

        Body welds was just part of the issue, batteries a automation is a bigger deal. When pawer wall two and all the model sexy are also completing for the same round batteries vs a cube that more efficient in space this will be a issue for a while!

    2. SparkEV says:

      If you think Tesla will be able to ramp up like other major carmakers, you will be fooled again. So far, they are late with many excuses, just like they have always been. But they will produce them eventually.

      Now the question is how reliable / quality will they be? I’ve been seeing more Tesla S / X fit and finish issue videos, even just few weeks ago. I hope they do better with 3 than S, like this youtuber fears.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dKQPHC4JyAU

      1. Dav8or says:

        Wouldn’t one figure that they would figure out how they’re going to actually build the car before “releasing” it to the public?? Traditional car makers do what’s called production validation. That’s where you fire up the assembly line and see how well it works. This is traditionally done months before release.

        I guess Tesla feels it’s clever to skip this step. I think it just makes them look amateur and incompetent, but to the faithful I’m sure it looks revolutionary and cutting edge.

        1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

          Tesla is in a race, to grab as much market share as possible before legacy auto makers finally move towards making their own high-volume, compelling plug-in EVs.

          While Tesla’s repeated delays are an embarrassment, I think Tesla is wise to not let embarrassment alter prudent corporate policy. For a growth company during a disruptive tech revolution, continuing to grow as fast as possible is prudent.

          What I would like to see is Tesla toning down on the hype; toning it down a lot. If Tesla toned it down on the over-promising, then the under-delivery wouldn’t be seen as quite so important.

          1. Dav8or says:

            To capture marketshare, you have to actually sell product. You can’t just endlessly promise and not deliver. I agree on toning down the rhetoric. I suspect people working under Elon are like people working under Trump. Both would love to cancel their respective Twitter accounts.

            1. Nix says:

              Are you under the false impression that Tesla isn’t delivering product? Have you ever bothered actually reading the monthly scorecard numbers, instead of just posting Tesla bashing posts in them?

              1. Spider-Dan says:

                Quite correct! Three months after starting “production,” Tesla has “sold” dozens of Model 3s. DOZENS!

                1. Dragon says:

                  Yes, three months is just an “endless” amount of time. Irrefutable proof that Model 3 will “never” be here in volume. *rolls eyes*

                  1. Spider-Dan says:

                    Well, considering Elon said that his expectation was 100k-200k Model 3s in the second half of 2017, all Tesla has to do is double their production total every week from now until the end of the year and that goal is still quite reachable!

                    So I guess the key is to set attainable milestones…?

        2. Nix says:

          Yea, why wouldn’t Tesla delay and sandbag on their EV’s and build limited volumes, while humping their big pickup trucks and gas guzzling SUV’s in endless loops of multi-million dollar national TV ad campaigns?

          Tesla has to run hard on Plan A, because there is no Plan B of sitting back on their heels and selling ICE trucks and SUV’s with fat profit margins.

          1. Spider-Dan says:

            “Yea, why wouldn’t Tesla delay and sandbag on their EV’s and build limited volumes, while humping their big pickup trucks and gas guzzling SUV’s in endless loops of multi-million dollar national TV ad campaigns?”

            “We had to do it fast because there wasn’t time to do it right” is not a reasonable answer. Tesla needed to decide which was better for their reputation and their long-term prospects: rushing out unfinished prototypes and declaring them production models, or delaying and going through a more rigorous validation and quality control process to get everything working properly.

            This is all a completely avoidable own-goal. The car isn’t finished, and the production process to make the car also isn’t finished. The only reason Tesla is running around with their hair on fire is because Elon pledged that hundreds of thousands of Model 3s would be produced in 2017 (instead of 2018 or even 2019).

            Elon desperately needs a lesson in underpromising and overdelivering, instead of the opposite. Had he set the timetable for the Model 3 in 2019, Tesla would have been able to better fine-tune the production ramp-up, and he could have looked like a wizard when Model 3s started rolling out ahead of schedule in late 2018, still ahead of all their luxury competitors.

            But that surely would have impacted the number of interest-free $1000 loans Tesla received in 2016. So that’s not what happened.

            1. Nix says:

              Sorry you are so short sighted that you can’t see that Tesla is only between 1-2 months behind schedule, not a year and a half. Keep up the fantasies.

              1. Spider-Dan says:

                So since Tesla is “only 1-2 months” behind schedule, and Elon’s original expectations were that between 100k-200k Model 3s would be produced in the second half of 2017, what you are saying is that by the end of February 2018, between 100k-200k Model 3s will have been produced.

                While we are stating fantasy wishes unbound by reality, I would also like to have a pony.

          2. Dav8or says:

            Why? Is the Model S and Model X all played out? No more sales or improvements to be made? I thought they were super duper awesome and profitable? Why not take your time, bank some profit and release the 3 when it’s really finished and ready? Can’t Tesla fall back on their amazing solar roofs and power walls to carry the company until the messiah 3… I mean Model 3 comes to market?

            1. Nix says:

              Really? You seriously haven’t read Tesla’s secret plan, and don’t understand that the Model S/X have ALWAYS been a stepping stone on the way to Model 3/Y sales?

              I’m sorry you are so clueless not to understand even the basics of Tesla’s decade old business plan. It must take hard work to intentionally stay so uninformed.

              1. Spider-Dan says:

                If the Model 3 was “released” in mid-2018 instead of mid-2017, that doesn’t make the S/X any less of a stepping stone.

      2. Terawatt says:

        > So far, they are late with many excuses, just like they have always been. But they will produce them eventually.

        Hehe. Yeah, they are pretty late with their excuses! And I also think they will produce them – the excuses, that is – eventually.

        To claim that it took until now to figure out that hand-building battery packs represented a bottleneck is to claim to be completely incompetent. In fact, it is to claim to be far more incompetent than any reasonable person can believe! It is a transparent LIE.

        It may of course be true that this is a bottleneck, or even that it is the only bottleneck – at least the only so far identified – although I doubt that, too. But there is just no way it can be true that they figured this out only now.

        If they had said something along the lines that they believed they would be able to automate this sooner but haven’t, the excuse would at least sound plausible. It would have amounted to an admission, between the lines, that Tesla’s estimates were based on the mere *hope* that unsolved problems would be solved in time.

        But instead they choose to pretend they just figured this out.

        It apparently takes a lot to break the spell for many… otherwise, how can they get away with telling people things that are so obviously not true??

        1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

          Terawatt said:

          “To claim that it took until now to figure out that hand-building battery packs represented a bottleneck is to claim to be completely incompetent. In fact, it is to claim to be far more incompetent than any reasonable person can believe! It is a transparent LIE.”

          WOW! You usually show much better ability to comprehend what you read, Terawatt. You get an “F” for the day!

          You’re taking far too literally what was given as an indirect quote from a Japanese executive. For all we know, that’s only an English translation of what he said, and it’s obviously not a word-for-word quote.

          I think it’s safe to assume that, unlike the translator or Reuters reporter or Reuters editor — whoever composed that semi-quote — Panasonic chief executive officer Kazuhiro Tsuga understands the difference between “the causes of production bottlenecks for Tesla’s Model 3 are now understood” and “it is now understood what is necessary to fix the causes of production bottlenecks for Tesla’s Model 3”.

        2. Roy_H says:

          This was identified and stated long ago by Musk. That the hand assembly of the battery packs had to be automated before Model 3 production goals could be met. I had assumed this was already accomplished, but apparently not. The solution must have been in play for a long time, just late in implementing.

  2. God/Bacardi says:

    We’ll see if this is the one and only bottleneck…

    1. ClarksonCote says:

      Yeah, it hardly seems like fact to point to a statement made by a company who is not Tesla, and declare that production bottlenecks are solved.

      Of course, it’d be great if they were, but that seems like quite a stretch to take his statement and conclude Tesla’s production problems are now solved.

  3. justanotherguy50 says:

    Understanding the bottleneck doesn’t mean it is solved or sorted.

  4. Alan says:

    According to rueters, the battery pack production was being completed in part manually instead of via automation, this should be sorted very soon.

      1. Jay Cole says:

        Thanks Alan, will add some of this further backstory into the article!

      2. realistic says:

        Alan:

        Does Panasonic assemble the battery, or do they just manufacture cells? My understanding was that batteries (the assemblage of cells + container + thermal and electrical management) were assembled by Tesla, with the machine gun pace of cells provided by Panasonic.

        Thanks.

        1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

          Panasonic is only responsible for production of the cells, in the Panasonic side of Gigafactory 1.

          Tesla is responsible for all battery pack assembly work, on the Tesla side of the factory.

          Despite a lot of rumors (and FUD), I have seen no real evidence that Panasonic is having problems ramping up production of cells for the Model 3. On the other hand, Tesla has started using Samsung cells for at least some of its PowerPacks, and that does raise the question of why plans were changed. Originally, Panasonic was supposed to make all the cells for the PowerWalls and PowerPacks, too.

          https://electrek.co/2017/08/09/tesla-powerpack-project-australia-battery-cell-samsung/

      3. Alan B says:

        That article indicates that they have worked through *a* bottleneck for battery production at the Gigafactory, not *the* bottleneck for Model 3 production. I think people read too much into this. This article rehashing the Reuters article misrepresents what was said.

        Key quotes:

        “Panasonic Corp (6752.T) on Tuesday said output at the $5 billion battery “Gigafactory” it runs with electric vehicle maker Tesla Inc (TSLA.O) could soon increase as the causes of bottlenecks that have hobbled production are now understood. ”

        “Tesla earlier this month blamed manufacturing bottlenecks for limiting quarterly production of its mass-market Model 3 sedan to 260 vehicles rather than its 1,500 goal.” Note that they do not place the blame specifically on battery production.

        So – logically, since manufacturing the Model 3 involves more than making the batteries, it could well be that this is only one of the bottlenecks.

        Nowhere was it said that this was *the* bottleneck.

        1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

          Thank you, Alan B.

          Nice to see that I’m not the only person exercising critical reading here.

        2. Alan says:

          “This process (for Battery Packs) will soon be automated and then the number of “vehicles” to be produced will rise sharply”

          It certainly sounds as though Tsuga is under the impression that this is pretty much THE problem ?

          I could be reading this wrongly of course !

  5. Doggydogworld says:

    Electrek misreported this, saying the problem was at the GF. Might be true, but that’s not what Tsuga said.

    Three other pieces of evidence support the GF theory, though:

    1. Tesla used Samsung cells in Australia

    2. Panasonic’s contract requires Tesla to buy a “safety stock” of cells. So Panasonic should be able to make and sell cells even if Model 3 production stalls.

    3. Leaks from Endeep indicate problems with cell production.

    1. Doggydogworld says:

      The update adds an interesting twist.

      Note Model 3 window stickers currently say the pack is assembled in Fremont.

      Don’t see why manual pack building would limit them to 100/month, though. It also doesn’t explain why they used Samsung cells for Australia.

      1. DukeNukem says:

        It was already announced in mid 2016 that they will use Sasmung cells for their energy products and LG cells for the Roadster-Upgrade. So nothing new with the Australia project.

      2. JeremyK says:

        It’s possible that Panasonic is air shipping cells from Japan in order for Tesla to build packs. This might explain why the vehicle volumes are so low.

        1. RayK says:

          Conceivably they could “overnight parts from Japan” for production!

    2. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      Doggydogworld said:

      “Electrek misreported this, saying the problem was at the GF. Might be true, but that’s not what Tsuga said.”

      Where does it say that what Electrek reported was based on statements from Panasonic chief executive officer Kazuhiro Tsuga? Seems to me you’re the one jumping to a conclusion here, not Electrek.

      And if the problem was, as Electrek reported, welds on the Model 3 battery pack, then that would indeed seem to point to Gigafactory 1, since that’s where the TM3 packs are being assembled.

      Furthermore, reports of Elon Musk’s “campfire” party on top of Gigafactory 1 would seem to indicate that’s where the bottleneck was physically located.

  6. bro1999 says:

    Ah, the very descriptive “soon” time frame. Of course.

    1. Tom Moloughney says:

      It could be worse. He could have said “In a very short period of time”, which today means never!

    2. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      Aka “real soon now”. 😉

    3. Recoil says:

      Hey bro how “soon” is the bolt going to catch up with 2010 technology and get ACC?

  7. Four Electrics says:

    We heard this before with the Model X, where it was “real soon now” for at least six months, and nine months until the lemon surge subsided.

    I predict a thousand lemon-free cars a week by 2019.

  8. realistic says:

    This is going to be one of those idustrial tales built solely on legend, with everybody knowing the REAL real story, told in a hundred versions. Read Tsuga’s carefully-parsed statement again:

    “…Tsuga said on Tuesday that output could soon be increased at Tesla Inc’s ‘gigafactory’ battery plant as the causes of production bottlenecks for Tesla’s Model 3 are now understood”

    Now that Tesla “understands” the “causes of prduction bottlenecks” for the Model 3, Panasonic can start making more batteries. Panasonic is not saying, “hey, it’s not our fault”, but this is carefully stated to be two separate issues. Output at the GF can go up now that Tesla understands why they can’t build cars fast enough.

    FWIW, the idea that the cause of slow production was not understood is silly. They know what processes are effed up and unable to proceed at rate, which suppliers are struggling to implement last week’s really-no-kidding-final engineering change #52, and which line has lost its third foreman in as many months months to Tesla’s “performance-related” firings.

    But the idea they’ve now figured it out is an imaginative explanation.

    ________
    “What, No Cars: an Industrial Dramedy”, Scene 1, in Fremont:

    Wow, we sure can’t build cars very fast, Bob. What the hell, man?

    I dunno, Charley, I’m guessing it may be… hey, the steering wheel kanban is empty. And it’s been empty all week! Have we been trying to build cars without STEERING WHEELS?

    Aw man… I didn’t know. Thanks, Bob, You nailed it. Let’s get the line rollin’! CO2, we’re comin’ for you!

    [Exeunt players]
    ________

    To have “delivered” production cars in early summer, yet be unable to exceed a few hundred a month for reasons unknown until Halloween is a uniquely Teslatic ailment.

  9. Big Show says:

    I guess this explains why Elon is camping out on the Gigafactory roof instead of Fremont. Let’s hope the Great Pumpkin visits him tonight to bring the secret of escaping production hell 😉

    1. Bill Howland says:

      Yeah, I mentioned a few days ago that he was camping out at the wrong factory to many catcalls from all the self-appointed-experts…

      But I’m glad you got a +1 since it shows someone is paying attention.

      1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

        I see that as usual, you haven’t learned from your error. If the problem is with welds on the Model 3 battery pack, as Electrek reported, then Elon Musk is indeed in the right place if he’s spending his time at the Gigafactory. That’s where Model 3 battery pack assembly occurs.

        1. Doggydogworld says:

          Model 3 window stickers say the battery pack was assembled in Fremont.

          NV pack production is the plan, not yet achieved.

          1. unlucky says:

            A high rate of assembly is also the plan.

            Just because the hand-made packs are made in Fremont it doesn’t mean the problems with not making automated packs isn’t at the Gigafactory.

          2. Nix says:

            Yea, and the Model S/X cars are manufactured in Tilburg…

            We have no idea how much is assembled in each location. But we do know that significant amounts of the work are done in Nevada, regardless of what the sticker says.

        2. Bill Howland says:

          A kindergartner’s critique.

          Apparently he needs to camp out at both locations.

          Wish you would try to make an intelligent comment instead of just ‘filler’.

          Your comments are like “GREAT STUFF”, that you trim away and throw in the garbage.

          Scratch that, GS has a higher R-value then your drivel.

  10. Alan says:

    2639 Vin numbers have now been produced,

    What exactly that tells about how many cars will actually be built in October is anyone’s guess.

  11. Jake Brake says:

    Rumors are there is an issur with battery module assembly. Likely the welding since thats they tricky part.

    1. realistic says:

      For sure Tesla has replaced some batteries (the whole thing) in a few Model 3’s, so some part or process was flawed.

      While I am a genuinely big fan of Panasonic, I will admit they are probably not entirely hitting on all cylinders (maybe change that to discharging equally from all cells?). The other rumor mill says that local Reno “talent” hired by Panasonic is not very talented.

      1. pjwood1 says:

        Nevada has a 2018 ballot measure, to go de-regulated (good for GF, solar, etc.). Knowing its economic history, many GF workers could have pasts in either the construction, or gambling, industries. It needs the new GF jobs, and perhaps a talent-building respect for “higher ed”? I think Tesla’s choice was still a wise one if you game out electric policy. At .5% mining to GSP, almost all of its fossil fuel use is imported from other states.

        **sun**land**batteries Power analysts focus on KWh rate break-evens, “it’ll never happen at ~$.12/KWh”, etc. On avoided costs for fossil imports (for trans, not just electricity) and a social dollar figure on diversifying and adding jobs, I don’t think they necessarily get the whole picture. NV-Energy, a “Sell”. There you have it 😉

      2. Spider-Dan says:

        I work at a manufacturing site for a major multinational pharmaceutical company in NorCal, and one of our manufacturing supervisors was recently hired at the GF. I spoke to her this weekend and she mentioned that there are many people – at least at her level – hired from outside of the Reno area. (However, her mfg line is not Model 3 battery packs.)

        Take that for what it’s worth.

        1. Nix says:

          Stop sampling the product. The side effects include brain damage.

  12. Tom says:

    It would seem if you are hand assembling battery packs you could do better than 100 in a month. 3 a day? You’d think a single person could assemble 3 a day. You’d think they could knock out a few dozen per day at least to get things moving.

    1. CDAVIS says:

      @Tom said: “It would seem if you are hand assembling battery packs you could do better than 100 in a month. 3 a day? You’d think… You’d think… ”
      ————-

      Or…

      *You’d Think* all available resources (including Musk GF Roof Camping) are focused on solving the GF battery pack automation gaps rather than focused on optimizing manual assembly processes? …which seems to be the case.

      1. CDAVIS says:

        … to clarify my above “which seems to be the case” is meant to say Tesla is correctly focused on solving automation gaps rather than spending resources optimizing manual bridge solutions.

    2. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      Tom thinks he could hand-assemble three TM3 battery packs in a single work day?

      Each of those packs would involve hand-soldering 2976 battery cells onto the wiring/fuses, assembling them first into “bricks” and then modules, and finally put them into the pack’s case. Then he’d have to put in the liquid cooling system, the BMS, and the connectors for the inverter, the charger, and and the DCFC charging port; and when everything was in place, he’d have to weld the pack shut.

      I’d love to be a fly on the wall watching Tom try to do all that three times in an 8 hour shift! If Tom was doing only the soldering of the cells onto wires, and nothing else, that would be one soldered join every 3.02 seconds (assuming 7-1/2 hours of actual work time; 8 hours minus two 15-minute breaks). That’s pretty fast soldering!

      But hey, there’s always overtime… 😉

      1. unlucky says:

        Batteries (cells) are actually spot welded or mechanically fastened (bolted) together. The heat of soldering is bad for them.

        Hmm. Batteries. Welds. I wonder if maybe there has been a miscommunication and the problem is with welding the cells together, not a structural part of the pack.

        While there could be a couple dozen welds in the pack construction there are thousands attaching tabs to cells. It sure would slow things down if those cells cannot be welded together automatically.

        1. Nix says:

          Who says that the welds were done after the batteries were installed into the pack, instead of before? Go take a look at the Model S pack. It clearly has to be welded up before adding the batteries and the top cover put on.

          1. unlucky says:

            I don’t know what you’re saying here. I never said anything about the order. I said that perhaps the welding problem is not with the structural part of the pack (what holds it together) but with the electrical connections in it.

  13. Assaf says:

    Wow, the battery pack was what I *least* suspected, given that this is by far the most critical component, and that Panasonic and Tesla have been working on that together over a decade and 4 different models.

    What about parts more unique to the Model 3? Panasonic doesn’t know squat about those, only Tesla and their suppliers.

    I suggest the author change the misleading title to something more accurate and tentative, including the source for the news (which is *not* Tesla apparently).

    1. Murrysville EV says:

      Agreed. The GF has been producing the 2170 cell since spring 2017, and I assumed battery and pack production was the least of their worries.

      This can’t be the only bottleneck. But I still wonder if there is a retooling effort that needs to happen which will delay things a couple more months.

      As other have pointed out, merely understanding the problem doesn’t mean it’s fixed. And, ‘soon’ in Tesla-speak could mean months.

      1. bro1999 says:

        Exactly. Like 65% of the United States understands what our biggest problem is, but getting rid of that problem isn’t an overnight process.

  14. realistic says:

    doggydogworld brings up some useful information (thanks, mr. k9). It appares that those of us (i.e., me) who are enamored of Panasonic might be in for a disappointment.

    See the comments in disqus from a purported good source (which in fact seems to be the case)

    https://disqus.com/by/endeep/

    1. Tom says:

      Well that’s a pretty damning set of statements. Who could have guessed building a gigantic building in the middle of nowhere would come with resource constraints? If even a portion of those things are true, there’s no foreseeable horizon to full production.

      1. Bill Howland says:

        Yeah, but Tom – as far as supply constraints go, as far as electricity from NV energy – they might be having some problem with ‘dropouts’ from lightning strikes, etc that cause 1/4- 1/2 second ‘brownouts’, which are pretty easily satisfied with standard ‘power conditioning’ equipment for their critical loads.

        Even if the situation is God-Awful and the preceding isn’t adequate, they could have 5 minute UPS’s (Uninterruptible Power Systems), as well as Diesel Generators to provide Continuous process power during line disturbances. The Generators would obviously only run on a day when there WERE disturbances. I would imagine, even in a horrid situation that most days the Generator would remain off.

        So the question remains, couldn’t SOMEONE SOMEWHERE have foreseen the necessity for reliable process power, at least for those critical areas of the plant? The cost to prepare for this is trivial since you don’t need perfect power absolutely everywhere, but only in the places that would shut down your assembly line. The offices, and air conditioning systems obviously can withstand minor interruptions since the power will come right back on and the joint won’t get that hot in the few minutes it is off.

        Obviously any process refrigeration required directly for cell manufacture would be considered a ‘critical process’ and would run off the ‘Line Conditioner’ or UPS, whatever grade of improvement was required.

        But the one-liner is this is easily anticipated and should have been planned for from the get-go.

        1. Tom says:

          I have no information as to whether any of that poster’s comments are true, but I don’t care where you build a factory, those considerations go into the design. It would be ridiculously ironic if Tesla did not. Which makes the statements seem outrageous….but troubling nonetheless. There’s no reason at all that 6 months into hand assembly of battery packs that the process to make said battery packs hasn’t been implemented. That’s asinine to the point of not being believable.

    2. HVACman says:

      Wow – thanks for the link to that Tesla GF insider thread. What a mess. The posts ring-true.

      The collision between Japanese and American cultures and competencies reminds me of that movie “Gung Ho” about a Japanese auto company taking over a bankrupt US operation and attempting to get the US plant re-opened and working. Ron Howard directed it and stars a young Michael Keaton.

    3. Murrysville EV says:

      Thanks for posting that – very troubling in many respects.

      The unreliable power supply to the GF is most ironic.

    4. bro1999 says:

      Please post relevant comments for those of us that can’t access that link. Thanks.

      1. Spider-Dan says:

        In a nutshell:

        – Japanese Panasonic-side management has a lot of experience with manufacturing, American Panasonic-side has none (or is incompetent)
        – local talent base is in casino industry, not manufacturing
        – original solar-power-source for GF never got off the ground, and the local utility has poor reliability, with weekly power outages lasting from seconds to hours
        – only one highway from nearest major city to GF, which is frequently closed due to accidents/brushfires/snow & ice (depending on season)

        A lot of those “They should call it the LG Bolt” criticisms are looking kinda silly right about now.

        1. HVACman says:

          …and a 3-second power outage can cause many hours of production delays to get the line re-started + scrapping several hours of partially-completed cells production.

          If endeep’s posts about production/managment/labor/utility conditions at GF are credible, then Tesla is in a world of hurt and that hurt is not easily fixable. It would appear Tesla (and Panasonic) did not do adequate due-diligence about researching the detailed aspects of the various sites they were considering for the Gigafactory before selecting rural Sparks NV. This blunder could kill the company.

          1. Spider-Dan says:

            To be clear, Reno/Sparks is not rural; the Reno-Sparks metro area has a population of 425,000.

            The GF is located near Clark, NV – 20 miles east of Sparks. Storey County, where the GF is located, has a total population of ~4,000.

          2. Bill Howland says:

            As my comment indicated above showed, its a straightforward matter to anticipate and avoid shutdowns no matter how many ‘3 second brownouts or outages’ they have.

            One Tesla firing should have been the engineering group that designed their electric layout, if no provision for absolutely continuous process was made.

  15. Taser54 says:

    Wasn’t this manual pack assembly reported months ago?

    1. Tom says:

      I don’t remember clearly, but certainly it was reported that batteries had begun being made for the Model 3 in early 2017 and I seem to remember it was manual. And the pre-production (or whatever the test vehicles are being called) would have had battery packs. It’s been at least 6 months since the cells supposedly started being made. It’s pretty concerning that the item you’d think they are best at is now the issue.

    2. M3 - reserved -- Niro/Leaf 2.0/Outlander - TBD says:

      Yes, and they were calculating the manual packs were somewhere 10 a day running full steam — well, that’s about right for the 200 assembled for last quarter report.

      Don’t like the keywords and Tesla historical issues. 🙁

      Our lease for the Spark is up in May and still hoping our 3 will arrive prior to that or else back to our ICE or get another BEV

  16. Kdawg says:

    Tesla should look at this company out of Detroit. They have software that monitors all your equipment and the entire process. Then it uses an algorithm to analyze the data to find bottlenecks/problems and also helps with maintenance.

    Beet Analytics Technology
    http://www.beet.com/

    1. realistic says:

      k, Tesla (and perhaps Panasonic, too) is nowhere close to being ready for tools like this. They are doing so many things off-process that their current metrics aren’t useful. They need to have actual production lines and processes actually running, detailed value stream maps built and process times and yields accurately documented. By the time they hit their 2000-3000 per week numbers they might consider something like this. But right now it’s like the 300lb, 40 percent BF guy at the gym doing calf toning exercises: it’s WAY too early for that — get to fundamentals first.

  17. F150 Brian says:

    I’m sure that most manufacturers run into unexpected problems when getting automated production up and running.

    It is just NOT PUBLIC SPECTACLE like it is for Tesla.

    In time they’ll mature too.

    1. leafowner says:

      Correct F150 — most of the time all these hell issues happen in the background.

      So what will Tesla be calling your next pickup? T-150? Maybe they will call it the T-440V

    2. Nix says:

      Yes, traditional car makers bury their failures and delays in endless iterations of concept cars. Where is the long promised Ford Bronco? Where is the long promised Land Rover Defender replacement? Where are all those VW/Audi EV’s?

      Another delay? Put out another concept car. The masses will be placated.

      Tesla doesn’t play that game.

      1. Four Electrics says:

        Other manufacturers put out concepts. Tesla does too, but they delude themselves (and the public) into thinking they’re real production models. Then it takes several years for the “production” part to get sorted out.

        Take your pick.

        1. Nix says:

          So what car has Tesla not put into production after they built prototypes?

          1. Get Real says:

            Good one Nix, as ususal the serial anti-Tesla troll 4E has no answer to something factual!

      2. unlucky says:

        Where’s the semi?

        I think it’s ridiculous to call out companies for not announcing things that they decide not to make or aren’t ready yet.

        The real problem is announcing things as ready when they aren’t.

        Land Rover didn’t owe or promise anyone a new Defender. They simply decided not to make it.

        1. Nix says:

          The Semi reveal was delayed until Nov. because Tesla dedicated a ton of staff to build electric solar/battery pack installs to power hospitals in Puerto Rico. You know this, you commented on the stories. What the heck is wrong with your head?

    3. Bro1999 says:

      Self induced public spectacle. That’s what happens when you do a sham “delivery party”.

      1. unlucky says:

        Or a sham rollout. Like we saw with the Boeing 787.

        It can be tempting to announce early to get that PR blast. But there are good reasons not to.

        1. Will says:

          787 was reveal launch like the 3 in 2016 they don’t have delivery launch until their production line is up and running. That way they can receive orders and rest the aircraft before diminishing their product

    4. JeremyK says:

      Yeah, they happen, but they happen at the pilot builds months in advance of start of production.

      Tesla is actually in the pilot-build phase of manufacturing and everyone know it but them.

  18. Mike says:

    I seem to remember that Tesla was only ordering to robots to assemble battery packs in late May or June. At the time it seemed unlikely that these robots could be built, delivered, installed, debugged, and tuned in time to really get production ramped up.

    I don’t know if this is the only bottle neck though. Wasn’t Tesla building 20 packs a day by hand back in June? That should have been enough to roll out 500 cars in August.

    1. Ron M says:

      We must have been writing are comments at close to the same time I didn’t read your comment until I posted mine but we came to the same conclusion.

  19. Ron M says:

    I think the problem was with robotic equipment that was suppose to put the cells into battery packs. They showed pictures of robotics a couple months ago and said they ordered them and that they will be installed soon. Maybe the robotics took longer than expected to receive and install. So battery packs had to be assembled by hand.

    1. Murrysville EV says:

      I remember that, too. The robots were all still in shrink wrap, and my reaction was “they’re many months away from building anything with those”.

  20. (⌐■_■) Trollnonymous says:

    I still think it was a weld issue due to the change of metals from them using different metals types for the M3.

    Probably wasn’t the smartest thing to do but as long as they worked it out, then keep moving forward.

    1. God/Bacardi says:

      The source claiming there is a weld issue is an one man company running out of his apartment and is a known Tesla hater…

      Musk is most likely smarter than you or I, if there was a welding issue, why would Musk post a video to expose himself/Tesla when he could have posted a non-welding issue?

  21. floydboy says:

    Manufacturing issue, meh. They’ll get it sorted out and we’ll move on to complaining about the next thing that Tesla can’t do as well as all the REAL manufacturers!

  22. Terawatt says:

    > The issue was that some parts of battery pack production were done manually.

    This is incredible – literally not credible. If this is true, why on earth would it take so long to identify the bottleneck?!? Surely it would be utterly impossible not to know of this even back in July before the launch party – at which Musk reiterated his supposed belief that Tesla could deliver 100 in July, 1500 in September, and 5000 per week by year end.

    > Tsuga says this will soon be fully automated, but he gave no timeframe.

    Probably wise if it took several months to figure out that hand-building the battery packs represented a bottleneck.

    I have lost my ability to believe anything Tesla says. From now on, only the legally-mandated information that Tesla reports to the SEC and shareholder seems deserving of being taken seriously, and even then only statements that are quantified and not possible to hype qualify.

    Seriously, if I were an investor I would be *furious* to be served this BS “explanation” at this point in time. I can hardly take it seriously!

    1. Murrysville EV says:

      @Terawatt: I’m at that point, too.

      My Model 3 reservation is slowly slipping into the hands of another mfr.

      Today we’re hearing about mfg nightmares; tomorrow it’ll be service nightmares.

      1. SparkEV says:

        Youtuber in link I provide above discuss his Tesla S service issues for S he bought this year. Poor service is not news with Tesla, and to be expected, just like the delays and excuses.

        What is disappointing is all the problems with S they are still having, such as offset chrome trim deemed “within specification”. I expect that from SparkEV (and it does have few), but not from $35K car and definitely not from $75K car. I mean, it’s been 5 years already, how long are they going to have “minor” issues like this, especially stuff that are not fixed for almost a year despite numerous service visits?

        Still, there’s really no viable contender, though Bolt is looking prettier by the day thanks to $200/mo leases.

        1. Tom says:

          You know what they call a vehicle that’s been in production 5 years and still has mismatched trim pieces? A Dodge. But I only paid $28,000 for that minivan.

    2. Bro1999 says:

      Might want to hop aboard the class action lawsuit train! Choo choo

        1. Nix says:

          Seems like their suit is against the wrong party. It is WSJ that released proven false information that quite possibly impacted share prices.

          But it will be hilarious when plaintiffs attempt to claim losses when TSLA is up $150 since Dec 2016. The courts and juries aren’t known to reward day traders for their gambling losses, and long term investors clearly have massive gains, not losses.

        2. Nix says:

          Tesla ends this lawsuit on day one by simply pointing out this line in their SEC papers that gave all investors prior warning that they may not hit targets:

          “We may experience delays in realizing our projected timelines and cost and volume targets for the production , launch and ramp of our Model 3 vehicle”

          Nobody can complain that they weren’t informed about potential delays well ahead of time.

          1. unlucky says:

            Saying that you might be wrong is not sufficient defense against a complaint you are wrong not because of unexpected things but because you ignored the information you had.

    3. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      Terawatt said:

      “This is incredible – literally not credible. If this is true, why on earth would it take so long to identify the bottleneck?!?”

      What I find incredible is that you correctly understand how unlikely what is reported here is literally true, yet you didn’t bother to look back at the article and notice that what is reported is not a direct quote from Panasonic Corp Chief Executive Kazuhiro Tsuga, but rather merely what someone said he said.

      Welcome to another game of “Telephone”… possibly exacerbated by something lost in translation from Japanese?

      1. unlucky says:

        Yeah, there has to be more to this story.

        Merely identifying the problem is not a mere half step from fixing it. Surely they knew they had a battery pack production problem long ago. It doesn’t take a genius to see low output numbers.

        Most likely this story appearing today is just to soften the blow for the earnings tomorrow. To emphasize that things could be better soon even if they haven’t been good in the quarter we’re about to announce.

    4. unlucky says:

      I don’t believe their required reports much either. This is a company the SEC accused of “tailoring” their accounting to make them look more profitable. They still feature non-GAAP profit/loss figures and sites like this one and others follow right in step.

      At some point we have to start measuring Tesla by the same yardstick we measure other companies by. Just so we can stop fooling ourselves and know what we’re looking at.

      1. Nix says:

        I see you are one of the fools who don’t understand that reporting both GAAP and non-GAAP provides 100% of the info that companies reporting GAAP only provide, PLUS additional non-GAAP data.

        If you personally don’t like non-GAAP, all the GAAP data is still right there. Only fools whine about getting all the same info as GAAP only reports, plus more data to supplement the GAAP data.

        1. unlucky says:

          Apparently only fools like the SEC whine about this. They indicated Tesla’s non-GAAP figures were “tailored”.

          Oh the SEC, such fools.

          And my complaint was not in having additional information, it was in featuring the data meant to mislead. This is a problem.

      2. Get Real says:

        Well if you don’t like InsidEvs then why are you trolling here Unlucky?

        That’s right, as a serial anti-Tesla troll and FUDster you have a pathological need to to stir the pot.

  23. MJC says:

    I’ll only be convinced production hell is over when I see VIN#’s at 100,000+.

  24. Four Electrics says:

    So, it turns out that portions of the Model 3 *were* being built by hand. I wonder what other propaganda will be debunked in the months ahead.

    1. Nix says:

      parts of every single car built by every single car maker are built by human hands. What is your point?

      1. Get Real says:

        His point is what is called propaganda. Negative on anything and everything Tesla.

        I wonder how much he has lost shorting?

  25. jim stack says:

    Maybe one of a few bottle necks and the last to be solved. I think production will increase soon as he said. Batteries is why the GigaFactory was built and the Worlds biggest takes a little time.
    I’m willing to wait for the best and the model 3 is the best and most efficient.

  26. Nix says:

    This story will be completely moot in less than 24 hours.

  27. Get Real says:

    As is easy to see, we are (unfortunately) dealing with a gaggle of trolls here who desperately (and pathetically I might add) want to see Tesla fail.

    Now why would anyone who professes to be an EV supporter want that?

    That brings up a whole list of possibilities and NONE of them are pretty:

    Shills for the fossil fool industry who despite their lamentations here are NOT EV supporters in any way, shape, or form.

    Shorters or other vultures/gamblers who care nothing about a better future because all lining their pockets is all that matters.

    Rivals of Tesla in the auto OEM world or investors therein.

    Other industries threatened by Tesla ventures like the Auto Stealerships, auto repair places that live off of ICE related profits.

    Other industries/monopolies threatened by Tesla like electrical utilities.

    And of course as has been demonstrated here more then once, there are mentally ill people just opposed to progress.

    People so wed to past ways that they feel personally threatened and insecure by what Elon Musk has accomplished and I’m sure there are those who are plain jealous too.

    I think that some of the self percieved “guardians of the galaxy” accountant/investor types that rave endlessly about “cash incineration” blah, blah, blah fall into this category. Of course these people obviously can’t see the forest for the trees and must make pretty crappy investors.

    And of course the useful idiots who lack originality of their own but can cut and paste the various anti-Tesla arguments to try and make their FUD points.

    Tesla threatens many of the most powerful industries in the world and just like in politics there are probably trolls being paid to run misinformation campaigns against them and RE.

    Now obviously Tesla is behind their incredibly aggressive timeline on M3 production but I for one think it is far more important to get it right then to make an artificial timeline.

    I continue to predict that Tesla will get to true mass production by the end of the year and continue to ramp from there all through 2018 despite the repetitive hater-trolls, shills and shorters and copy cat chicken-littles here who never had any intention of buying a Tesla.

    1. Ron M says:

      I agree with you completely Elon Musk is a genius, leader and visionary who inspires his employees to do great things.

    2. bro1999 says:

      Might want to loosen your tin foil hat there buddy. I think it’s cutting off circulation to your brain…assuming you have one.

      1. Get Real says:

        That is rich coming from a scarecrow and we know which category you are primarily in.

        See unlike you MadBro, I want ALL EVs to succeed and I’m even driving a Volt and Bolt to which I will add a Model 3.

  28. Pinewold says:

    Elon and Tesla were very up front about manufacturing hell. Elon mentioned that he had no idea when he would emerge from manufacturing hell and that it was virtually impossible to predict when Tesla would start to climb the s-curve.

    Elon said that it was virtually impossible that there would not be any problem.

    He has even said “assume the worst” to folks who continue to pester Tesla about not meeting production goals set in the absence of any knowledge as to which parts will show up on time.

    If you work in manufacturing you know that getting a manufacturing line running always takes time. Tesla did not have the luxury of having an a team experienced in manufacturing high volumes of cars. They have never done it before. The only choice left is to go as fast as you can and learn as you go.

    1. mxs says:

      But, he also claimed with straight face that “There are no fundamental issues with the assembly line” … yeah, ok, whatever.

      More fixes, less BS please.