Tesla Model 3 Production Process Simplicity: 40 Steps In 90 Minutes

AWD Tesla Model 3 being built in a tent

DEC 7 2018 BY EVANNEX 39


As Tesla’s production ramp for the Model 3 continues to improve, so does its process. Part of this can be attributed to engineering efficiencies. Business Insider reports, “After a recent visit to the company’s Fremont, California factory, analyst Pierre Ferragu of New Street Research, far and away Tesla’s most bullish analyst on Wall Street, said the sedan is ‘biblical’ in its simplicity.”

*This article comes to us courtesy of EVANNEX (which also makes aftermarket Tesla accessories). Authored by Matt Pressman. The opinions expressed in these articles are not necessarily our own at InsideEVs.

Above: A look at the Tesla factory in Fremont, California (Image: Tesla)

“We could see the Model 3 assembled, from an empty body to a fully functional car in a bit more than 40 steps and 90 minutes, on a line about 1,000 feet long,” Ferragu said in a note to clients. “Its simplicity is unbelievable.”

In contrast, “A comparable car by any traditional automaker could take anywhere from 130 to 200 steps, Ferragu says, easily setting the Model 3 apart. The findings are similar to what UBS’ Evidence Lab found when tearing down a Model 3 earlier this year, finding ‘next-gen, military grade’ tech below the finish.”

Above: As production picks up at Tesla’s factory, more Model 3s are hitting the roads (Chart: The Street)

“Model 3 has a bit more than a kilometer of cable, vs. 3x that for equivalent traditional premium cars. But this still feels half-baked,” Ferragu said. “Ultimately, a car with a battery, a motor or two and a screen should have 2 power systems (high and low voltage) and one communication network. For that, about 100m of cabling per car should be necessary.”

Ferragu acknowledges Tesla has plenty of room for improvement. A “crowded mess” and “unnecessary complexity” are still evident from Tesla’s early ramp phase of the company’s Model 3 production process, according to Barron’s. However, as production steadily improves, Ferragu says, “The road to 7,000 units per week seems easy, and limited capital expenditures will be required (in the low tens of millions) to get to 10,000.”

Above: More on Analyst Pierre Ferragu’s observations of the Tesla Model 3 production line at the company’s Fremont factory (Youtube: Wochit Tech)

“We don’t know for sure what demand will ultimately be, but we know that from here, Tesla will expand its price range, introduce leasing, and expand internationally,” Ferragu notes. “All these levers combined have a lot of depth and should be more than enough to get to 10,000 Model 3 per week at the end of next year.”


Source: Business InsiderBarron’s

*Editor’s Note: EVANNEX, which also sells aftermarket gear for Teslas, has kindly allowed us to share some of its content with our readers, free of charge. Our thanks go out to EVANNEX. Check out the site here.

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39 Comments on "Tesla Model 3 Production Process Simplicity: 40 Steps In 90 Minutes"

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Me: What’s new in the world of EVs today?
InsideEVs: Tesla ad brought to you by EVANNEX.
Me: Groan.

The Evannex Tesla propaganda is pretty boring. Tesla is great in itself, no need to twist the truth and exaggerate like crazy like Evannex always do.

Like Evannex always DOES. Jeezzz…

Given his name, English is probably his third or fourth language… Just saying.
If I ever get my Spanish language skill-set to the point where I can do more than order a beer, I may start casting stones. Maybe not. But don’t get me started on lose vs. loose!

Mind is a terrible thing to loose. 🙂

If there was someone worth reporting from the other companies, you would see it also.

Me: what’s new today?
Most readers: a house troll showed up to knock upbeat reporting about Tesla
Me: that’s hardly new…..

The jump in deliveries from Q2 to Q3 was nothing short of amazing. It looks like Q3 to Q4 will be a remarkable 15%+ as well. Given Ferragu’s 7 and 10 statements, if they do plateau for a short while at 7k a week peak production rate, that will probably mean Q1 (Q2?) of 2019 of around 78k+ Model 3 deliveries and maybe by Q3 (Q4?) of 2019 somewhere in the neighborhood of 115k…
Yeah, I know my numbers are inexact but the possible/probable trend line is phenomenal!

Not sure why Ferragu speaks of 10k/week at Fremont since the company has clearly shifted the narrative to 7k Fremont + 3k Shanghai.

It’s really hard to know his actual thoughts, though, after they pass first through Business Insider and then Evannex.

A portion of that jump was sleight of hand. That graph is deliveries, some of which Tesla held back in June to ensure not going over the 200k limit before Q3. Probably only a few thousand cars though, so still a big jump, but not completely representative of production.

“Probably only a few thousand cars though, so still a big jump, but not completely representative of production.“

Logic dictates you can’t have deliveries without production. Deliveries follow production.

Fact: Tesla rented massive storage capabilities for cars in summer 2018. It no longer needs these.

Fact: Tesla no longer needs them “now” as it is concentrating on delivering cars over longer distances by the end of the quarter. We will soon see if “It no longer needs these” at all, as the offsite staging for deliveries at the end of quarter push for local and short distance customers begins.

He is correct that EV’s are far simpler to build and Tesla is a crowded mess.

No other EV has the components integration and compact engineering that the Model 3 has, even Model S/X. And yet, it could be even further streamlined, which Tesla is always working on. They already simplified the battery pack and will be implementing that early next year. The crowded mess comment was about the factory and frankly it’s a shortsighted comment which obfuscates the complex systems in place there and the reasons behind how it all works together. Always room for improvement, but it will always look chaotic to the outside observer.

There is far more difference between the number of parts in a “premium” car vs. a down-market car than the difference between the number of parts in a BEV vs. a gasmobile.

Tesla cars are premium cars, and they have a lot of parts, despite fewer parts in the powertrain (aside from the thousands of cells in a battery pack).

Describing Tesla production as a “crowded mess” shows a distinct lack of perception. Tesla is set to make and sell more than three times as many cars this year as last. If that’s a “crowded mess”, then it’s a mess that other auto makers would love to imitate!

Exactly. A crowded disorganized rush of a mess that started at zero and is now ramping up the Model 3 at a faster pace than any vehicle in automotive history aside from the Model T. Note: Some have reported recently that they have recently progressed faster than even the Model T.

From the title, I was expecting a speeded up video of the assembly process.

Yup, fake video, just clips from old events.
Stuff like this is getting annoying.

That photo is of the model S line. Tesla separates the model 3 line from the model S/X line and there seems to be very little or no press covering the model S/X line. Who cares right? Well, those lines are radically different. The MS/X line is a custom car oriented line with lower automation and less assembly speed, fitting the higher price on those cars.

Frankly this is the kind of distortion of fact that makes me tend to skip these pathetic fan-bois articles by Evanex. I am not a Tesla basher, far from it, I am a M3 owner and fan. But these articles are an embarrassment.

So this article is an embarrassment because of that picture???

Oh no, this article was already well into total embarrassment territory before someone put the wrong pictures with it.

Some Evannex articles are actually worth reading. This is very far from being one of them.

I think one of the more insightful/interesting statements is the availability of leasing. I looked it up and companies like BMW and MB lease a huge percentage of their cars. The fact that Tesla OUTSELLS these companies is really interesting and I don’t really understand the ramifications.

The next headache I see for Tesla is expanding charging. There will be lots of annoyed customers if the infrastructure can’t handle the increase in volume. Early adopters have just been glad they can find a charger (even Level 2 has seemed like a luxury until recently). The next wave of adopters probably won’t be as forgiving.

A recent IEVs article says Tesla plans to double the number of Supercharger stalls next year. Here’s hoping that is fully implemented!


The charging network matters, but it’s inability to keep up is pale in comparison to service hell that Tesla is entering. My mother just bought a Model S and her experience with Tesla service was abysmal compared to mine in 2015. I, too, have seen a steep decline in service quality this year. Tesla service is severely over-extended and it will take precious time to bring it up to speed.

Well let’s hope that this simplicity of production adds up to affordable prices consistent with that 10K/week target at some point because so far Model 3 is not the affordable car that was promised and for that 10K a week I’m sure average transaction price can’t be anywhere near the current $60K.

You wrote, “Tesla will expand its price range, introduce leasing, and expand internationally.”
I am very interested in leasing a Tesla Model 3. Do you know when leasing is set to begin?

Per “Do you know when leasing is set to begin?”, it would seem that is a Marketing Lever, similar to Advertising, to stimulate sales or uptake. With just about 25% of the 450,000 Reservations satisfied, that is not too likely before the end of 2019 or into 2020.

However, it may vary from that, depending on things like Model Y pulling a lot of interest away from active Model 3 sales next year, or perhaps folks leasing competitors vehicles.

Interesting comment on the cabling…
I recall Elon had mentioned a radical all-bus cabling concept for Model Y that would eliminate 80+% of the wiring compared to Model 3, which would fit the 100m comment. But I think he later said he was pressured to make Model Y a rebodied Model 3 to reduce costs, which precluded the use of an all-bus cabling system. If so, we won’t see it until the next generation, unfortunately.

The Model 3 already had the wiring harness completely redesigned to very significantly reduce the amount of wiring needed, as compared to the Model S/X. I think that’s one of the many things that Sandy Munro praised after his teardown analysis was complete.

Why fix it if it ain’t broke?

They’re not building an all new platform, but they are still doing the new wiring concept.

Elon also said the Model Y will be a manufacturing revolution.

It will be fascinating to see how much commonality it has with the 3. Also, will they somewhat modify the 3 design when they build both in China (and elsewhere).

So, in other words, Tesla can do more in 90 minutes, then most manufactures can do in general.

Go Tesla Go !!!

Whether it is publicity or not, it bodes well for the ramp up in Shanghai.


And get seriously caught-up in Fremont!

“Tesla Model 3 Production Process Simplicity”

I’m an enthusiastic fan of Tesla, but even I don’t drink enough Kool-Aid to believe that “simplicity” belongs in the same sentence with “Tesla production”!

Is Model 3 production picking up? Absolutely! But that has a lot more to do with Tesla installing new assembly lines than in simplifying production. Now, I’m sure there are some things they have managed to simplify, but that would be better described as “slightly less complex” rather than “simplicity”.

Journalists always prefer to use the most dramatic words possible.

Biblical in its simplicity? But the Bible is so long, complex, confusing and self-contradictory. Hardy a reasonable comparison in my opinion.

Well, “10 Commandments” versus the number of volumes in the “US Tax Code”, is a reasonable comparison of “Simplicity”, don’t you think? Even just compared to Rules you had to learn to get a drivers license!

That is a nice literal explanation of Bible complexity. However I believe that when people refer to something as biblical, they are referring to an event’s effect and influence on the way things happen, after that event.