Tesla Model 3 Weld Quality Questioned

Tesla Model 3


The Model 3 body line slowed down to 1/10th speed

A post shared by Elon Musk (@elonmusk) on

Does Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s recent Model 3 production video point to inadequate welding processes?

We won’t claim to be super knowledgeable about welding, but an automotive manufacturing consultant told Automotive News that there could be potential issues.

First of all, let’s go back to the report from a few weeks ago. The Wall Street Journal reported that Tesla’s Model 3 “production bottleneck” was likely due to the fact that the line itself wasn’t fully operational. In fact, the publication suggested that Model 3 was probably still being built by hand.

Model 3

Musk posted a second video to show Model 3 body panels being stamped in real time

Tesla CEO, Elon Musk, posted the above video as proof that the line is up and running, however, it’s running at 1/10th speed. There was no specific explanation as to why this is the case, aside from Musk’s Instagram reply:

“It is slowed down right now to confirm build consistency and so that a person can stop the robots in time if something goes wrong.”

Since then, the issues have redirected towards getting parts and the suppliers themselves. Nonetheless, Automotive News is reporting that the line may need to be this slow since Tesla is dealing with a brand-new welding process. Since the Model 3 uses a different combination of metals and metal strengths than the Model S and X (more steel specifically) it requires more spot welding and less adhesive and rivets.

Experts told Automotive News that this welding process is tricky and may be bogging Tesla down:

“There’s a big difference there. They haven’t been doing a lot of spot welding on the first two vehicles because they’re all aluminum. The learning curve is pretty steep.”

Agile Group automotive manufacturing consultant, Michael Tracy, shared:

“Resistance welding should make a little smoke, but when you see stuff popping out like that, that’s called expulsion. It’s symptomatic of weld spots getting too hot because they’re poorly planned, or in this case, the metal not being pulled all the way together.”

Check out the above video and let us know what you think, especially if you have some experience with welding and can agree or disagree with Tracy’s observation and statement.

It seems that the popping and expulsion and lack of smoke are much the same in both the videos below. Perhaps Kia and Nissan execute poorly plan welding processes as well? Do you see anything different in the videos below?

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75 Comments on "Tesla Model 3 Weld Quality Questioned"

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Anytime a car factory wants to show off welding robots, they crank up the current to make a spark show. The reality of spot welding is rather boring to look at.

Which could be what Tesla did too….

Or. ..

It could be item #3 on the “strong possibilities” list for causes of expulsion.

“Possible Causes
Strong Possibilities

Excessive sealer
Poor electrode follow-up
Poor or varying part fit-up
Weld current high
Weld flange too small”

Which sounds to me like what a lot of the factory tuning would consist of in the initial phases of production.
Which also sounds to me like the normal stuff that would get worked out.

I don’t see this as anything but a questioning of Tesla’s timeline for production , … not a critique on Tesla quality or ultimate production capability.

Or it could be the “automotive consultant” is anti-Tesla and causing misinformation. This article subtly but clearly debunks the issue. The videos clearly show Nissan’s welds let fly just as many sparks. I trust their decades of manufacturing…

If someone has anything negative to say about Tesla everybody says he is a troll. My son has two Teslas a Model X and an S. He has had quite a few problems. He loves the cars but is concerned about the Model 3 viability if they dont work out the problems first. A working stiff like me needs a car and can’t take days off to get his car fixed

Or it could be that there are actually people who are dead set against Tesla and/or EV’s.

They actually exist. Lots of them.

Please see the link I posted below to the Alex Jones infowars site below where this same welding expert has previously made anti-Tesla comments that have nothing to do with welding.

I have been in many car factories and tier one suppliers and you never ever see a fireworks show like that unless you want to see it. It was done deliberately.

Which lucky buyers get the cars used for the “show”, that have less material and/or possible burn-through?

Aren’t there various types of robotic resistance welding, some of which do cause arcing, and others that don’t?

As Tesla stated, “It is important to emphasize that there are no fundamental issues with the Model 3 production or supply chain. We understand what needs to be fixed and we are confident of addressing the manufacturing bottleneck issues in the near-term.”

The comment about no issues with the supply chain is very interesting, since they told Oppenheimer that they had fired 1 supplier. If firing suppliers of critical Model 3 components doesn’t constitute a “fundamental issue” (suppliers that can’t supply parts), I’m not sure what a “fundamental issue” is then.

Well he’s very technical with his words. They prob did fire a supplier and had a backup company in place so they are now getting all the work. So technically they have the fix already. I wonder if any of these companies were paid to screw them because they are a threat…. Elon said if you can make a baby in 9 months a part can be made in 9 months.

“Elon said if you can make a baby in 9 months a part can be made in 9 months.”

Haha, sure, but he wants 400,000 babies, err, parts, not 1.

Brian’s new BOLT ev Premiere is WAY COOL.

Also, bought another wallbox (EVSE) for $289 total. 32 amp rating, (continuous), and, they guy who makes them MEANS it because all the cords are SJOOW (Junior hard service, oil and water resistant, really BEEFY NEMA 14-50P so a cool running receptacle, 50 ampere (!!!!) contactor (120 ampere momentary) and 50 ampere (!!!) J1772 connector. Also all power connections are heavy box lugs.

Tesla by comparison offers an IMPROVED EVSE (charger cord) with a molded 14-50 (no underdesigned attachment pins in this model, but then you can only use it on a range outlet), so it should run cooler at the receptacle, but still has the TYCO 30 amp relay with 40 amps going through it. For $520 plus tax which is relatively low cost as these things go, but can’t compete with $289.

I’ll leave it to you to estimate which device should have the longer working life.

An appropriate Elon quote, since Elon appears to only be interested in the first 15 minutes… of any particular idea.

Almost all automotive manufacturers have multiple suppliers fighting for their business — that is how they keep pricing in check.

One of the big failures of auto companies trying to bring everything in-house decades ago — lack of innovation, urgency and cost controls.

They may have many supplier quoting various parts but once one it picked it very unlikely for them to switch suppliers during that product cycle.

(⌐■_■) Trollnonymous

Not sure where you got that idea.
We used to switch suppliers all the time.
Especially when one suppliers cost went down and the others went up.

I’m sure many companies do the same.

By firing and replacing a supplier with a new supplier, there would no longer be a fundamental supply issue.

Issues that have been fixed are no longer issues. Why would any company drag up old issues they’ve already addressed when making a forward facing statement about where they are going with their product?

He wasn’t doing a retrospective. He was saying where they were at right at that time, and where they were going.

That’s how I interpreted this as well.

So far 3 production looks to be a repeat of X production: underlying problems masked with a propaganda parade of lies, or at least incompetence.

When it comes to manufacturing, I think Tesla suffers from the Dunning–Kruger effect: the tendency for noobs to overestimate their own ability. “How hard could it be?” they ask, and then end up with these “dog at my homework” dynamics after they are blindsided again and again by each new issue.

A fundamental issue is when you have an ignition problem brought to your attention by the supplier, know about, lives taken and you try and lie and hide it then get caught in the lie.

Or when you promise future features to paying customers (EAP, FSD, etc…), then miss the deadlines for delivering them. Fundamental issue of trust there.

(⌐■_■) Trollnonymous

I guess when you “lie and hide it then get caught in the lie” it improves ones ‘Fundamental issue of trust there’???


I’ll take the “promise future features to paying customers (EAP, FSD, etc…), then miss the deadlines for delivering them” over losing my life…..lol

I can’t understand why people expect that the M3 bug fixing process will go without any bugs. Tesla do not have to be perfect to be better than the fossil car cartels…

Cartel in fanboi-ish translates to experience and expertise in English.

WOW! 100+ years of design/manufacture! Then why copy the technology from a start up, Tesla? LOL. Porsche bought the S and X models to “reverse engineering”. ROTFLOL https://www.autoblog.com/2017/10/04/porsche-mission-e-caught-testing-against-teslas-spy-photos/#slide-7112600

Serial anti tesla troll thomas

Better to look at competitor cars and look what is good and what could be made better than trying to bring a new model onto market without testing enough (the car and the assembly lime).

They didn’t buy the Models S X to analyze the suspensions, steering components, etc. They bought them to hack into the brain of the car… it’s the OS. It’s an EV not ICE. The cars secrets are in the OS. Unfortunately for these wannabees ICE manufactures, the OS is 256 bit encrypted level 3. ROTFLOL… good luck porsche/merc/audi/bmw/vw/…. HAHAHAHAHA

… also, hacking the OS in the car is useless since all Tesla cars OS are monitored at headquarter. Have to hack into the super-computer at the headquarter. BAW-HAHAHAHAHAHA. good luck!

The OS is just sending commands to the car but it is battery cooling, motor structure and assembly and power electronics which are the real technology in an ev. 1900 electric cars didn’t even have an OS and a 2017 ev could perfectly be made without one but it is just better to have one just like it is to have suspension, windshield and seat belts.

Every auto manufacturer buys their competitors’ vehicles for testing and teardown so they can see “how it works”, and I would surmise reverse-engineering to see if there are any patent violations. Tesla was probably one of the first purchasers of a Bolt.

Here is a link to a great article on GM’s teardown garage.


They didn’t buy the Models S X to analyze the suspensions, steering components, etc. They bought them to hack into the brain of the car… it’s the OS. It’s an EV not ICE. The cars secrets are in the OS. Unfortunately for these wannabees ICE manufactures, the OS is 256 bit encrypted level 3. ROTFLOL… good luck porsche/merc/audi/bmw/vw/…. HAHAHAHAHA.

… also, hacking the OS in the car is useless since all Tesla cars OS are monitored at headquarter. Have to hack into the super-computer at the headquarter. BAW-HAHAHAHAHAHA. good luck!

Tesla “bought” the GM bolt so they can ROTFLOL

If Tesla engineers really did roll on the floor and laugh when looking under the hood of a BOLT ev, then THAT whole issue would be totally illuminating.

I suspect the tesla powertrain engineers actually have a picture of the BEEFY bolt reduction gears on the wall, causing them to sweat more profusely. And there is not the SLIGHTEST bit of levity in the room.

If I was working for a competitor, I might make the assumed statement known that they looked like they were having weld quality issues. Just cast that shadow of a doubt and see where it leads.

I don’t believe it, because I don’t think there’s a real problem in the in-house operations, beyond fine tuning the machines and weeding out the people who weren’t working up to the standards of the company. That’s exactly what any successful business would do.

If you’re a competitor, you don’t need to say anything at all. Tesla “released” a car in July that is under NDA, they are still in the triple digits of production units 3 months later, and they just “fired” several hundred employees simultaneously “with cause.”

The above factors invite enough speculation on their own without any need for competitor input.

Another Euro point of view

This launch process is probably way too much scrutinized.

I mean we assume that Model 3 will become a game changing EV due to the huge reservation list, OK.

Now, do we know for sure yet when and in which number the $35K version of this car will be delivered to reservation holders ?

In case most of 2018 is about delivering a not so impressive amount of $45K version of this car there will just be too many other EV propositions coming in 2019 to make it game changing. I would say as it is often the case with Tesla, game changing in the US EVs landscape ?

Yes, in the rest of the world ? Doubtfully. There is just news coming out about Chinese lithium battery maker CATL starting a battery factory that will dwarf gigafactory + a plan from Chinese government to install 12’000 fast chargers. For all what concerns game changing EVs it is more appropriate to look at what is taking place in China than at the Model 3 welding IMHO.

Another Euro point of view

…I mean one has to blind today not to read all the news about superchargers networks being deployed (at least in Europe and Asia), lithium cells factories being currently bild not to think that Tesla will come down in history as the car maker that made the EV look desirable. Very important actually. Selling cars in significant numbers ? I highly doubt that will ever happen. Tesla will be pushed up market by Nissan, GM, Hyundai, Kia etc..It is no mystery that production costs control is not all Tesla’s think, on the other hand they have a very valuable brand name. Competing in mass market EVs would just be suicide decision. We talk again about this in 2019…

Looking back to sales numbers for the Model S when it first came out were 12,19,43,86. It wasn’t until month 5 that they hit 300, 7 months to break 1000. For the Model X, 6,4,5 in the first three months and it took 8 months to break 1000.

I know the S was the first and the X had the Falcon doors, but Mr. Musk promises a bit too much and tries to deliver a little quicker than he should. In a rapidly changing market, early is good. But, give it time. All the kinks will get worked out and production will get up to speed.

If they are only doing what they did back at the S launch 5 years ago, have they actually learned anything? This was supposed to be the culmination of all their acquired knowledge that blooms into a mass production car.

They have learned that their mandate is not “quality first,” but rather is “meet these impossible deadlines.” Further, they have learned that this is not to be questioned. Theirs is not to wonder why. Theirs is but to do or die.

I remember when the Model S came out, so many initial problems. A failure. Then the Model X and those doors. Another complete failure according to some at the time. Now, Tesla is spitting out 25,000 a quarter between the two. Yes, they should have learned from the first two launches, but we aren’t talking about GM. They haven’t done this a hundred times. And like someone said, different types of steel, less aluminum, a new ballgame. Patience.

The “s” and “x” are held together with rivets and adhesive.

The “3” is not the same aluminum construction.

Tesla bought Grohmann Engineering, who provides robotic welding machines for them, and for car makers like BMW, VW/Audi, and Mercedes. They are one of the global leaders in robotic welding. They have tons of experience with both steel and aluminum.


There is no evidence to suggest that some guy from Detroit who has never inspected a single weld on a Model 3, and never done any destructive testing to determine yield strength, knows more about getting welds right than Grohmann.

Is it possible that Grohmann’s experts are still fine tuning their robots? Certainly. That’s what ramp up is for. And just like they brought steel welding robots successfully online for BMW, Mercedes, and VW/Audi, they will do it again.

Is it possible that a Detroit based US ICE car centric individual is jumping to hasty conclusions without ever actually looking at a single weld because they have some other motivation? Most certainly.

“Automotive expert with video evidence is successfully rebutted by Internet peanut gallery member using FUD.” Good job, Nix. You sure showed them.

Your very informative comment full of rational discussion of the issue is such a great contribution to the discussion.


Musk forced them to drop their other clients, … causing a problem.

“The management layer below Klaus Grohmann is continuing his work, they told Reuters. But they said parts of the workforce felt insecure about becoming so dependent on one client after the founder’s departure.”


That was resolved a long time ago by Tesla opening a division just to service those old accounts. It is in the insideevs archives.

What does that have to do with the topic at hand?

You brought the Grohmann subject up. You tell me.

I brought up Grohmann’s expertise in robotic welding and their role in actually setting up the machines they provide for welding the Model 3. That is topical to this discussion.

I’ll tell you what your comment has to do with this topic. Nothing. Glad we resolved that question. Please feel free to post something that actually relates to Grohmann’s role in welds on the Model 3.

I don’t think much is “resolved”.

I think one could read a lot into that letter from Elon to the Grohmann employees. (Don’t worry about me shot-canning your big clients — We’re saving the planet here, forget about that union, here’s a little stock, it’ll be worth 10x soon, there’s no way we could ever lay anybody off — we’ve got too much work, .. etc… )

But that would clearly be off topic ….


Zero content on anything to do with the welds. Got it.

Your very informative comment full of rational discussion of the issue is such a great contribution to the discussion.


Well, there you go.

Here’s some more information for you, …but I can tell, you’re not so good with “connect the dots”.



Somehow “The Agile Group Inc” has been made into some industry expert organization that somehow is the authority in robotic welding. In reality, it is a 1 person company who employs only Mr. Tracy and does around $130,000 in business a year. It does business out of a PO BOX, with the physical address mapping to an apartment complex. http://www.buzzfile.com/business/The-Agile-Group-Inc-517-548-1672 This is a guy working out of his apartment, who has suddenly become the hero of zerohedge and seeking alpha and other similar sites. Notably, NONE of the sites reporting this have gotten a second confirmation from any other source. Yet he suddenly is being treated like he knows more about welds that he has never inspected, than Grohmann’s experts and leaders in the automotive robotic welding industry know about those same welds. So let’s dig a little deeper into this individual to see if they have shown anti-Tesla bias in the past. The first item I found was on a far right conspiracy site run by Alex Jones where this same individual is going after Tesla. https://www.infowars.com/heres-the-real-reason-tesla-makes-no-money/ So on one side we’ve got an individual working out of his apartment with past anti-Tesla bias who has never inspected a… Read more »

Good digging!

Holy heck, if that consultant dude has been on Infowars then that is the ONLY THING that needs to be said here. Total bats*** crazy does not equal a reliable source.

Nix, I want to have your babies….

Great job.

(and thanks to InsideEvs for posting my video finds in a full article – was worried they’d get buried in the comments)

Well 4E, you certainly described yourself very well by writing “… Internet peanut gallery member using FUD.” since that is all you do here.

BTW, I made these points yesterday (including posting a link to the Kia welding video) in a post that was deleted in the moderated thread.

I also re-posted my expose of the WSJ/”honest” Ed Neidermeyer hit job on Tesla.

The fact of the matter is that Tesla as a threat to so many politically and economically powerful and established corporations/industries.

This means that that there is well-funded FUD campaign and attacks by these threatened companies that capitalize on the many anti-progress elements out in society and on the internet.

This is demonstrated by the continuing trail of new usernames that just pop up and repeat/copy and paste the many variations on this FUD.

I would like to point out that out new username “Ca.li” appears from his persistent negative criticism of all things Tesla to be one of those “people” that is here to only FUD.

Its almost like it is the same small group of “people” reinventing themselves through new usernames to spread their FUD.

IEVs staff, it is posts like this that should be nuked (and/or the people making these posts). It adds *0* value to the current discussion, and all it does is show the paranoia of these Tesla fanatics. Really drags this place down.

Hey Bro, As you know, we have a pretty long rope, and don’t moderate for shades of gray…or when a couple ‘known’ posters with thick skins start to paper-cut each other, or post in such a way when a known response/battle wll ensue. (It is just a Herculean effort that is required – although we did just do a test run of such a thread recently and it fared ok, we may repeat the experiment a few more times) — But to be fair, I think if we were moderating for the greater good, or to stop people from “drag(ing) the place down”, or to stay focused on the “current discussion”, you might also be in danger of being swept up with that brush, (= To be clear, I’m not saying it is wrong what you or anyone is doing or hoe you comment (it isn’t opposed to our ToS in anyway), but as an example, it is a rare Tesla thread where you yourself don’t interject the exact opposite of what a “Tesla fanatic” is (many times in each of those threads) and often derail the subject at hand. So, if we ‘right’/heavily moderate one extreme, then we also… Read more »

I’m not talking about the “GM sucks/Elon’s a lying sack of crap/You drive a clown-mobile Bolt/How’s your non-existent Model 3” burns that get tossed around, but the “Oh look, there’s some new guy posting anti-*insert manufacturer* FUD, must be some regeular’s fake account they’re hiding behind!!” posts I’m talking about. AFAIK, I’ve never wildly accused anyone of using fake accounts like Get Real and other TSLA zealots commonly do.

I hear what you are saying, truthfully I do…and as to your point, we actively manage users/accounts to make sure there isn’t repeat IDs set up -or- a sudden new ID that bombs 50 comments on one topic over 48 hours, and that sort of thing. But that is ‘your thing’, that you don’t like about some discussions and would like specifically filtered. Likewise others would have ‘their’ thing that they would like specifically filtered and feel justified in asserting…such as an often repeated comment/link/train of thought that is continually brought forward into new threads, even when that sentiment isn’t necessary the topic at hand, but often derails it. In the end, its really a ‘we can do all’, or ‘we can do nothing’ scenario. We can’t go ‘shades of gray’ here…well we could, but we won’t. If it comes down to the staff and myself having moderate ~20 hours a day (and we subsequently lose all that time we should be working on EV stories – it already takes way too much time) and just turning the comments off entirely…we’d opt to turn them off. Not that we would ever do that…more realistically, if it came down to a… Read more »

I think he has a point. The guy seems to enjoy playing a pointer guy for you while really showing his true colors … LOL

Definitely not saying he doesn’t, but the resolution as proposed just isn’t doable.

Right now we ban/moderate for: slander of the site (to any degree), significant slander of innocent parties, and continuous/repeated spam of a particular point to the exclusion of all other points of view and/or at the cost of the greater welfare of the community.

Basically as it stands now, you really got to step over a line, in a real obvious and repeated way, to get reeled in. We don’t have the resources to set up an artificial balance and police those various shades of gray (well we do, but we wouldn’t get anything else done).

This story has been making the rounds. But it is based on speculation and a video. Keep that in mind.

Just as a point of comparison – NISSAN just yesterday STOPPED its Japanese assembly since they could not internally guarantee competent Final Inspections.

This situation is Jaw-Droppingly Worse. The slowed production line (to expert eyes) is INTENTIONALLY turning out defective vehicles which CANNOT be fixed by the Service Center afterwards.

Nissan is the example to follow here: when there was even a QUESTION as to quality control, they STOPPED the line. Slowing a line with defective welds is orders of magnitude worse – for the unlucky JOE who ends up purchasing the car with his own hard-earned money.

It hasn’t even been established that there is even a welding problem at all, and you are already fabricating falsehoods that Tesla is “INTENTIONALLY” shipping cars with defective welds.

Source? Anything at all to back up your claim?

Any second source to back up the claims of this one individual who is already on the record of making prior anti-Tesla statements that have nothing to do with welding?

Go ahead, tell us how you once owned a Tesla a long time ago, so therefore your comments should therefore be accepted as factual without any need of evidence or sources, and then spray a bunch of insults. Then wonder why you get a bunch of insults in return.

Based on Bill’s long established record, his source is probably InfoWars or Breitbart or Daily Stormer.

Musk makes mistakes like anything else, but if the only bottleneck or one of the bottlenecks are those actual welds, why in the world would he post a video “exposing” this?

Because he was trying to “spark” investor/placeholder confidence in Model 3 production?

Then why not show another video of another part of the production line that doesn’t “expose” your flaw?

The weld thing is a red herring; there is no weld problem.

A welding problem wouldn’t limit production to 3 cars a day.

As I’ve stated before, I’m sure there are hand modifications being performed that will be rectified with revised designs and new tooling, but that it will take a couple months.

Still, I don’t know why these issues weren’t discovered on the pre-build cars.

Because the “pre-build” cars were the first cars “delivered” to “customers”! Fancy smancy computer simulations can’t detect welding problems. 😉

The way to think of it is, “are humans doing the jobs robots are supposed to be doing?”