Tesla Model 3 Expected To Become “Most American-Made” Car Of 2017


Tesla Model 3

The Tesla Model 3 May Steal The “Most-American made” Title From Its Larger Sibling

While the Tesla Model S is known as the “Most-American made” EV, the upcoming Tesla Model 3 may steal the title.

The Tesla Model S is known as the "Most-American made" EV

The Tesla Model S is known as the “Most-American made” EV

The Tesla Model S has an opportunity to be the most American car overall (12th overall in 2016), with the growth of battery production at the Tesla Gigafactory. Likewise, by the time the Model 3 comes along, and the production of the new 2170 cells increases, there won’t be much to the Model 3 that isn’t made in the States.

When Tesla’s vehicles are powered fully by batteries made in the U.S., they will rise up on the list, especially since batteries are a primary component of the makeup of an EV. There are many less parts than traditional ICE vehicles, and the batteries make up a substantial amount of the vehicles’ weight and cost.

The Model S sits around 75 percent American-made, because some parts are still sourced overseas. This trumps the Jeep Grand Cherokee, Ram trucks, and the Chevrolet Silverado; all of which are considered “primarily” U.S. made. The three GM midsize SUV cousins; the Chevrolet Traverse, GMC Acadia, and Buick Enclave, are about 90 percent American, based on the scale developed and calculated by the Kogod School of Business at American University in Washington, D.C. It factors R & D, parts, and labor.

Production Of 2170 Battery Cells At Gigafactory - Will Be Used In The Upcoming Tesla Model 3

Production Of 2170 Battery Cells At Gigafactory – Will Be Used In The Upcoming Tesla Model 3

Based on Kogod’s scale, the Tesla Model 3 should be about 95% American-made. While not quite as high, this may also hold true for the Model S. Even the Model X, despite more outsourcing, will score fairly well as the Gigafactory ramps up production.

Currently, Tesla still relies on Panasonic battery cells from Japan. CEO Elon Musk has spoken about Panasonic expanding operations in the U.S. and in the future, and not having to rely on its overseas locations for batteries. He also stated that materials used to make the batteries will come from America.

All of this should also help Tesla gain the support of president-elect Donald Trump, who continues to criticize American car companies for outsourcing overseas.

Sources: Electrek, CheatSheet

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21 Comments on "Tesla Model 3 Expected To Become “Most American-Made” Car Of 2017"

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Ugh. Trump had absolutely nothing to do with this. Won’t stop him from taking credit though.

Trump taking credit for it is a low price to pay for Trump using Tesla as the defacto example of “Made in America”. You can’t buy marketing like this. High profile republican personalities touting positive EV traits is desperately needed.

Yes, because people are sheep.


Yeah, I posted that on my page before the election. Lost a couple “friends” because they didn’t like be called sheep.

I’m with Rich on this. If Trump taking credit for Tesla Motors’ achievements will help create a political atmosphere that makes it more difficult for the various State Automobile Dealers Associations to block direct Tesla sales in their State, then I’m all for Trump taking credit! 🙂

Refusing to go along with something, or worse, refusing to support something you know is good, merely because you don’t want “the other side” to get credit for it, is the most stupid form of obstructionism there is, and it’s what is unfortunately creating much if not most of the logjam in Congress these days.

Rich does have a point. If he talks about it like it’s a good thing, it makes EVs a bi-partisan issue. Looking at the EV enthusiasts, they are definitely not all prius driving, democrat voting tree-huggers. It’s a really good sign for the EV community.

Expressing your support for something based on your principles is completely different than letting your enemy steal credit for what you have tried to accomplish. He will use that credit to get away with other things that are bad, and you have to determine whether it’s worth that. A demagogue who systematically steals credit for everything good and frames his enemies for everything bad is following the blueprint for totalitarianism, because that aspiration requires the elimination of facts. Once you’ve helped your enemy put an end to facts, why do you think any of your other facts will matter to the public – or that the public matters to the rulers?

Doesn’t the premise of this story contradict the one released the previous hour, about system integrators in China and Thailand?

It seems hard for both premises to me true. Not that I am an international logistics expert or anything. 🙂

Good question.
“the Tesla Model 3 should be about 95% American-made.”
Maybe the Thailand and China systems integration is the other 5%?

In the case of Tesla you only need the gossip and hint that it might become so even if it’s not true.
Now the gossip of Most US made (most american made would include such things as manufactured in Mexico or lithium from Bolivia or other parts of america).

It will have a lot of parts and materials from the US, but “a lot from the US” doesn’t make as much noise as “most US made”.

I’m not sure how this is measured, but defining how the measurement is done is supremely important. Are they measuring how many kg of the finished vehicles was sourced in the USA? Are they just counting ‘parts’? Does each individual 2170 cell count as a separate ‘part’? Are they saying it is made mostly in the USA because more hours of labor (per vehicle) are done here? Or because more money is spent on labor here? Is is ‘Most American’ because it contains 341% more bald eagles?

I would like to know how this is measured.



The 2016 Kogod Made in America Auto Index was assembled by Associate Professor Frank DuBois, an expert in global supply chain management, at American University’s Kogod School of Business. Among other sources, the data was compiled from publicly-disclosed American Automobile Labeling Act (AALA) reports as of June 2016, and accounts for the following factors:
Profit Margin: Where the automaker’s global headquarters is located
Labor: Where the car is assembled
Research and Development
Inventory, Capital, and Other Expenses: Location of assembly
Engine and Transmission: Location of production
Body, Interior, Chassis, Electrical, and Other: Location of production
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration AALA “Domestic Content” Score
Note that some highly similar vehicle models that varied on the basis of trim lines or engine and transmission options were aggregated together for ease of comparison.

Where the headquarters is? So a part can be arrive from anywhere in the world and its % counts differ based on the seller brand, not where the part was actually made.

Thus percentage of made in the US is a Fictitious Calculation, a political beauty contest.

They didn’t say it doesn’t count. The way I read it, they are saying that buying components from a foreign-owned domestic supplier (that’s sending all of it’s profits back home) is not going to score as well as buying from a US-owned supplier.

A “Systems integrator” is not the same as a systems manufacturer. Integrators typically don’t manufacture as much as they provide a service. Tesla could be using an SI for their ERP system. Neither of these would contribute to the BOM (which is a big factor for Kogod) but the SI would be privy to tesla’s manufacturing schedules.

Should be rewarded with lowered tax immediately to help keeping the price down

The window sticker on my 2015 Model S 70D says it has 50% domestic content, not 75%. I doubt the Model 3 will have a larger domestic content than an F150. The F150 does not have a ton of electronics like a M3 would.

Are any discrete components made in America anymore?

I’m a hobbyist, I’ve gone through my resisters, capacitors, LED’s, transisters, IC’s, etc, and I can’t seem to find any that were made in America.

It looks like the best some could say would be “Assembled in America, from foreign components”

Yes, but the parts you’re talking about are also getting absurdly cheap. That’s why computers get cheaper and more powerful. Stamping the heavy parts of a car isn’t getting cheap. The batteries are the turning point in the calculation because they are still a large % of total cost.