Tesla’s Former Supply Chain Boss Discusses Model S, Model 3

Tesla Model 3


"Original" Tesla Model S

“Original” Tesla Model S

Model 3 makes an appearance at recent Tesla "Solar Roof" event

Model 3 makes an appearance at recent Tesla “Solar Roof” event

In an exclusive interview with Lindsay Chappell of Automotive News at theĀ annual KPMG Automotive Executive Forum, Peter Carlsson, former head of procurement and supply chain for Tesla Motors, stated that Tesla had it tough in its early years, but going forward the outlook on the supply side is much more positive.

Automotive News posted a brief Q & A with Carlsson, where he spoke of the Tesla Model S for a bit, before moving on to discuss the Model 3.

Carlsson joined Tesla in 2011, prior to the launch of the Model S and left in 2015. He was responsible for securing the supply side for both the S and the X.

Here’s a portion of the Q & A from Automotive News:

Q: What was the biggest challenge of creating Tesla’s supply chain?

A: In those first years, we didn’t have the relationships nor the history of volumes with a large number of suppliers. We couldn’t always get the capacity commitments we needed. We had to earn their trust that we were going to do what we said we would.

Carlsson was asked about recruiting suppliers to the Fremont area of California, where Tesla was basically the only auto customer. He responded by saying that California was an excellent choice from the engineering standpoint, but on the supply side it made logistics difficult and added cost and complexity to the process.

Carlsson was then asked about the Model 3, which he had no part in lining up supply for.

Q: You’ve left as Tesla prepares to launch the higher-volume Model 3. But what is the supply chain’s outlook?

A: Things will get a bit easier. Tesla has resolved some issues through vertical integration — doing things internally. And with the launch of the Model 3, the volumes of the business will be more attractive, and I think we will see more suppliers relocate.

Source: Automotive News

Categories: Tesla


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7 Comments on "Tesla’s Former Supply Chain Boss Discusses Model S, Model 3"

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Wonder why he left. It seems like any number of people burn out there. Hope things can settle down at some point so Tesla can retain top talent.

Looks like his plate is pretty full.


“Peter is currently on the advisory board for Elementum, co-owner of Swedish company ModCam, on the board and investor for Orbital Systems, and part of other Swedish start-ups including Turn Pike and Clean Motion. Outside of Sweden he works with Silicon Valley start-up Iperal, and London-based Oden Technologies.”

Tesla brought in VW’s guy, who was production for Audi’s A4. Timing seems similar, anyway.

I can see some places where simplifying helps meet production targets, but just hope it doesn’t go too far. The 3 could give up the weight benefits of 2170 batteries, for a switch to extensive steel construction. Will they keep an independent aluminum double-wishbone suspension, and Bilstein suspenders? Bye bye ball joints, hello squishy rubber? I hope Tesla doesn’t miss-read how many people enjoy driving its cars, over its head long pursuit of automation.

Maybe saying “bye” to the ball joints is a good thing. Remember all the issues w/those?

I only heard of one person with a major issue?

Tesla has made major changes in the Supply Chain since the Model S launch 5 years ago. For example: 1) Tesla has moved heavily into vertical integration, owning more of their own production of parts. Gigafactory is the big one, but everything from their own glass division, to buying a robotics firm to that builds the factory robots, to even working on buying their own Lithium mine. Tesla has fewer 3rd parties in their supply chain. 2) Elon Musk is now taking teams directly to factories and talking to factory workers to determine if a supplier can meet their future production expectations, instead of simply accepting management promises from some sales manager that has never seen the factory floor. 3) Tesla is convincing suppliers to build factories right in California near the Fremont plant. Not only bringing up the US content, but also shortening the Supply Chain. Hiring new supply chain and production managers with experience launching large volume production will also help. I’m sure we will get the typical posts about how Tesla’s very first all-Tesla built vehicle had delays, so therefor a new company can’t ever improve. That’s a silly argument. Gigafactory battery production started on time in… Read more »