By on February 9, 2018

tesla model 3

Tesla claims it’s closing in on its goal to produce 2,500 Model 3 sedans a week, even though the original deadline for that target is a few months past. However, a problem remains. Despite having all the tooling needed to hit its mark, some of the essential components are still in Germany when they should be in the United States.

While the automaker still claims it can reach 2,500 unit per week by the end of March, the new automated system for module production needs to be shipped from Grohmann Automation in Dausfeld, Germany, to the company’s Gigafactory, located outside Reno, Nevada. That’s a long distance to ship a lot of hardware in roughly a month’s time, leaving many wondering if Tesla is about to break another promise to investors. 

On Wednesday, CEO Elon Musk explained the tooling situation during a conference call with analysts. “That’s got to be disassembled, brought over to the Gigafactory, and re-assembled and then brought into operation at the Gigafactory. It’s not a question of whether it works or not. It’s just a question of disassembly, transport and reassembly,” he said.

According to Automotive News, Cowen & Co. analyst Jeffrey Osborne said the ambitious relocation of so much hardware makes Tesla’s first-quarter output goals “extremely aggressive.”  Meanwhile, George Galliers, an analyst with Evercore ISI, is concerned if the timing required to pull it off is even possible. “Should Tesla miss its 2.5k unit weekly production target, for the end of Q1, investors will be left disappointed and concerns will increase,” he said in a note to clients.

Musk doesn’t want anyone to worry, however. “If we can send a Roadster to the asteroid belt, we can probably solve Model 3 production,” he said during the conference call.

That’s a good point. If SpaceX can put a car into orbit and land rockets with pinpoint accuracy, why the hell can’t Tesla adhere to a production schedule it promised was possible while investors were raining money down on the company?

[Image: Tesla Motors]

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39 Comments on “Tesla Still Has Tooling For the Model 3 Waiting for Pickup a Continent Away...”


  • avatar
    civicjohn

    There’s a reason why SpaceX is private and Tesla is public.

  • avatar
    Sub-600

    Maybe Harcourt Fenton Musk can have SpaceX put the equipment on a rocket and fly it to Reno.

    • 0 avatar
      brandloyalty

      Ooh, I watch movies so I’m so smart and Musk is an idiot con man.

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus

        Ooh I run around looking to get offended by true statements about the bestest man in the whole wide world and beyond.

      • 0 avatar
        Lorenzo

        Con men aren’t idiots. They play expertly on the gullibility of human nature. You also don’t have to be more than of average intelligence to see a pattern of claims that haven’t been met.

        Musk is very much like Nicola Tesla, who pronounced on the possibilities of technology that wasn’t quite developed yet. Tesla also didn’t have the organizational ability to develop the manufacturing component.

        Several companies signed contracts with Tesla that were later rescinded, because they though he had the expertise to work out the kinks in the technology, and the ability to translate the tech into profitable manufacturing capacity.

        They found out that visionaries need a competent team of engineers to translate the visions into real products. Tesla had one in George Westinghouse and his company. Musk may still not even realize he needs to hire and empower an engineering team that can produce reliable timetables.

  • avatar
    JMII

    I over heard a non-car person yesterday talk about how they were canceling their Model 3 reservation when the news broke that Telsa is bleeding money and still way behind on production. How far from the tipping point are they? Can they weather this storm or will the ship go down? I think they will be OK but confidence is fading.

    Regardless… Elon and his team did something incredible putting that Telsa into space. The Falcon Heavy launch/recovery was jaw dropping. A few years ago what SpaceX was talking about seemed impossible, then all of sudden we were living in the future were rockets just come back to the pad to be reused.

    • 0 avatar

      This week alot of forums and Reddit Tesla posts seem to be a bit annoyed by the delays. Apparently a bunch of reservation holders got their deliveries pushed back this week some until 2019.

      • 0 avatar
        indi500fan

        I was killing time at the local mall while my wife was shopping and stopped by the Tesla boutique. Ask when they’d get a Model 3 floor sample and they said “maybe sometime in summer”.

  • avatar
    Middle-Aged Miata Man

    “If we can send a Roadster to the asteroid belt, we can probably solve Model 3 production.”

    Well, except they didn’t, as closer inspection by professional astronomers shows the orbit won’t take the Roadster out quite that far. It will actually be much closer to Mars orbit than initially believed.

    That’s still damn impressive (while reaching Mars orbit – not the planet itself – was the original goal, SpaceX clearly noted its primary test objective was to relight the upper stage M-VAC after 5+ hours of exposure to Van Allen Belt radiation, and if that succeeded to burn it until ran out of propellant) but it serves as yet another example of Elon speaking out of turn about his companies’ achievements.

    I wish he’d stop doing that.

    • 0 avatar
      civicjohn

      You pointed out well the realities of the launch. I was to understand that the Mars orbit would be elliptical, maybe they didn’t have the juice to get to the preferred orbit, but I’m certainly no rocket scientist.

      I too thought the launch and retrieval of at last 2 of the boosters was freaking awesome. The final rocket burn was lightly covered by the media.

      …But, it didn’t fix anything regarding Model 3 ramp up.

      • 0 avatar
        brandloyalty

        My impression was the original intention was for the car to be in an elliptical solar orbit that occasionally came near Mars. Then it was a announced that the orbit was still solar but near the astroid belt. The latest I’ve read is they’ve gone back to the solar/Mars orbit but they’re not sure. Good thing traffic is light for their experiment with autonomous driving.

        • 0 avatar
          Middle-Aged Miata Man

          Both of us are technically correct (the best kind of correct!) but you stated it more clearly than I did.

          The Roadster is in an elliptical orbit around the sun (called a heliocentric orbit) that will cross the orbital plane of Mars. Initial estimates by SpaceX put this orbit’s farthest point from the sun, the apohelion, within the asteroid belt near the orbit of Ceres. The revised estimates place this point much closer to Mars’ orbit; I believe the math is still being done on whether or not the Roadster will ever come particularly close to the actual planet.

  • avatar
    Master Baiter

    People waiting for a base Model 3 are in for a rude awakening. Tesla has no motivation to produce base Model 3s until demand for loaded and dual-motor versions has been fully satisfied. You might get your base model 3 in 2020.
    .
    .

    • 0 avatar
      vvk

      Bet other companies would love to have that problem. The demand is so high that Tesla can sell nothing but high-spec, high-margin versions until 2020.

      • 0 avatar
        Master Baiter

        “Bet other companies would love to have that problem.”

        I wasn’t implying it was a problem for Tesla. I’m saying it’s a problem for those waiting for a base Model 3.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        vvk,
        Other companies would have “that” problem if they produce a fraction of what was promised.

      • 0 avatar
        Ermel

        Mercedes has had that problem with the G class — production volume at Steyr or whatever it’s called these days is limited, so they made nothing but high-end, huge-motor soccer mom G wagens (and utilitarian military ones of course), although they could have easily sold something in between to people who actually need capable off-roaders. When they made a limited production run of G 290 CDIs a couple of years ago in celebration of something or other, they were sold out within days.

        Don’t know if that’s going to change with the new model; I’d wager not.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      Thought you left this terrible, terrible site?

  • avatar
    det55

    LOL @ “We can put a Roadster in the asteroid belt”
    Did you already forget that’s not where you were trying to put it?

    On a more serious note, he still seems to be coming to terms with the fact that maybe mass producing vehicles with thousands of parts is actually more difficult than actual rocket science. Ignoring reality is how he accomplishes things, but it’s also why he’s a tough CEO to trust.

    Not to take away from the SpaceX accomplishments, they’re impressive, but if he’s going to compare the two then it’s fair game.

  • avatar
    kamiller42

    Investors do no care. It’s Tesla.

  • avatar
    krhodes1

    And Elon proves once more that rocket science is easier than profitably making cars.

  • avatar
    jpolicke

    I don’t let my experience with GEICO affect my expectation for Heinz ketchup even though they have the same corporate parent. SpaceX seems to be run with a “whatever it takes” philosophy, whereas Tesla cuts staff to the bone and skimps on safety and build quality. Perhaps the difference lies in the different customer bases each company serves. SpaceX’s customers aren’t much interested in virtue signaling or status symbols. People on the wait list could buy a Bolt today if they didn’t need to be seen in a Tesla.

    • 0 avatar
      jkross22

      “People on the wait list could buy a Bolt today if they didn’t need to be seen in a Tesla.”

      This is similar to why Trump is popular amongst those who choose willful blindness over reality. The brand (Tesla and Trump) is the most important thing to them. Bolt availability would do virtue signaling or just get the owner the green cred if that’s all they really wanted, but it’s not. They want the brand.

      Have you seen how large the Polo logo has gotten? Same thing.

  • avatar
    jacob_coulter

    It will be interesting to see what becomes of Elon Musk’s empire when Tesla goes bankrupt.

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      Musk owns only about 12% of Tesla, 20% of SolarCity the battery maker, taken over by Tesla, and 53% of SpaceX. Or rather, his family trust owns those percentages, along with other investments.

      The Tesla investment is worth $6 billion, Tesla bought SolarCity for $2.6 billion, with the trust getting about $500 million, and Bloomberg values private SpaceX at $21.5 billion, with the value expected to rise to $50 billion.

      I’d say Musk will still be “comfortable” even if Tesla/SolarCity go under.

  • avatar
    Shortest Circuit

    Guy’s got a definite Preston Tucker vibe about him.

  • avatar
    indi500fan

    One rocket is a science project.
    Half a million quality cars a year is the Toyota Production System.
    Much different skill sets.

    I doubt the cool kids of NorCal want much to do with the daily grind of a production line.

  • avatar
    jkross22

    These delays were as predictable as the sunrise. Anyone who put their deposit on this car should have expected this to happen.

    Weren’t we here predicting availability in 2019-2020?

    To Tesla’s credit, they’ve at least released the beta versions of the Model 3, so the initial guinea pigs/customers could work out the bugs Tesla didn’t have time to work out.

  • avatar
    CKNSLS Sierra SLT

    Well Elon-it’s not easy building cars…..is it????

  • avatar
    HotPotato

    “People on the wait list could buy a Bolt today if they didn’t need to be seen in a Tesla.”

    True, and I admit to being a little judgy about people who insist on waiting through any delay to have a Model 3 when they could take home a perfectly serviceable Bolt today. I mean, how green are you really if you’re fine with spewing tailpipe emissions for another one, two, three years?

    But at the same time, I get it—for most of us, around 40 grand is a lot to drop on a car—and it’s a lot easier to justify if in return you get a Supercharger network that makes road trips practical, and truly sporting acceleration and handling, and a sexy shape that looks expensive and makes you feel special. Forty grand on your lifetime’s dream car (which is what a Tesla is for a lot of people) is a lot easier to swallow than forty grand on, essentially, a Honda Fit with a Chevy badge and a big-ass battery.

    I don’t say this to bash the Bolt—I am a huge Bolt fan. It’s an incredible engineering achievement and I was one of the first on the order list. But as insufferable as Tesla fanboys can be, they’re not wrong that where EVs are concerned, Tesla makes a better mousetrap than anyone else…and buyers aren’t wrong to behave accordingly.

    That said, if GM would get off their ass and deliver the Voltec CUV they keep promising, I’d be first in line—PHEVs are the one market segment that GM indisputably does better than anyone else, and it’s insane that they limit that product line to ONE CAR.

  • avatar
    Oberkanone

    Just fly the tooling over on Elon’s electric 747. Inflight charging with Aircharger.

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