By on April 11, 2019

Tesla Model 3, Image: Tesla

Tesla’s lackluster first-quarter deliveries report did more than spook analysts and investors — it also provided the rationale for Panasonic to reevaluate its relationship with the automaker. Japan’s Nikkei Asian Review reports that the battery maker, which partnered with Tesla on the automaker’s Nevada Gigafactory 1, has grown cold feet.

The publication reports the two companies have frozen spending on the Nevada plant, culling plans for an expansion of battery production. Not only that, Panasonic has decided not to invest in Tesla’s Shanghai vehicle/battery production facility. (Read More…)

By on March 13, 2019

A recent report from Bloomberg frames Tesla CEO Elon Musk as quite the jerk in relation to his actions toward a former employee. This worker is the whistleblower who, last year, shared internal documents that suggested the company’s Nevada Gigafactory was blowing through raw materials at an alarming rate. Martin Tripp offered up information showing Tesla wasted $150 million in materials and accused the automaker of pursuing unsafe production procedures during its push to increase Model 3 volume.

Tripp, who tried briefly to maintain his anonymity, said he was concerned that Tesla was shipping cars that were potentially dangerous to consumers. However, Tesla quickly responded by suggesting the claims against it were ridiculous and the amount of waste cited in the report was an overstatement.

“As is expected with any new manufacturing process, we had high scrap rates earlier in the Model 3 ramp. This is something we planned for and is a normal part of a production ramp,” Tesla told Business Insider in 2018.

Following an intense Twitter rant from Elon Musk, the story died down. But the corporate task force charged with finding out who leaked the information would eventually lead to even more ridiculous claims.    (Read More…)

By on November 2, 2018

tesla model 3

Due to China’s increased tariffs on U.S.-manufactured vehicles, Tesla’s sales have taken a moderate beating there. Like any automaker hoping to move metal within the region, it wants a solution and seems to have come up with one. While there appears to be little hope of the brand’s larger vehicles circumventing the nation’s 40 percent import duty, there’s still hope for the Model 3.

The plan is a familiar one. (Read More…)

By on September 27, 2018

Tesla Model 3, Image: Tesla

When Tesla Motors began production of its Model 3 sedan, CEO Elon Musk announced the firm was entering into a kind of “production hell.” He probably didn’t realize just how accurate a statement that would turn out to be. Already contending with a backlog of orders for the Model 3, Tesla simply couldn’t meet the volume targets it set for itself over the last year. It’s now bending over backwards to finish the quarter strong and prove to investors it is capable of turning a profit.

The automaker frequently referenced production bottlenecks as the culprit for the Model 3’s delay. Panasonic, the sole battery supplier for the vehicle, appears to be taking ownership of the issue. “The bottleneck for Model 3 production has been our batteries,” Yoshio Ito, Executive Vice President of Panasonic, said on Tuesday. “They just want us to make as many as possible.”  (Read More…)

By on June 21, 2018

Tesla CEO Elon Musk appears to be on the hunt for potential saboteurs and thieves. However, as the company doubles down on Model 3 assembly both inside its Fremont, California plant and the tent erected outside, a murky sideshow has emerged.

On Sunday night, Musk emailed employees to alert them to the actions of a saboteur caught hacking the automaker’s manufacturing operating system (MOS), cautioning them to be on the lookout for other nefarious deeds. The automaker then filed a lawsuit against process technician Martin Tripp, who Tesla alleges stole several gigabytes worth of data from the MOS and funnelled the info, which included photos, to shadowy third parties. Incorrect statements were also made to the media by the disgruntled employee, Tesla claims, and it’s now seeking its pound of flesh (as well as its data, plus punitive damages) via the suit.

Tripp’s now telling his side of the story. Oh, and there’s a workplace shooting threat to toss into the mix, too. (Read More…)

By on March 12, 2018

tesla-model-3

Tesla temporarily stopped production of the Model 3. Considering everyone keeps wondering when the company will finally reach its first-quarter production target of 2,500 units per week, that’s big news. The Tesla faithful will, no doubt, consider the decision another incredibly shrewd move from the geniuses working within the company, while the opposition will claim it’s further proof that the firm isn’t capable of building cars at the scale it has promised.

Sticking with the facts, we knew Tesla had Gigafactory tooling waiting to be shipped from Germany at the start of February. However, the temporary shutdown occurred between February 20th and the 24th — a bit too early for the equipment to have made it stateside. The suspended production also took place at the main factory in Fremont, California, and not the Nevada-based Gigafactory. Model 3 vehicle registrations also dropped significantly in the days following the shutdown.  (Read More…)

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.  (Read More…)

By on January 27, 2018

Tesla’s Model 3, described by many as a make-or-break product for the EV startup, has had a very slow launch, with production falling far short of the numbers Tesla had predicted.

CNBC is now reporting that, according to current and former Tesla employees, one of the factors in the launch delay is the failure of Tesla’s battery “Gigafactory” in aptly named Sparks, Nevada to come up to speed. Ironically, the highly automated factory apparently needs so much human hand work that Tesla has had to “borrow” dozens of employees from its partner in the facility, Panasonic. (Read More…)

By on November 13, 2017

tesla-semi-teaser

Unbothered by the constraints of space and time, Elon Musk took to Twitter yesterday, breathlessly announcing a press conference for Thursday. Is the call’s topic set to address Model 3 production troubles? Or, perhaps, provide some insight into the supply chain woes at the Gigafactory? No, dear reader, nothing so mundane.

It’s to announce the Tesla semi truck, which is surely the most urgent topic and best use of resources at Tesla these days.

(Read More…)

By on November 2, 2017

Tesla Model 3, Image: Tesla

It’s now Tesla that’s been disrupted.

For all of the Silicon Valley speak about “disrupting” the automotive industry, and despite some very interesting successes in doing just that, Tesla is still struggling to actually get cars to market.

That’s understandable to an extent – the company is small, with limited experience. But CEO Elon Musk has talked a big game, and thus far not delivered on his promises.

Wall Street, predictably, has noticed.

(Read More…)

By on July 10, 2017

electrify-america-ev-charging-station, Electrify America

Practically every major manufacturer is touting electric cars as the future of automobiles. There’s good reason to believe them.

With few exceptions, automakers are aggressively pushing toward battery driven vehicles to meet ever more stringent regulatory demands. Several brands plan on fleet-wide electrification within a few years and a handful already snub internal combustion engines entirely. But there may be a massive problem on the horizon ready to handicap the greener future many of us were prepared to embrace.

Volkswagen, a company that has been promoting its own electric revolution in the wake of its diesel emission fiasco, is anticipating a serious lithium-ion battery shortage by 2025. Based on targets of achieving 25 percent of Volkswagen’s total volume from electric vehicles in 10 years, Ulrich Eichhorn, VW’s head of research and development, dramatically increased projections made 13 months ago.

Previous estimates from the company had the number set at 150 gigawatt-hours of electricity.

“We will need more than 200 gigawatt-hours,” Eichhorn stated on June 30th during a presentation at Volkswagen’s proving grounds north of Wolfsburg.

(Read More…)

By on June 1, 2016

Boston Dynamics Robots, Image Source: Boston Dynamics YouTube Video

Toyota isn’t looking to buy just Google’s legged-robot R&D firm Boston Dynamics. The automaker also has its eye on another company under the Alphabet X nee Google X umbrella.

That, Volkswagen wants its own “Gigafactory”, and ACEA releases its 2016-2017 Automobile Industry Pocket Guide for your to nerd out on … after the break.

(Read More…)

By on June 1, 2016

Tesla Supercharger With Model S At Tesla Dealership

Tesla founder and CEO Elon Musk plans to turn off the free electricity taps at his company’s Supercharger stations for owners of the upcoming Model 3.

Musk made the announcement last night during a question and answer session at the company’s annual shareholders meeting.

Paying to use the Tesla-financed recharging network isn’t something the roughly 373,000 reservation holders want, but the decision comes down to basic economics, said Musk. (Read More…)

By on May 31, 2016

gigafactory-aerial-1

If you’re a Tesla owner who spent the past year diligently convincing your friends and family to join the club, clear your schedule for July 29.

The electric automaker recently mailed out invites to a grand opening party for its battery-producing Gigafactory, located (like a Bond villain’s lair) in the desert outside Reno, Nevada. The chances of guests being wowed by a fully operational factory humming with workers busily cranking out EV batteries is doubtful, though. (Read More…)

By on May 20, 2016

Tesla HQ

Everyone and their 90-year-old great aunt knows that Tesla is putting all of its might into reaching a volume target of 500,000 vehicles in 2018, but more voices are now calling CEO Elon Musk’s timeline impossible.

Musk wants high-volume production to start in less than two years, but suppliers tell Reuters that the accelerated target is a pipe dream. Will delays in parts sourcing and other nitty-gritty issues throw cold water on Tesla’s plans (and customers’ Model 3 ownership dreams)? (Read More…)

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