We’ll see who’s telling the truth in the coming months

For all the gains Tesla has made as a company, the electric car maker still can’t seem to get out of its own way when it comes to meeting its production timetables. Production of the Model X was delayed for a few years and the same is happening with the Model 3. Now, MSNBC is reporting that Tesla employees are concerned that more production delays are on the horizon because of a slew of issues happening inside Tesla’s Gigafactory, including the alarming number of inexperienced workers and the slow pace of manually assembling the car’s batteries.

Tesla Insiders Claim More Model 3 Setbacks Imminent; Tesla Says the Opposite Exterior High Resolution
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According to employees who spoke to the news site, the company’s production issues are worse than what Tesla has acknowledged

The MSNBC report paints an alarming picture of Tesla’s production woes. According to employees who spoke to the news site, the company’s production issues are worse than what Tesla has acknowledged. A myriad of problems are bubbling on the surface, including the need to make the Model 3’s batteries by hand. This issue has become so problematic that Tesla has reportedly had to “borrow” employees from Panasonic to help with the manual assembly of the batteries.

While it is acknowledged that some parts of battery production are best done manually, other parts, including the alignment of bandoliers, take a lot of time and effort to get right. For those who don’t know, bandoliers are essentially cooling tubes within a row of lithium-ion cells that are glued to each side. Seven bandoliers make up one of four modules that are included in the battery pack.

The problem, according to one Tesla engineer, lies in the inefficiency by which this process is being done. In his words, workers were “slapping bandoliers together as fast as they possibly could.” The rushed production practice is a big concern because they could lead to malfunctioning batteries that could short out quickly or catch fire.

Tesla responds

Tesla Insiders Claim More Model 3 Setbacks Imminent; Tesla Says the Opposite Exterior High Resolution
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The automaker was quick to deny that the slow pace in battery production would result in another delay.

Unsurprisingly, Tesla shot down those claims in a statement sent to Reuters. “To be absolutely clear, we are on track with the previous projections for achieving increased Model 3 production rates that we provided earlier this month,” a Tesla spokesman said. “As has been well documented, until we reach full production, by definition some elements of the production process will be more manual.”

While the statement recognized the need to do some tasks manually until full production is reached, the automaker was also quick to deny that the slow pace in battery production would result in another delay.

History and precedent are not on Tesla’s side

Tesla Insiders Claim More Model 3 Setbacks Imminent; Tesla Says the Opposite Exterior High Resolution
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Last year, the promised to deliver 1,600 units of the Model 3 in the third quarter. It delivered 220

It’s easy to look at the comments and shrug the company’s latest attempt at keeping things in order. Tesla can say what it wants, but history is not on its side, particularly when it comes to long and dragging production delays. The rate of production of the Model 3 has failed miserably compared to Tesla’s projections. Last year, the promised to deliver 1,600 units of the Model 3 in the third quarter. It delivered 220. That embarrassing output forced Elon Musk to lower consumer expectations, saying that the company would be able to produce 2,500 premium Model 3s per week by the end of March. That would’ve been a good target except that his earlier promise was to produce 5,000 Models 3s by the end of 2017. Tesla produced less than 2,000 units, none of which were the basic Model 3 version. Notice the alarming disconnect?

This new revelation isn’t going to go over to a lot of people, particularly the 400,000 who made reservations for the car when it was first announced last year. At its current pace of production, Tesla is nowhere near its intended timetable.

The company could still turn things around once production in the Gigafactory becomes more streamlined and efficient, but don’t expect that to happen anytime soon. If you have an order for a Model 3, there’s a chance that you’re going to have to wait a few years to get it. By then, would you still be interested in one?

References

Tesla Model 3

Tesla Insiders Claim More Model 3 Setbacks Imminent; Tesla Says the Opposite Exterior High Resolution
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Read our full review on the 2018 Tesla Model 3.

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Read more Tesla news.

Source: Reuters

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