22nd February 2019 by Kyle Field
Elon Musk recently went into the ARK Invest podcast "For Your Innovation," in which he talked about Tesla's advances in the development of autonomous vehicles and the company's production rates rise for model 3 and beyond. His comments highlight his assessment of the company's progress with the production ramp of Model 3 compared to previous estimates and help us better understand the company's often-criticized delays.
You can listen to the entire ~29: 09-minute podcast You can download it directly from the ARK Invest website or just open it in a new window.
When it comes to driving the global transition to electrified transports, Tesla is undoubtedly the only company in the world that lives on ARK Invest's proverbial tip of the spear. Elon is not only the spokesman for this push, he is the driving force behind the thrust and has built a team of like-minded, missionary individuals to turn his vision into reality. The downside of being so aggressive is that he's often too optimistic about his schedules, to such an extent that friends and enemies call his aggressive time estimates "Elon Time."
Speaking to ARK Invest CEO Cathie Wood and ARK Invest Analyst Tasha Keeney on the show, Elon talked about Tesla's timing and how important a few weeks really are when it comes to exponential curves in production ramps. "In estimates against exponential behavior, small changes at the breakpoint of the calendar have huge percentage differences," he said. These deltas were realized when Tesla struggled to ramp up production of the Model 3, causing many analysts to scream at Wolf, suggesting that Tesla was doomed to bankruptcy, very low production figures for the first few months, when Tesla was feverish about it worked to build the plane during the flight. In 2017, Elon tweeted that he felt the company could increase by 20,000 model 3s per month in December 2017, which equates to a run rate of 5,000 vehicles per week. The company struggled to overcome the early problems with production growth and, a few months later, in June 2018, reached the target rate of 5,000 model 3s per week.
The realization of this important goal of 5,000 / week allowed Tesla to breathe together and step back from the craziness of the production ramp. As the dust settled, we had an impressive exponential curve that showed how much Tesla had achieved with the production of Model 3.
"An exponential curve makes a year or two difference," Elon said.
The Tesla team had built a complete production line for a completely new vehicle and increased from 30 to more than 5,000 vehicles in just one year. "Achieving a peak production of 5,000 cars a week has been offset by my original estimate last year (2017) of about 6 months." This is a joke and shows that the early struggles and the big discrepancy between the December target of 5,000 vehicles a week and the reality of closer to 1,000 vehicles per week indicated no sign of an imminent end of the world for Tesla, but only a belated satisfaction, which eventually required all hands on deck.
4000 Tesla wagon loading in SF for Europe pic.twitter.com/BODbSzo3Fr
– Elon Musk (@elonmusk) February 20, 2019
With only 6 months full production of the Model 3 in 2018, the company was still able to effectively double the Tesla vehicle fleet deployed in the world. "Last year, we essentially doubled our global fleet," Elon told Cathie and Tasha. This defies imagination and speaks for Tesla's ability to achieve what was previously considered impossible. It ignites the flame in each one of us that makes us dream of the impossible again. When my children tell me that something is impossible, I do not agree with them anymore. Instead, I tell them it's not impossible, it's probably just very, very hard.
Looking to the future, Elon is still more aggressive than ever. Cathie nudged him for production estimates for 2021 and 2023 and Elon dreamed of the future excitedly. "My guess for 2021 is 1.1 million cars for Tesla," he said, followed by an estimate of 3 million cars a year in 2023. That's four years to then for those who keep track and a tripling of the global Electric vehicles represent demand from 2018, only from Tesla.
Elon's relentless push for the future, which seems obvious to him, is inspiring, reminiscent of the classic Apple commercial "Here's the Crazy Ones" in 1997, when Apple went through one of the most innovative epochs in its history ,