The Model 3 is an extremely important product for the future of Tesla. It's what CEO Elon Musk says will help the company break the red and it could also be the first widespread electric car. And on the eve of one of the most important deadlines in the company's 15-year history, the company is still on the right track to build it.
Today ends in the second fiscal quarter of 2018, and so is the deadline Musk set for Tesla to make Model 3 at a rate of 5,000 a week. Tesla needs to reach this production rate so that it will not lose any money on any model 3 it produces. Once it reaches this rate, the company can move up to the goal of getting a 25 percent margin on each of the sedans.
Speculation blossomed as the deadline approached ̵
The tours could be seen as a small olive branch to the media criticizing Musk often or simply an attempt to "show everything" to the world (including analysts and investors) under control Whatever the reason for the access, the details in both pieces show that even after Tesla delivered and delivered tens of thousands of Model 3 to customers almost a year ago, the company always does changing the way it matters most
These changes can be huge, like the new tent-clad assembly line that Tesla recently built at one of its parking lots at the plant in Fremont, California, but they're often a lot smaller, such as the welding points that hold the frame of the car together. Times Tesla executives approved an idea of the company's engineers that robot to produce about 300 less "unnecessary" welds to save time in production.
Robots still play a major role in the production of the Model 3, although Musk has admitted that he relies too much on automation. But the company is still trying to figure out how best to use these robots. In some cases, very small things need to be optimized, such as: For example, how many screws the robots use:
For months, Tesla engineers have been trying to get a robot to pass a bolt through a hole to secure a portion of the rear wheel brake. They found an amazingly simple solution: Instead of using a bolt with a flat tip at its threaded end, the engineers switched to a bolt with a tapered point known as the "run-in" that can be passed through the hole the robot is lying one millimeter out of the dead center.
In other cases, however, Tesla pushes the robots beyond their prescribed limits:
Tesla sometimes pulls robots off the line and tests them at higher speeds than the supplier's, said Charles Mwangi, Tesla's director of bodywork engineering.
"We actually break them to see what the maximum limit is," Mr. Mwangi said. The idea is to find ways to accelerate production without spending capital on new machines. In the future, instead of adding more machines to increase performance, "we can easily select our equipment," he said.
Meanwhile, WSJ says in their factory survey report that Tesla has spent between $ 80 million and $ 90 million in an "automated warehouse system" that should send parts to specific workstations in the factory. When the Gambit finally failed, parts of this conveyor became part of the " Scrap " that Tesla used to build the assembly line under the tent outdoors.
That Tesla is still making changes to the way the Model 3 is built after about 30,000 are rolled off the line Emblematic of how companies work differently than other automakers. At Ford, GM or Mercedes-Benz, such decisions are often made during the prototype phase, and the results of those decisions are tested through rigorous testing long before cars get into the hands of customers.
It's a brave choice for a company that had quality control issues. And the results of changes that are now being made may only come up when thousands of Model 3 are on the road, well past the moment we know if the company has hit Musk's trail. It's probably another dividing line. Experts may say that it is a sign that Tesla is still learning on the fly, while supporters of the company say it is a willingness to accept new ideas.
A Tesla spokesman declined to comment on the changes in the company's production process Model 3. But Tesla is aware of the risks associated with the quality and reliability of its cars. One of the many risk factors included in the SEC's most recent quarterly submission addresses this dilemma head-on. "While we have undergone extensive internal testing of the products we manufacture, we currently have a limited reference frame to detail the long-term quality, reliability, durability, and performance characteristics of our battery packs, propulsion systems, vehicles, and energy storage devices," the company wrote. "There can be no assurance that we will be able to detect and fix defects in our products before they are sold or installed to consumers."