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Tesla Model 3: Elon Musk shares images of the production line

After misleading reports suggested that Tesla was hand-making the Model 3 based on the fact that some components required manual labor, Elon Musk shared images of the Model 3 production line for the first time. 

Over the last week, several reports came out claiming that Tesla was being misleading about the Model 3’s production bottlenecks and that production was slow because Tesla was basically hand-making the cars.

The company responded:

“This reporting is fundamentally wrong and misleading. We are still in the beginning of our production ramp, but every Model 3 is being built on the Model 3 production line, which is fully installed, powered on, producing vehicles, and increasing in automation every day. However, every vehicle manufacturing line in the world has both manual and automated processes, including the Model S and Model X line today. Contrary to the Journal’s reporting, this is not some revelation. As we’ve always acknowledged, it will take time to fine-tune the line for higher volumes, but as we have also said, there are no fundamental issues with Model 3 production or its supply chain, and we are confident in addressing the manufacturing bottleneck issues in the near-term. We are simply working through the S-curve of production that we drew out for the world to see at our launch event in July. There’s a reason it’s called production hell.”

Now to further dispel these reports, Elon Musk shared images of the Model 3 body at the Fremont factory. He says that the line is slowed down to 1/10th speed:

We see Kuka robots on what appears to be a welding station for the Model 3 body. Earlier this year, we saw Tesla taking delivery of a massive shipment of robots for the Model 3 production line.

Of course, that’s only one part of the production – and generally one of the most automated. The assembly line is more labor intensive and not shown in this short video.

Musk added that the production is “slowed down right now to confirm build consistency and so that a person can stop the robots in time if something goes wrong.”

Tesla reported a production of only 260 Model 3 vehicles between July and September.

Last week, Musk reiterated that they are still in “production hell”, but he is nonetheless still confident that the production rate will significantly increase throughout the current quarter and Tesla didn’t update its customer delivery timeline. Tesla is still delivering more vehicles to company insiders and employees, but the first regular customer deliveries are planned for “late October.

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