Tesla Model 3 delays persist, reportedly due to Gigafactory problems

Photo: Tesla

Already beset by production problems, the production ramp-up of the Tesla Model 3 could be further held up from reaching goals because the Gigafactory battery plant is still not up to speed. Furthermore, there could be a looming quality problem in the batteries that have already shipped.

While Tesla CEO Elon Musk already blamed production hurdles at the Gigafactory near Reno, Nevada for delays in getting significant quantities of the Model 3 sedan shipped on schedule, issues at the factory persist and may be worse than the automaker initially led on, CNBC reported Thursday. Sources told the outlet on the condition of anonymity that as late as last month, batteries were still being built, “partly by hand,” and workers from partner Panasonic were brought in last year on a temporary basis to help with demand.

However, the complicated process of putting seven cooling tubes between the rows of lithium-ion cells for every battery by hand could be responsible for defects in batteries built last year, according to CNBC’s sources.

But bandoliers are tough to put together by hand. Cells can be pushed a bit too high or low, or otherwise drop out of alignment, as they’re squeezed against the glue on a cooling tube and packed into modules.

A current Gigafactory engineer recalled that in December, factory workers were manually “slapping bandoliers together as fast as they possibly could,” generating a lot of scrap in the process.

Further worsening matters, many of the quality control inspectors at the plant were hired from a temp agency by Tesla, and the Gigafactory workers are not performing the same “stress tests” as other battery manufacturers using similar technology. Yet Tesla denies its cars have been equipped with defective or dangerous batteries.

“This is an extremely misinformed and misleading article,” a Tesla spokesperson told The Verge in an email, regarding the CNBC report.

Tesla announced on January 3rd that 1,550 Model 3s were delivered to customers in 2017, and it built more than 2,400 of them along with more than 101,000 Model S and X vehicles. It also scaled back the prediction that it would build 5,000 Model 3s per week until the second quarter of 2018, with a new goal of 2,500 per week by the end of the first quarter. This follows another adjustment last year that saw the ultimate goal of 10,000 cars per week abandoned.

We’ll know more about Tesla’s health on February 7th when the company releases its 2017 financial report. There will also be more details about its hopes for 2018, and likely more news about Model 3s landing into the hands of reservation holders. But for now, eyes are turned toward the Gigafactory to see whether it really is the culprit of the Model 3’s slow start.

Update 4:54 p.m. ET: Added comment from Tesla.

Comments

Is anyone really surprised there are more delays? Well, apparently some stockholders.

But in reality they have opened up the order process to a lot more reservation holders in the last couple of weeks so there is evidence that they are actually not experiencing more delays.

There is actually nothing in the ‘article’ that goes with the headline that delays ‘persist’.

Tesla announced on January 3rd that 1,550 Model 3s were delivered to customers in 2017, and it built more than 2,400 of them along with more than 101,000 Model S and X vehicles. It also scaled back the prediction that it would build 5,000 Model 3s per week until the second quarter of 2018, with a new goal of 2,500 per week by the end of the first quarter. This follows another adjustment last year that saw the ultimate goal of 10,000 cars per week abandoned.

Yes, they announced almost a month ago that in December there were a delay in the ramp up.

And today CNBC writes an article about those delays saying there is ‘persisting’ delays. When in actuallity the number of deliveries and invitation for reservation holders to order has gone up sharply in the last month.

Had this ‘article’ been written a month ago it would have been true. Now it’s pure guesswork going against visible improvements of deliveries.

So no there is nothing in the story that indicates what the headline says.

Why do you put "article" in quotes? It only makes you look like a moron.

You may not agree with "him". Does "that" make you a "moron" ?

That’s an interesting "question"

It’s a blog post.

im sure they shorted the stock and need to be under.

I absolutely know I’m getting one of these someday. I’m just going to wait until the delivery wait is lower, and Tesla figures most of these kinks.

Anyone else planning on doing the same?

I might get one from a reputable manufacturer in a year or two. One that doesn’t burn my house down and kill me by slamming me into the back of a truck.

Every manufacturer faces issues like these, Tesla’s the only one I know of to be transparent and address each one.

nope jaguar is already extensively testing 200 iPaces EVs. Did Tesla have a year long test of the Model 3 all over the world?

Riddle me this, how old is Jaguar?

That’s of no relevance to people that buy a Tesla with QC problems.

Despite production setbacks, even Model 3s are produced in greater numbers than 200. Tesla has hundreds of thousands of Tesla S and X on the road sending them real world data (in addition to all the delivered Model 3s), so I find it odd to say iPaces are further along than Teslas.

Jaguar aren’t further along, they don’t want their cars on the road suffering the laughable reliability reputation Tesla has.

Are we really going to pretend Jaguars are reliable cars?

I don’t understand Tesla fans. The reliability is atrocious not to mention the company is more concerned about flamethrowers and putting cars in space rather than putting all its focus on getting the Model 3s out to its buyers.

Atrocious? In the first year, yes. But let’s not act like their reliability does not improve over time. The model s is average reliability now, which is not atrocious. The real issue is Musk insist on putting skipping extensive testing and putting cars on the road before they are ready. Wait three years and suddenly a model 3 won’t have atrocious reliability. Yes you can buy other electric cars but they are, in my opinion, usually too ugly.

Everyone is further along than Tesla. They call it, LIDAR.

Why wait Toe, the Amish already make an auto piloted vehicle. It generates no fire, and can’t slam into anything.

It’s a Guardian reader’s utopia.

Same here. I am using the same car I’ve had since 2013, hope it makes it a couple more years because I think the options in the 35k range in 2020 will be more expanded. I also assume Tesla might be able to shift the base range of the model 3 to around 300 miles for around 35k and have the top end range be closer to the roadster for extra margin and mileage.

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