The CEO of Panasonic, the co-operator of Tesla’s so-called Gigafactory in Nevada, recently made comments that the Tesla Model 3 production bottleneck was “now understood” and that battery pack production was soon to be automated. … That’s a rather interesting reveal, suggesting that battery pack production has been a major bottleneck and that hand production has largely been the standard at the facility to date.
The exact comment from Panasonic CEO Kazuhiro Tsuga was: “This process (for battery packs) will be soon automated, and then the number of vehicles to be produced will rise sharply.”
That comment seems to support the view presented in an article from The Wall Street Journal last month that “major portions” of the Tesla Model 3 sedans delivered before that article went live were built by hand. Tesla, notably, denied that allegation.
ArsTechnica provides more: “Although WSJ and others have been pointing to problems with the ‘body in white’ of the Model 3 — the mix of aluminum and steel that sits atop the skateboard chassis which will eventually be built by what Elon Musk has previously called an ‘alien dreadnaught’ — from the sounds of things, battery pack production hasn’t been quite that simple either. …
“Obviously, such a process needs to be automated for Tesla to realize its goal of producing 20,000 Model 3s a month. But it’s hard to avoid the fact that Model 3 production is very far behind where Tesla wanted it to be at this point. … On top of that, the company has fired hundreds of workers in the past few weeks and is being sued for allegations of both racial and anti-LGBT abuse at its factory in Fremont, California.”
While it’s hard to say whether there’s much truth to those allegations, or whether they are just another example of the effectiveness of false allegations and witch hunts in modern culture, the company does seem to have taken quite a hit to its public image in recent months. Modern attention-deficit culture being what it is, though, all will no doubt be forgiven and forgotten if Model 3 production now ramps up quickly enough. Well, longtime Tesla naysayers probably wouldn’t change their tune.