The production efficiency of the Tesla Model S and Tesla Model X has been improved greatly in recent years, a spokesperson for Tesla has revealed to CleanTechnica and other media outlets in response to some recent CNBC coverage.
To phrase that a different way, the number of labor hours needed to produce a single Tesla Model S or Tesla Model X has been decreased to a large degree in recent history, according to the electric vehicle (+ energy storage + solar PV panel + solar roof tile) manufacturer.
In the statement, Tesla highlighted a dramatic increase in the overall efficiency of the Fremont factory. “For example, the number of labor hours needed to complete a Model S or Model X vehicle has decreased. Whereas before, it took three shifts with considerable overtime to produce 100,000 Model S and X vehicles, now it can be done with only two shifts and minimal overtime.”
The statement from Tesla came out as Tesla responded to a CNBC story we and others covered earlier today, which had prompted inquiries from other major media outlets as well as a range of interpretations of what is going on in Fremont. That CNBC story claimed that parts production by Tesla was low quality, and that reworking of such parts was causing production delays. It’s notable that those claims were apparently based on nothing but a limited number of interviews with former employees and unnamed sources who were reportedly still working at the Fremont production facility.
If true, the new figures from Tesla certainly paint the company’s current production constraints in a very different light. Going on production numbers over recent months, and also on publicly available information, it’s pretty clear that Tesla has been scaling up its production capacity and quality very rapidly, while improving manufacturing efficiency — a core target of Tesla’s for years. Actually, we recall CTO Deepak Ahuja highlighting this focus in conference calls years ago and stating that he had been impressed, after decades in top positions in the auto industry, at Tesla’s ability to improve manufacturing efficiency. At this point, it seems likely that Tesla will very easily manage to meet its original Model 3 production timeline (the timeline in place before CEO Elon Musk tried to greatly accelerate production plans due to greater-than-expected demand for the Model 3).