Tesla’s Futuristic Approach To Manufacturing, & Critical “Next-Generation Vehicle”

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Over the years, Elon Musk has emphasized that Tesla’s greatest advantage would come from fast-paced innovation in manufacturing. This proved, once again, to be a major theme during the much-anticipated Tesla Investor Day event in Austin, Texas, yesterday.

According to the Financial Times, “Tesla executives said a wide range of efficiency and cost improvements has put the company on track to launch a far cheaper electric vehicle.” This lower-priced vehicle would be manufactured using Tesla’s “next-generation platform” and it would include some significant advances.

A look at the stark differences between Tesla’s current manufacturing approach for vehicle assembly versus the company’s new “Unboxed Process” for next-generation vehicles was captured (via a fascinating animated comparison showcased by Tesla) courtesy of @strawberrywell via Twitter.

In an effort to improve manufacturing prowess, Tom Zhu, head of Tesla’s China operations, said the company follows a process at each of its factories to “question, delete, simplify, accelerate, [and] automate” at every opportunity. In essence, Tesla examines each step in its manufacturing process and cuts out anything non-essential prior to working out how to speed up the process and automate it.

Looking to the future, Elon Musk noted that “affordability” was the biggest barrier to Tesla reaching a far bigger market. Before Tesla’s recent price cuts for its electric vehicles, he said, “we weren’t sure about what the price elasticity of demand was for Tesla … [but] we found that even small changes in price have a big impact on demand — very big.”

For instance, after Tesla’s recent price cuts in China, Zhu confirmed Musk’s point by noting, “we generated huge demand, more than we can produce really.”

So, how quickly can Tesla begin work on its lower-priced next-generation vehicle? Lars Moravy, head of Tesla’s vehicle engineering, said, “We’re going to move that quickly over the next couple of years.” He added that the new, “large-volume” vehicle would be produced at a number of the company’s plants, including the new facility in Mexico that Tesla just confirmed earlier this week.

Originally posted on EVANNEX.

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Matt Pressman

Matt is all about Tesla. He’s a TSLA investor, and he loves driving the family's Model 3, Model S, and Model X company cars. As co-founder of EVANNEX, a family business specializing in aftermarket Tesla accessories, he’s served as a contributor/editor of Electric Vehicle University (EVU) and the Owning Model S and Getting Ready for Model 3 books. He writes daily about Tesla and you can follow his work on the EVANNEX blog.

Matt Pressman has 332 posts and counting. See all posts by Matt Pressman