Tesla Semi Pushed Back, Focus On Model 3 Production

This story about Elon Musk and Tesla was first published by CleanTechnica

The natives are restless in Teslaland. Model 3 production is not what people expected it to be and that has some folks worried. Is there a problem we don’t know about? Is this another Model X situation where full production doesn’t ramp up for a year? Is Tesla stock about to crash and take down everyone’s 401-K? Elon Musk has been busy texting today, trying to calm the fears of jittery Tesla fans and investors. Basically, his message is, “Relax, people. I’ve got this.”

elon muskThe first bit of news is that Tesla is diverting resources to build more Powerwall residential batteries for the Caribbean islands ravaged by two powerful hurricanes last month. That includes Puerto Rico, of course, but also other islands that were devastated, like St. Johns and St. Thomas in the US Virgin Islands, Barbuda, Turks & Caicos, the Dominican Republic, and others.

Tesla has a unique opportunity to influence how the power structure on those islands gets rebuilt so it is more resilient to storm damage. The renewed focus on Powerwall production has pushed the introduction of the Tesla Semi back from October 26 to November 16. It’s not a big deal to move that event back a few weeks so Tesla can help the people in the Caribbean begin to rebuild their lives.

On the Model 3 front, Elon was asked on Twitter today when the Design Studio would become available for non-employees. His answer? “Probably 6 to 8 weeks.” There was some push back on that statement, so Elon clarified it this way:

In other words, fear not, people. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and launching a new car on a production line that wasn’t even completed until late spring is hard work. Everything is as normal as it can be, given the circumstances. People forget that Elon himself said last year that Model 3 production probably wouldn’t ramp up until October.

When he surprised everyone by firing up the production line early, people assumed that meant cars would be coming off the end of the line at the rate of one a minute soon after. It’s not going to turn out that way though. Musk says they are “deep in production hell” and working feverishly to fix Model 3 bottlenecks. Musk was just a tiny bit touchy about the Model 3 configurator issue.

When a Twitter follower suggested that any time estimates Musk gives should be taken with a grain of salt, Musk reverted to his familiar, always upbeat self.

So don’t sell your shares in Tesla. Don’t despair that your Model 3 won’t be in your driveway by Christmas. And don’t lose faith in Elon Musk. Delays are to be expected. And if you want to know more about what “production hell” is like, go back in time and research the origin of the word “snafu.” Chill, brothers and sisters. Everything’s going to be alright.


Steve Hanley

Closely following the transition from internal combustion to electricity. Whether it's cars, trucks, ships, or airplanes, sustainability is the key. Please follow me on Google + and Twitter.