"At the point at which the factory looks like an "alien dreadnought" - a nod to a video game spaceship - "you know you've won," Musk has told investors.
But so far, the manufacturing of Tesla's new all-electric compact sedan, the Model 3, at its Fremont, Calif., factory is moving at a more earthbound pace.
When Musk launched the car at an elaborate stage show in July, Tesla was anticipating a production rate of 20,000 Model 3s a month by the end of December. Over three months through September, though, Tesla had produced only 260 Model 3s — about three cars a day. That’s well behind a normal auto-industry production pace of about one car per minute.
The company blamed manufacturing “bottlenecks,” without saying what they are. It promised a quick fix, and contested a report in the Wall Street Journal that said the assembly line remained incomplete by early September with some body parts normally installed by robots being employee-assembled by hand.
Still, the “production hell” that Musk acknowledged in a tweet raises questions about whether the Silicon Valley model he has followed — beta testing with early adopters and launching updates via software — can be adapted for Tesla’s first mass-market product.
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