A couple of quick updates on Tesla Motors* manufacturing have come through the wires in recent days. First of all, a Nevada economic development official said last week that the Tesla Gigafactory is actually ahead of schedule. Tesla isn’t exactly known for being ahead of schedule, but it seems to have its ducks in order on this one — and the little ducklings apparently aren’t being snatched up by house cats and casing unexpected delays (to carry the metaphor to an obsessive ending).
Not much more detail was added, but it was stated that initial lithium-ion battery production was expected to being in the Gigafactory by the end of 2015. Of course, Tesla intends to get production up to 500,000 battery packs a year by 2020, but it is going to complete the Gigafactory and ramp up production in phases.
The other piece of interesting “news” came via Pacific Crest Securities analyst Brad Erickson. Erickson recently toured Tesla’s Fremont factory, and he estimated that the Tesla Model X production line has 3–4 times more robots than the Model S production line. It sounds to me like Tesla is increasing the financial efficiency of its vehicles with this new line (assuming robots are cheaper than human laborers). The results (the vehicles) should also be more standardized and hopefully come with fewer faults as well.
Erickson also noted that “several buses” of new Tesla employees were also being trained to work on the Model X production line — so, there’s certainly still a lot of human labor going into the production of these premium electric vehicles.
“To say the mood in the factory is one of ‘gearing up’ would be an understatement,” Erickson wrote.
All good signs for Tesla enthusiasts and investors!
Image by Steve Jurvetson (CC BY 2.0 license)
*Full Disclosure: I’m long TSLA.