2017 Tesla Model 3, in photo tweeted by Elon Musk on July 9, 2017Enlarge Photo
Relatively few auto-company CEOs would publicly mention sleeping on the roof of one of their factory buildings.
But Tesla CEO Elon Musk is not like most other chief executives of auto companies. Most also don't break news via tweet, for instance.
A tweet by Musk Thursday evening referred to the eighth circle of Hell and suggested he'd slept on the roof of the Tesla Gigafactory outside Reno, Nevada.
Now comes more concerning news over the pace of rollout of the company's critically important Tesla Model 3, the lower-priced electric car that is to take it to deliveries of hundreds of thousands of cars a year.
According to a Reuters report Friday morning, Tesla has slashed its order for Model 3 components with Taiwanese parts maker Hota by 40 percent, starting in December.
Reuters attributed the report to the Economic Daily News, Taiwanese local business-news outlet.
Btw, just want to express a word of appreciation for the hard work of the Tesla Gigafactory team. Reason I camped on the roof was because it was less time than driving to a hotel room in Reno. Production hell, ~8th circle …— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 26, 2017
The report did not specify the specific Model 3 components involved, but noted that Hota manufacturers "gears and axles for vehicles."
It quoted the company's chairman, Shen Kuo-jung, stating that Tesla had indicated that its order of 5,000 component sets a week would be cut to 3,000 per week.
Tesla attributed the delay, according to the report, to a “bottleneck” in the process of ramping up Model 3 production.
The company was scheduled to take delivery of 10,000 parts sets per week by next March, it continued, and that volume might be delayed "by a few weeks" into May or June.
Reuters had not gotten comments directly from Hota or from Tesla at the time the article was first published online.
Green Car Reports has also reached out to Tesla for comment; we will update this article if we hear back from the company.
2018 Tesla Model 3Enlarge Photo
Industry analysts have suggested that Tesla's announced plans to skip the "beta" or pre-production testing phase of Model 3 production was highly risky, and increased the likelihood of significant delays in the car's aggressive production schedule.
Reports two weeks in The Wall Street Journal suggested that all Model 3s delivered through the end of last month—fewer than 300—were hand-assembled.
They further suggested that Tesla was grappling with manufacturing challenges around the very basic task of welding steel; its previous Model S and Model X vehicles are almost entirely aluminium.
It is now highly unlikely Tesla will be able to ramp up its total production, including the Model 3, to the pace projected by Musk earlier this year: 5,000 cars a week by the end of 2017.
Model 3 deliveries have already fallen short of Musk's projections in July, when he said Tesla would have delivered 1,500 cars by the end of September.
The company still has 455,000 reservations outstanding for the Model 3, however, each accompanied by a $1,000 deposit.
It seems likely at the moment that buyers will be willing to wait a few months longer; how much longer will be the big question.