The end of June has come and gone, and Tesla is planning to update investors, fans, and the media later this week with results of its efforts to ramp up Model 3 production to 5,000 cars a week.
That number is crucial to the company's success and even its survival, CEO Elon Musk has said repeatedly.
Work being done on the other side of the tent as well. pic.twitter.com/c3Lo9wRVtF— skabooshka (@skabooshka) June 19, 2018
This month, the company opened a new assembly line, GA4, in a tent extending out from the company's main factory in Fremont, California, with a new hand-built assembly line for Model 3s. Built in just three weeks, the new assembly line is designed to complement the old, highly automated line (perhaps too automated, Musk has admitted in his Twitter feed), inside.
The new line produced its first car, an all-wheel-drive Performance Model 3, on June 16, according to a Tweet by Musk.
High res photos of the length of the $TSLA tent assembly line.From the last 24 hours.June 19, 2018
In the meantime, a Tesla shortseller on Twitter named @skabooshka has posted a stream of photos of the new assembly line under construction.
We'll refrain from passing judgment either way on his choice of stocks, but his pictures of the new assembly line are riveting either way. A few show cars inside, under cover and not. (It's not clear which pictures were taken first. Musk's photo at top was published June 16. @shabooshka's photos were published on the 19th.)
We only share them for a glimpse inside Tesla's inner workings. @skabooshka's captions are his own, and do not represent the opinions of Green Car Reports.
Intense: tents in tents. pic.twitter.com/pjG6uj7zoc— skabooshka (@skabooshka) June 19, 2018
A Reuters report Thursday cautions that Tesla may not achieve Musk's 5,000 cars-a-week goal by the end of June has he promised.
The report quotes Tesla employees saying the company has not reached those levels, and calling the outdoor assembly line a "makeshift area." Many of the cars produced there have to be reworked, one employee said.
An oblique angle onto the tent. pic.twitter.com/z9Dqu38eYs— skabooshka (@skabooshka) June 19, 2018
The main bottleneck, according to the employees, seems to be the paint shop. "Paint can't handle the load right now because they have the Model S and X that they normally do and now they have all these Model 3s," one worker told Reuters. "The paint department just can't keep up." Two fires were reported in the factory's paint department in the last month, according to Reuters.
This is the alien dreadnaught Elon promised: hand-building cars. pic.twitter.com/LgDOBncZze— skabooshka (@skabooshka) June 19, 2018
The company is running two 12-hour shifts per day, seven days a week to build the Model 3. The numbers vary per shift depending on production problems, according to the employees. Some shifts last week produced as few as 201 Model 3s while others reached as high as 305. That would indicate a range of 2,900 to 4,270 cars per week. The production numbers are displayed on screens in the factory for workers to see, according to a statement Tesla released last week.
Musk has said repeatedly that he expected the company to reach the target of 5,000 Model 3s per week by the end of June, which is Saturday.