Tesla Is Assembling Model 3s in a Giant Tent

DooKey

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Things must be getting desperate at Tesla these days because they have erected giant tents as production facilities in an attempt to speed up production to meet promised production goals. It's not an ideal situation for them, but they have to do something to stop the bleeding. Considering the layoffs, sabotage, and recall of thousands of vehicles it would appear this is a last gasp effort to right the ship. I hope it works.

You might be asking yourself, as you picture your future vehicle being put together in a giant circus tent, “is this really necessary?” If Musk wants to meet his ambitious goals, yes. In July, Tesla began producing its Model 3s. Since then, the company has missed one production goal after another.
 

RealBeast

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Maybe they're high tech tents, just watch out for employees pulling on the center pole. ;)
 

Tsumi

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IMO Tesla should have been one of those companies that produce a small number of products, focus primarily on R&D, and license out their tech to larger companies.
 

Ocellaris

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I think anyone expecting these cars do be well built is crazy:

 

Mchart

2[H]4U
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I know two people now with a Model 3 and both have had numerous problems since day 1. I was also unimpressed with the general quality given the price.
 

bigdogchris

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Feb 19, 2008
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I know two people now with a Model 3 and both have had numerous problems since day 1. I was also unimpressed with the general quality given the price.
I've seen some reviews talking about some of the interior qualities of the model 3 are questionable. I just can't get over having to use a phone or key card to unlock the car. If you could keep the keycard in your wallet it wouldn't be that bad but I don't want to use my phone to unlock a car.

Overall though, I hope Tesla or another electric car manufacturer succeeds but only if they are building a quality products.
 

n31l

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I think anyone expecting these cars do be well built is crazy:

To be fair they are 'rails/runners' therefore 'its' tolerances aren't that influential to over-all product quality but 'half-arsed is still half-arsed' no matter where it is in the process...
 

travisty

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I know two people now with a Model 3 and both have had numerous problems since day 1. I was also unimpressed with the general quality given the price.
I know the initial 8k or so did have problems. Vehicles after they improved manufacturing are far better. I've had mine for 3 months now and not one issue
 
D

Deleted member 93354

Guest
Things must be getting desperate at Tesla these days because they have erected giant tents as production facilities in an attempt to speed up production to meet promised production goals. It's not an ideal situation for them, but they have to do something to stop the bleeding. Considering the layoffs, sabotage, and recall of thousands of vehicles it would appear this is a last gasp effort to right the ship. I hope it works.

You might be asking yourself, as you picture your future vehicle being put together in a giant circus tent, “is this really necessary?” If Musk wants to meet his ambitious goals, yes. In July, Tesla began producing its Model 3s. Since then, the company has missed one production goal after another.
This would make sense and wouldn't be that bad. Let me explain:

As cars come down the assembly line, if a defect is found, unless it is critical, the assembly line is not stopped as this slows overall production. What happens in the barcode on the car body gets scanned and a deviation report is filed. When the car reaches the end of the assembly line, the cars marked with a deviation get pulled and fixed up by hand.

Given the poor fit and finish of the model 3 (by reading reviews) I would say that line is over flowing and they are out of "fix up" areas. If it's an interior feature that is out of spec, then working in a tent makes no difference.

What most "smart" manufacturers do is have a master body mockup inside the factory. If a part doesn't fit, they take it to the master body mockup and see if it fits there. If it fails the master, the part is bad. If the part fits, the mounting point on the car body is off.

It takes YEARS for a car mfg to build a frame that is consistent in build metrics. Nissan had problems with this for years. And this is why they went to machine robot welding which sent their quality through the roof in the mid 2000's. Ford and Chevy have specs on body panel tolerences of +- 1 mm. And they spot check them with gap gauges. Ferrari's however are somewhat an art of the body worker. (Especially in the mid 80s) Specs are fast and loose. But the quality is exceptional at the end for the most part.
 

cjcox

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It's the electric car you ordered over a year ago, that you might not get, and if you get it, it will cost you at least $10K more than what you thought.

What could possibly be wrong about that?
 

Zarathustra[H]

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I know two people now with a Model 3 and both have had numerous problems since day 1. I was also unimpressed with the general quality given the price.
Shouldn't be a surprise given the price, considering how much the battery costs. Subtract out the cost of the battery, and you are essentially paying for the cheapest Hyundai/Kia on the market.

Being an early adopter of any technology always has its costs. These are the costs for being an early adopter of electric vehicle tech.

This is partially why I canceled my reservation. I wasn't thrilled with many things, including:
  • The minimalist interior with only the center screen
  • The focus on autonomous technology (I want a drivers car, damnit)
  • Fit, finish, bugs and other reported problems
  • The fact that there was a good chance the federal and state tax credits would be gone by the time I got mine (Winter means I wouldn't buy anything without AWD, and AWD models are coming last)
  • Cost of options were way too high. An AWD model and a larger battery added WAY too much to the total

All of these combined convinced me to cancel, but the financial considerations were high on that list. When I first made my reservation I was thinking $35k - $7,500 federal - $2,500 state, makes it a $25k car. Subtract out another $15k in projected cost savings from gas (-gas cost + electricity cost) and I was looking at a $10k car, and absolute steal.

It was clear to me at the time that adding options was going to increase that cost a little bit, but it was unclear by how much.

Add in the larger battery pack, AWD, some must have options, and remove the expired tax credits, and now we are closer to talking about a $50k car. That's not what I signed up for.

Hopefully at some point before my current cars die, electric vehicles will come down in price to where they are more reasonable, because I don't want to buy another ICE car, but as it is currently going, it might be a while.
 

Aioeyu

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As someone who made a lot of money from Tesla and who has been a big supporter for a long time, even I'm nervous at this point. However, building in a tent does not make me nervous. I've worked in a handful of "tents" like the hastily built Tesla tent, and they were FANTASTIC to work in, far better than any factory I've ever worked in. We have used tents like Tesla is for years in the military, where I was dealing with them. Several I worked in were a vehicle maintenance shops. Another was an aircraft maintenance hangar. These aren't tents in the sense of what most people are thinking of. They are membrane structures, with all the amenities of a more costly hard structure. To be honest, I'd prefer working in one of these membrane structures any day compared to most of the hard structures I've worked in. They had better seals, stayed cooler, we had fewer product defects due to contamination, and the cost savings are massive.
 

tangoseal

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I see nothing wrong with it.

Once their model 3s are delivered demand will only increase. I'd get an S but dont want to spend 90k.
 

cjcox

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Nancy Pelosi announced that the tents are being used to separate employee's children, and not for "car making". Republicans are reporting that's not true and that the tents are used to house the console display to keep it further away from the driver.
 

Wierdo

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I know two people now with a Model 3 and both have had numerous problems since day 1. I was also unimpressed with the general quality given the price.
Probably the earlier batches, I was watching a massive Model 3 get together video last week where they delivered a mall parking lot's worth of cars for June, hundreds of people. Folks were able to compare their recent batches to ones from earlier buyers, a few minor things got upgraded here and there under the hood.

Skip to ~5:25 for the design refinement example:

Current batches are said to be more refined in suspension comfort for example, among many other little refinements here and there.

Not that the old batch was bad, but quality has improved noticeably in short time, and they often retrofit improvements if requested during warranty.

They don't do model years they just keep improving whatever they think should be better, so it's hard to judge the quality of the latest based on last year's batch, unlike other companies that freeze their designs for a given model year.

Pros and cons in that approach.
 
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OregonLAN

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Considering that Tesla has only been in business for only ~14 years, it's pretty amazing what they've accomplished in such a short amount of time. By comparison, Ford and Chevrolet have been in business for over 100 years ago and they still haven't released a worthwhile EV (IMHO). I just hope Tesla weathers this storm and sticks around for a Model 4. Their mere presence in the EV industry drives innovation among the auto industry.
 
D

Deleted member 93354

Guest
Probably the earlier batches, I was watching a massive Model 3 get together video last week where they delivered a mall parking lot's worth of cars for June, hundreds of people. Folks were able to compare their recent batches to ones from earlier buyers, a few minor things got upgraded here and there under the hood.

Skip to ~5:25 for the design refinement example:

Current batches are said to be more refined in suspension comfort for example, among many other little refinements here and there.

Not that the old batch was bad, but quality has improved noticeably in short time, and they often retrofit improvements if requested during warranty.

They don't do model years they just keep improving whatever they think should be better, so it's hard to judge the quality of the latest based on last year's batch, unlike other companies that freeze their designs for a given model year.

Pros and cons in that approach.
I'm not a fan of Tesla. But I'll be honest, for a mass car startup they are doing okay and experiencing the bumps any company new to the process would.


Case in point, Henry Ford's Model-T, probably the most famous car in history, was built by teams in the early years. There was no assembly line. the 2 & 3 pedal transmission only Henry understood. And there was a very large problem with overheating of the radiator (which was gravity fed without a pump) It wasn't uncommon for these things to boil over. It also wasn't uncommon for one serial number difference to have way different parts as they adjusted things on the fly to make them better.

Back then a Model-T would cost ~$23500.00 in today's dollars. That was in the realm of the wealthy, like doctors.


If you are wondering how I know all this, it's because my dad was the definitive source on the Model-T and he fully restored the 2nd one ever made with all original parts. (Frame, body, motor, transmission, and suspension) Yes, it really was serial number 2 on a 1908 1/2 model year. (Sold as 1909 back then)
 
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