The five day production shutdown is apparently meant to “improve automation.”
Tesla is already being taken seriously by other car manufacturers and increasingly by consumers, but if Musk wants Tesla to become as big as the already established players, it needs cheaper electric vehicles. The Model 3 is the first of those, but production teething problems continue to persist and the plant just shut down again.
Model 3 production last stopped in late February when Tesla carried out automation improvements. As Buzzfeed reports, this time the pause in production is expected to last five days and, once again, is required to improve automation. However, that improvement looks more likely to be replacing automation with humans based on a tweet Elon Musk wrote last week, stating, “excessive automation at Tesla was a mistake. To be precise, my mistake. Humans are underrated.”
With Model 3 production reaching 1,000 per week back in January, this latest pause will mean at least that many won’t get made during the downtime. But if the production rate increases significantly afterwards and because of it, then the temporary lack of new cars will be worth it. Tesla employees do lose out, though. The company is giving them the option of using up vacation time, not coming into work and therefore not being paid, or doing work elsewhere in the factory if any is available.
Tesla’s aim remains to hit 5,000 Model 3’s being produced every week by the end of Q2, with Musk recently predicting it will happen in July. Linked to that is production starting on a dual motor Model 3. Both still remain possible, but it all depends on whether this is the last production delay and how much quicker Tesla can get new cars rolling off the lines following it.