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Tesla Stated to Have Flown in New Battery Manufacturing Line for Gigafactory

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Tesla Inc has flown six planes stuffed with robots and gear from Europe to California in an uncommon, high-stakes effort to hurry up battery manufacturing for its Mannequin three electrical sedan, folks conversant in the matter instructed Reuters this week.

Transporting gear for a manufacturing line by air is dear and hardly finished within the automotive business, and the transfer underscores Tesla Chief Govt Elon Musk’s urgency to get a grip on manufacturing issues which have hobbled the launch of the high-volume Model 3 and pushed Tesla’s funds deep into the crimson.

“As common with Tesla, the whole lot is being finished in an enormous hurry and cash appears to be no impediment,” stated one of many two sources.

Tesla on Friday declined to touch upon whether or not it has shipped in any new manufacturing gear from Europe.

Traders are carefully watching Tesla and its high-profile, typically brash CEO to see if the upstart electrical car maker can pull off high-volume manufacturing of the Mannequin three, a automotive with the potential to catapult the area of interest automaker to a mass producer and guarantee its monetary stability.

However manufacturing missteps have led Tesla to repeatedly miss manufacturing targets for the sedan, and raised doubts about Musk’s guarantees that the corporate will cease burning money by the third quarter of this yr. Tesla had free money stream of unfavorable $1 billion within the first quarter, and earlier this month disclosed that it might supply its Fremont, California, car meeting plant as collateral for debt.

Engineers from Tesla’s German engineering arm, Grohmann, are actually remodeling the battery manufacturing line on the Gigafactory close to Reno, Nevada, in a bid to liberate bottlenecks, the individual stated. The road will change into extra automated regularly over time, added the supply, who was not licensed to talk for attribution.

Musk first disclosed plans for this line on a convention name with analysts in November, after complaining of issues with an unique line constructed by a subcontractor.

Musk has instructed buyers the brand new battery manufacturing line will assist the carmaker obtain a quantum leap in productiveness. The corporate has famous, nevertheless, that it’ll nonetheless be capable to attain its goal of constructing 5,000 Mannequin 3s per week by June with out the addition of the brand new line.

However Tesla’s lack of consistency in its factories has undercut Musk’s manufacturing guarantees prior to now.

Underneath time strain to repair issues, Musk has now insisted the brand new manufacturing line must be a no-expenses-spared effort, the supply stated. That led to the choice to airlift the brand new manufacturing gear to the USA from Europe, a step carmakers normally keep away from by planning manufacturing gear installations months or years forward of a manufacturing launch.

The shipments of latest gear started arriving in Reno this week, the 2 sources instructed Reuters.

It’s not clear when the brand new manufacturing system might be prepared to start out working. Robots steadily should be recalibrated to regulate for minimal variations within the high quality of uncooked supplies they’re working with or temperature and humidity variations. Steps to check the standard of supplies and recalibrate robots have confirmed to be a bottleneck that Tesla managers had underestimated, the primary supply stated.

Musk has repeatedly complained of “manufacturing hell” making an attempt to ramp up the Mannequin three, which started manufacturing, albeit slowly, final July.

In February, Musk stated the primary bottleneck was nonetheless its battery module manufacturing, saying Tesla had change into “a little bit overconfident, a little bit complacent” in its potential to execute.

The Gigafactory’s battery manufacturing is split into 4 zones, two of which have skilled issues. Accountability for 2 of those zones was initially delegated to subcontractors specialised in integrating advanced techniques, Musk stated.

“We have been promised they’d work, and it simply did not work,” Musk stated throughout a February convention name. A brand new design for an automatic system for these zones was nearing completion, Musk stated in November, including that Grohmann was “engaged on the difficulty and making very speedy progress.” 

One of many issues, each on the Gigafactory and at Tesla’s Fremont car manufacturing manufacturing facility, has been the interface between Tesla and the subcontractors it hires. Sources have instructed Reuters of communication issues and excessive managerial turnover, which complicate the execution of huge initiatives.

Musk stated in early Could he deliberate to rid the corporate of “barnacles” – contractors and subcontractors – saying Tesla’s reliance on them had change into “uncontrolled.”

© Thomson Reuters 2018



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