This was supposed to be Tesla’s moment of triumph. The California electric car company had confidently predicted it would be pumping out 5,000 of its mass market Model 3 vehicles each week by the end of 2017. That volume would allow it to move out of its high-end niche and compete head to head with traditional automakers.
Instead, Tesla has been beset by a series of production snags — some workers are having to build battery packs by hand, parts have been delayed because of late design changes, and production lines are frequently halted for quality inspections. As a result, it was only able to produce 260 Model 3 vehicles in the third quarter, and has pushed back its 5,000 car per week goal to the end of March. The company also reported a bigger than expected third-quarter loss.
Tesla insists that these are merely teething problems as it remakes car manufacturing from the ground up. “There are no fundamental issues with Model 3 production or its supply chain, and we are confident in addressing the manufacturing bottleneck issues in the near-term,” a spokesman said.
The company proudly noted that some of its manufacturing lines — including the seat assembly and paint shop — have “demonstrated a manufacturing ability” to handle 1,000 cars a week, and others have demonstrated “burst builds of about 500 a week”.
That still puts its factories in California and Nevada a long way from 5,000 cars a week. Although deliveries of the high end Model S and X are up, the company recently removed references to scheduling test drives from its Model 3 information page. That suggests that it will be a long time before ordinary drivers get anywhere near a Tesla electric car.
然而这意味着，特斯拉在加州和内华达的工厂距离每周5000辆的产能目标仍有很长一段路。虽然高端Model S和Model X车型的交付数量有所增加，但特斯拉最近已将预约试驾的内容从Model 3的信息页面删除。这似乎表明，普通驾驶者将要等上很久才有机会体验特斯拉电动车。
Tesla counters that focusing on production numbers misses the point because it is more than “just” a carmaker. As outlined in founder Elon Musk’s “Master Plan, Part Deux” last year, Tesla is seeking to create a “sustainable energy economy” by supplying solar panels, home energy storage and fully autonomous electric cars and trucks.
特斯拉反驳称，只关注产量没有抓住关键，因为特斯拉不仅仅“只是”一家汽车制造商。正如特斯拉创始人埃隆?马斯克(Elon Musk)去年发布的《总规划，第二部分》(Master Plan, Part Deux)所描述的，特斯拉正致力于通过供应太阳能电池板、家庭能源存储以及完全自主驾驶的电动汽车和卡车，打造“可持续能源经济”。