Elon Musk blames robots for delays on Tesla’s Model 3
The problem with Tesla’s Model 3 assembly line? Too many robots.
Elon Musk admitted that production snags for Tesla’s mass-market Model 3 electric car are partly the result of “excessive automation” at the company’s Fremont, Calif., factory.
“Yes, excessive automation at Tesla was a mistake,” Musk tweeted Friday afternoon. “To be precise, my mistake. Humans are underrated.”
That was after Musk confirmed reports that a crowd of robots was partly to blame for the sputtering production of the Model 3, which recently hit only about half the clip of 5,000 cars a week Musk had promised.
“We had this crazy, complex network of conveyor belts,” Musk added in an interview with CBS This Morning that aired on Friday. “And it was not working, so we got rid of that whole thing.”
Musk — who recently took direct control of the Model 3 division from Doug Field, a senior vice president of engineering and former Apple executive — didn’t give details on how he planned to fix the problem.
The tech billionaire did admit he’s been working and sleeping at the factory around the clock lately.
Despite the headwinds, Musk took to Twitter earlier on Friday to declare that Tesla will be profitable in the third and fourth quarters of this year and will not have to raise additional funds from investors.
That was in response to a story in The Economist that cited estimates that Tesla would need $2.5 billion to $3 billion in additional funding in 2018.
“The Economist used to be boring, but smart with a wicked dry wit. Now it’s just boring (sigh),” Musk tweeted. “Tesla will be profitable & cash flow+ in Q3 & Q4, so obv no need to raise money.”
Tesla shares, which have gained nearly 10 percent since disclosing the Model 3 production numbers on April 3, gained 2.1 percent Friday, closing at $300.34.
Wall Street brokerage Jefferies said last week it expects risk to remain high for Tesla until it can consistently produce 10,000 Model 3’s a week.