Tesla was within weeks of dying because of Model 3 delays, says Elon Musk

AutoUnion39

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https://electrek.co/2018/11/26/tesla-weeks-dying-model-3-delays-elon-musk/


It was clear that Tesla’s difficulties ramping up Model 3 production were extremely hard on the company, but now CEO Elon Musk has revealed that the automaker was at one point within weeks of dying.

During an interview with Axios On HBO, Musk said:

“Tesla faced a severe threat of death due to the Model 3 production ramp. Essentially, the company was bleeding money like crazy and if we didn’t solve these problems over a short period of time we would die. It was extremely difficult.”

He added that they were “within single digit weeks” from going under.

Musk said that it was back when he would be in the factory day and night, which would mean around March and April.

That’s when he said that he was back to sleeping on Tesla’s factory floor to oversee Model 3 production and working over 100 hours per week.

In the interview, Musk reiterated that he wouldn’t recommend it and that it “hurt his brain and heart.”

A few months later, Tesla achieved a production rate of 5,000 Model 3s in a week, which is around the level required for the vehicle program to be sustainable.
Electrek’s Take

To be honest, I’m not sure I understand this “death” thing.

Tesla would have definitely run out of money if it wouldn’t have been able to increase Model 3 production, but does that mean that the only option would have been “dying”? Like going bankrupt?

I feel like Tesla would have still been able to raise some money around that time in order to buy them some more time to fix Model 3 production.

I remember back in 2008-2009 when Tesla was running out of money, but the risk to the company’s survival was that they were having a lot of difficulties raising money at that point.

They didn’t have the option to increase production and become sustainable so they relied on raising more capital.

Somehow, I think Tesla would have been able to convince investors of a secondary offering earlier this year in order to help with the Model 3 ramp up.

It would have diluted Tesla’s stock even more, but it would have been better than “dying”.

A threat of death or not, what they did with Model 3 production needed to be done. Thanks to Elon and the thousands of Tesla employees who also almost worked themselves to death to make it happen.
 

hulugu

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Hey Elon! I know of a few plants that will be freed up in a bit... call Mary Barra and make a deal.
Tesla's got some brilliant ideas, but they've done a very poor job of dealing with production and worker safety, and there are big problems with fit and function.

The company is such a tech darling that many of these problems are ignored, but I suspect if Tesla's cars were sold under the GM or Ford brands, they be widely panned.
 

CLS727

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Tesla's are the future.... I have confidence they will figure it out.

They'll be around and successful for a long long time.

It's Ford & GM that I'd be more concerned about.
 

vertical smile

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I suspect if Tesla's cars were sold under the GM or Ford brands, they be widely panned.
Sad, but probably true.

I don't own a Tesla, but a close friend has owned a few of them.

He purchased the Model S and overall liked it. He had some complaints, but minor ones. One that I remember is that he hated the placement of the cup holders and that there was not an adequate amount of them.

He now has two Model 3's, and he has had many complaint about them, and major ones.

The other day, he told me about his door unlock issue. He said that the Model 3 doesn't have a traditional Key Fob, and you use your cell phone to unlock the car. The issues is that it doesn't always work. He said it is typical for it to take a few tries to unlock the car, but a few times, it took him 10 minutes to get into his car. He found a little work-around, if he walks to the rear of the and straight back, it increases the chance of his car to unlock.

Evidently, this is a common issue with the Model 3.

He has had many other complaints about the Model 3 too.
 

hulugu

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Tesla's are the future.... I have confidence they will figure it out.

They'll be around and successful for a long long time.

It's Ford & GM that I'd be more concerned about.
I think electric cars are the future, but I'm not convinced that Tesla is a good company. The history of automobile production is littered with dead manufacturers, most deservedly so. The inability to ramp up production illustrates what may be an intractable problem.
 

CLS727

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I think electric cars are the future, but I'm not convinced that Tesla is a good company. The history of automobile production is littered with dead manufacturers, most deservedly so. The inability to ramp up production illustrates what may be an intractable problem.
It's because they are figuring out the automation.

That will leave them in much better standing than the older companies weighed down by a bunch of union folks with pensions. That's poison to a company.
 

PracticalMac

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Tesla's got some brilliant ideas, but they've done a very poor job of dealing with production and worker safety, and there are big problems with fit and function.

The company is such a tech darling that many of these problems are ignored, but I suspect if Tesla's cars were sold under the GM or Ford brands, they be widely panned.
An analysis by company on Model 3 found a number of poor design decisions.
Elon said he fired the chief engineer.
 
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hulugu

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It's because they are figuring out the automation.

That will leave them in much better standing than the older companies weighed down by a bunch of union folks with pensions. That's poison to a company.
Theoretically.

The over-reliance on automation may make the company subject to some really tough new problems that humans on factory floors routinely overcome. For instance, a lot of Tesla's fit and finish problems might be attributed to the machine's tendency of consistently torque bolts, whereas humans will finesses a slightly mis-threaded bolt to torque specs.

I'm not down on Tesla per se, but I think the company gets away with a lot because it's a darling of the right set who tend to ignore weird sensor problems, trim parts falling off, wind noise, and squeaks.

The company still hasn't hit its production goals, running around 4,356 per week now after a high of 4,568, according to Bloomberg.

That said, if the company can solve its issues, and get working on the next model update—while companies like GM and Ford regularly update their models, Tesla seems to have a much slower output—it may become a powerful company.
 

jbarley

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while companies like GM and Ford regularly update their models, Tesla seems to have a much slower output—it may become a powerful company.
Back in the day, we used to call this "engineered obsolescence", make the sheeple think they need the new model.
 

hulugu

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Back in the day, we used to call this "engineered obsolescence", make the sheeple think they need the new model.
Sloan's original phrase was planned obsolescence, but I get your point.

It's not that Tesla should try to create a new Tesla model every year, but that the company appears to struggle with new designs, and only has three models. GM has more than three models even among its most limited brands.

So, there's a sense that Tesla could struggle to grow as a company, and that deep-seated technological and administrative problems could hamper the company's growth over time.

I like Tesla, and I hope they do well as a company because we need more electric cars and I like how they're attacking the automotive industry's structures, but I also think that Musk is mad as a hatter, and the company could spiral into collapse just as easily as it could thrive.
 

ericgtr12

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Not sure about the rest of the country but in the bay area these cars are a hot item. I went into one of their dealerships and they wouldn't even give me a test drive without an appointment. As soon as my current lease is up I'm making the move to all electric.
 
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vertical smile

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I wouldn’t mind an electric car for my daily commute, but I live in a town home without a garage, and I have no way of changing the car without potentially angering the HOA, and maybe causing a litigious tripping hazard.

I’m sure there are many people in my situation.
 

ericgtr12

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I wouldn’t mind an electric car for my daily commute, but I live in a town home without a garage, and I have no way of changing the car without potentially angering the HOA, and maybe causing a litigious tripping hazard.

I’m sure there are many people in my situation.
Depending on the type of car you get you'll likely get a range anywhere between 130 and 300+ miles. You can lookup car charging stations in your area, most can charge you up over the period of a lunch or trip to a mall.
 

vertical smile

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Depending on the type of car you get you'll likely get a range anywhere between 130 and 300+ miles. You can lookup car charging stations in your area, most can charge you up over the period of a lunch or trip to a mall.
I looked into this, I don’t think it would work for me. I hate pumping gas, so having to essentially take 10 or 20 times the amount of time to refuel my vehicle would be that many more time annoying.

I might just wait until I by a single family home.
 
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Raid

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My brother bought a Model 3 this past summer, it's hard to describe as it's so different from an internal combustion car. However after my test drive, and hearing no complaints from my bro I will be keeping an eye on Tesla for my next car purchase.

And wasn't this supposed to be another Telsa hate thread? Where did @AutoUnion39 go? o_O
 

ericgtr12

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My brother bought a Model 3 this past summer, it's hard to describe as it's so different from an internal combustion car. However after my test drive, and hearing no complaints from my bro I will be keeping an eye on Tesla for my next car purchase.

And wasn't this supposed to be another Telsa hate thread? Where did @AutoUnion39 go? o_O
You got a test drive? I'm envious, I'll have to make an appointment. The autopilot seems awesome and a real game changer for waiting in traffic, a little freaky but people seem to swear by it.

Being the PRSI forum it feels like I should be angry about something but I'm really digging this thread. :D
 

TheHateMachine

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My brother bought a Model 3 this past summer, it's hard to describe as it's so different from an internal combustion car. However after my test drive, and hearing no complaints from my bro I will be keeping an eye on Tesla for my next car purchase.

And wasn't this supposed to be another Telsa hate thread? Where did @AutoUnion39 go? o_O
He might have been at one of the plants GM shuttered. Maybe he is packing up his work space.
 

Raid

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You got a test drive? I'm envious, I'll have to make an appointment. The autopilot seems awesome and a real game changer for waiting in traffic, a little freaky but people seem to swear by it.

Being the PRSI forum it feels like I should be angry about something but I'm really digging this thread. :D
My brother owns one so there was no appointment needed. He offered and I took the opportunity! I'm still out on the autopilot system. Show me a system that can handle Winnipeg winters and I'll consider turning that on. Till then I'll keep my hands "wet on the wheel" :D
 
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sdwaltz

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As a "car guy" I'm not a huge fan of EV's as a whole - revving a big V8 is a visceral experience, after all - but I'd be lying if I said I didn't love everything about Elon Musk. Dude walks the walk.
[doublepost=1543514237][/doublepost]
I think electric cars are the future, but I'm not convinced that Tesla is a good company. The history of automobile production is littered with dead manufacturers, most deservedly so. The inability to ramp up production illustrates what may be an intractable problem.
Much of it has to do with crony capitalism and corruption though, at least in America - have you read the story of Preston Tucker?

On the other hand there's stories like the Yugo...those things just sucked.
 

ericgtr12

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My brother owns one so there was no appointment needed. He offered and I took the opportunity! I'm still out on the autopilot system. Show me a system that can handle Winnipeg winters and I'll consider turning that on. Till then I'll keep my hands "wet on the wheel" :D
Ha! Fair enough, it has to be able to read the road lines. In some of the demos it shows people without their hands on the wheel but when I went into the dealership they said you have to have at least one hand on it, wonder if there was an update.
 

Raid

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As a "car guy" I'm not a huge fan of EV's as a whole - revving a big V8 is a visceral experience, after all - but I'd be lying if I said I didn't love everything about Elon Musk. Dude walks the walk.
Dude I get it, a friend showed me a picture of a dead straight road in Arizona and all I could hear was a V8 rumbling at idle in my head. :D I spent a fair bit of time in pit row following my dad around on track days; it sounds gross but I still love the mixed smell of dirt, rubber, oil, and stale beer you get in the infield. ...but even with that love of internal combustion engines almost embedded in my DNA I'm ok with an all electric for a daily driver.

Trust me, when testing out a Tesla find a fair stretch of empty road and put your foot down... you'll be amazed.
 
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stylinexpat

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The beginning is always hard for every business. Until you establish customers and a name the beginning can be very difficult for any business trying to start up and make it against other well established competitors that are already in the market.
 

sdwaltz

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Dude I get it, a friend showed me a picture of a dead straight road in Arizona and all I could hear was a V8 rumbling at idle in my head. :D I spent a fair bit of time in pit row following my dad around on track days; it sounds gross but I still love the mixed smell of dirt, rubber, oil, and stale beer you get in the infield. ...but even with that love of internal combustion engines almost embedded in my DNA I'm ok with an all electric for a daily driver.

Trust me, when testing out a Tesla find a fair stretch of empty road and put your foot down... you'll be amazed.
From everything that anyone has ever told me, I don't doubt it...just haven't had the opportunity to drive one.
 

A.Goldberg

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Tesla tried to rebuild the wheel when it came to vehicle manufacturing which was a big mistake. Had they followed the production methods of sound companies like Toyota they probably wouldn’t have had nearly as many problems. At one point I recall production was halted as they brought in entirely new automation equipment from Germany. Right now I believe they’re still building their cars in tents, which I find a little questionable.

I think Teslas other mistake was making the Model 3 rather than a small SUV. That is what market is demanding right now to the point of Ford and now GM discontinuing the bulk if not all of their sedans. If someone swoops in with a sub $50k EV small SUV I think Tesla might have problems.

Tesla has the name and the charging network. The latter is soon to change with most automakers joining together to make a universal standard. Teslas customer service, quality, and misleading statements has left a bad taste in some people’s mouth for now.
 
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