A new analysis by Ben Sullins of Teslanomics has Model 3 deliveries pegged at roughly 83,000 cars delivered in 2017. The bold prediction was derived from a series of statements made by Tesla CEO Elon Musk around Model 3 production ramp, guidance from Tesla’s First Quarter results, and historic data outlining production capacity for the Fremont factory.
To ground Teslanomic’s estimate in a bit of reality, Ben analyzed the production capacity of Tesla’s Fremont factory back when it was known as the NUMMI plant. NUMMI was a joint venture between Toyota and General Motors that had a total production capacity of approximately 500,000 vehicles per year. Admittedly, the factory built very different vehicles from Tesla that required internal combustion engines, transmissions and gas tanks. Ben used relevant data to corroborate Tesla’s initial estimates, before turning to automotive analyst Steve Funk for additional insight.
Funk unpacked NUMMI’s factory production capacity and found that Tesla’s goal to hit its intended production figure was a bit optimistic. The NUMMI factory produced its last vehicle on April 1, 2010 after which “NUMMI sold off equipment at an auction, with robots and tooling going to Toyota plants in Kentucky, Texas and Mississippi. NUMMI sold some equipment to Tesla for $15 million.” Tesla bought the majority of land that made up the factory and proceeded to revolutionize the auto industry by producing the all-electric Model S, followed by Tesla’s “best car ever”.
Knowing that Tesla is using the first of the two existing production lines to produce Model S and Model X, Funk estimates that Tesla would be able to produce 225,900 on the second production line, while taking into account throughput of the second line and the addition of a second shift.
Because Model 3 battery packs and other components are being produced offsite at the Sparks, Nevada Gigafactory 1 plant, completed parts must then be transported to the Fremont factory for final Model 3 assembly. That is a lot of moving parts and logistics Tesla will continue to refine this year within its own supply chain.
Ben plotted data points he obtained into a traditional S-curve and adjusted it down from Tesla’s extrapolated estimate of 100,000+ Model 3 deliveries in 2017. The end result? Tesla will deliver roughly 83,000 Model 3 sedans this year according to Teslanomics.
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