As part of its ongoing Model 3 push, Tesla has reportedly flown in six airplanes’ worth of new robots from Europe to California. According to sources familiar with the matter, the deliveries of the new equipment comes amidst Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s initiatives to hit the company’s self-imposed goal of producing 5,000 Model 3 per week by the end of June.
The sources, who spoke under anonymity to Reuters, stated that the deliveries of the robots were done “in a massive hurry.” One of the two individuals who spoke to the publication also noted that the first two shipments have arrived at Reno, Nevada. The robots will reportedly be installed in Gigafactory 1’s battery module production line.
Tesla, as of Friday, has so far declined to comment on the matter.
The practice of flying new equipment from one continent to another is rather unorthodox in the automotive industry. Transport by air, after all, is incredibly costly. Nevertheless, the deliveries of the new robots underscore the urgency that the electric car maker is feeling at the moment, considering its goals for the Model 3.
One of the sources also noted that engineers from Tesla’s German engineering arm, Grohmann, have been deployed to Gigafactory 1 in Nevada to address further production bottlenecks in the production of the compact electric car’s battery packs.
The Tesla Model 3 has been a particular pain point for the Elon Musk-led company. The vehicle has so far missed its production targets since the company began manufacturing it last year. During the Q1 2018 earnings call, however, Tesla CEO Elon Musk reiterated his stance about the company’s capability to hit a production rate of 5,000 Model 3 per week.
As noted in Tesla’s Q1 2018 Update Letter, the Model 3 line would be undergoing a series of production shutdowns that are designed to make way for improvements in the electric car’s manufacturing line. This was also outlined in a leaked email from Musk to his employees last April, which explained the upgrades that would be coming after the scheduled shutdowns.
According to Musk’s correspondence, the halt in April would enable the company to produce 3,000-4,000 Model 3 per week. Following this would be a shutdown late May, which would ultimately allow the company to achieve a rate of 5,000-6,000 Model 3 per week, thanks to what Musk described as a “comprehensive set of upgrades” to the production line.
Tesla has recently been showing encouraging signs about its Model 3 push. Just last week, the Elon Musk-led company registered 7,237 new Model 3 VINs, its largest single batch to date. Another leaked email from Musk also revealed that the company is producing 500 vehicles a day, or 3,500 Model 3 a week.
Just recently, the company also opened orders for the Model 3’s dual-motor AWD and Performance variants. The two new options of the Model 3, as stated by Musk in a previous tweet, will be offered by Tesla as soon as the company is able to manufacture 5,000 Model 3 per week consistently. Considering that Tesla just sent out the first batch of configuration invites for the dual-motor AWD and Performance Model 3, it appears that the company is starting to become a bit more confident in its ability to manufacture its most ambitious vehicle to date.
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