Tesla failed to meet its New Year’s Resolutions for 2018. Tesla is behind schedule with its Model 3 production. Its Autopilot mode was criticized after a fatal accident involving a user. The company also lost $800 million during the first quarter of 2018.
Spending has also increased: $745 million was spent in Q1 2018, up from $112 million in the previous quarter. The company’s performance is better than expected, with losses per share of $3.35 compared to $3.48 predicted by analysts.
Elon Musk is the co-founder and CEO of Tesla. He believes that things are improving.
At Wednesday’s earnings conference, he stated that he was most excited by the rapid growth in production. He noted that the company had been able to maintain a steady production rate of over 3,000 vehicles per week for the past 24 hours. The company’s peak production time in the last 24 hours indicated that it could be on the right track to produce 5,000 or more cars per week after a few months of refinement.
Musk says that it is amazing to see how everyone has great ideas when they are involved in the improvement of how parts are manufactured. “[We] only need to collect those ideas and implement.”
He admits a mistake, though Tesla automated “some pretty silly things” and went overboard in terms of automation. He calls one thing “ironically stupid”? Automating the placement of fiberglass mats – “basically fluffy stuff” – on top of each car’s batteries. He says, “We tried automating the placement and bonding fluff on the top of each battery pack. This is ridiculous.” “Machines don’t do a good job of picking up fluff pieces. “Hands are much better at that.” The company finally scrapped the complex machine and redirected energy elsewhere. He says that the time taken to produce a battery pack has decreased from 17 hours just a few short weeks ago to less than 17 minutes.
Musk claims that Tesla’s autopilot is “unambiguously” safer than autonomous cars. Musk says that in “almost all, if not, then maybe almost always,” a serious crash occurs because a user has become “too accustomed” to the technology. He said that the company would publish safety statistics quarterly so people could gauge the level of safety for the autopilot feature.
What is the biggest production risk right now? Musk says the most significant production risk is the general assembly, which he will personally focus on in the next month. The paint shop follows. Musk is confident that the risks can be managed. He says that it’s not “like brain surgery” to do these things correctly. It’s a lot to do… but it’s very possible.
Musk claims that the majority of company spending in Q1 is on Model 3 and not Model Y. The latter will begin production in 24 months — early 2020 — Musk says it could be a “manufacturing Revolution.”