Elon Musk wants to get the Tesla Model 3 into as many hands as possible, but he faces some big production challenges. The company’s latest car, which is far cheaper than its other offerings with a starting price of $35,000, is a big moment for the company as it prepares to produce far more electric vehicles than it’s ever made. The Tesla CEO shared a video on Monday of the factory where the vehicle is being produced, and it helps explain why deposit holders might have a long wait.
It’s been a tough launch for Tesla. At the July event where Musk handed over the first 30 vehicles, he admitted the company would be stuck in “production hell” for the first few months. He outlined an ambitious plan to produce 100 cars in August, 1,500 in September and scale up to reach 10,000 Model 3 vehicles per week in 2018. It hasn’t worked out that way — last week, Tesla admitted it only made 260 Model 3s in the quarter ending in September.
In a video posted to Instagram, Musk revealed that the production line is currently producing Model 3 vehicles at one tenth the full speed:
“That is actual speed,” Musk said on Twitter. “It is slowed down right now to confirm build consistency and so that a person can stop the robots in time if something goes wrong.”
The Model 3’s ambitious production timetable is already having a knock-on effect onto the company’s other projects. On Friday, Musk pushed back the unveiling of the Tesla Semi truck, an all-electric vehicle set to bring technologies developed for the Model 3 to heavy industry. Originally slated for an unveiling on October 26, the truck will now appear in prototype form on November 16.
Tesla’s resources are also being stretched by its battery production targets. The company is working to make batteries for Puerto Rico and other affected areas. Governor Ricardo Rossello has proposed a Tesla energy project that would combine solar with battery storage to return power to the island.
It may not be long before Tesla gets back on track and returns to its proposed Model 3 schedule. When it announced the slip in quarterly production goals, the company emphasized that it was a temporary setback.
“It is important to emphasize that there are no fundamental issues with the Model 3 production or supply chain,” the company said in a statement. “We understand what needs to be fixed and we are confident of addressing the manufacturing bottleneck issues in the near-term.”
If you liked this article, check out this video of a Tesla Model X predicting a car accident before it even happens.