Tesla had an incredible start to the year, making more cars in the first quarter than any other quarter in its history. The company revealed in a statement on Wednesday that Model 3 output is increased fourfold, representing “the fastest growth of any automotive company in the modern era,” and if the current rate continues, it could outpace Ford’s Model T.
The news is a big success for Tesla, which has struggled with questions around its financial state and missed deadlines for production growth. When the $35,000 Model 3 entered production in July 2017, CEO Elon Musk estimated the company would reach a rate of 20,000 cars per month in December. Issues with a subcontractor meant the company produced only 2,425 Model 3s in the fourth quarter. Wednesday’s statement is a sign the company is pushing through the “production hell” stage, making 9,766 Model 3s in the whole quarter and 2,020 in the past seven days alone.
The company states that this doubling in weekly Model 3 production was due to “rapidly addressing production and supply chain bottlenecks, including several short factory shutdowns to upgrade equipment.” Tesla expects to produce a further 2,000 Model 3s in the coming seven days, with volume now outpacing the Model S and X combined. Customer quality satisfaction is high, with a 93 percent score representing the highest in the company’s history.
Total production reached all-new levels in part thanks to this growth. The company produced 34,494 vehicles total, 24,728 of which were Model S and X cars, representing a 40 percent growth in output over the previous quarter. Deliveries — counted as when a car is given to a customer and paperwork is correct — reached 29,980 vehicles total, with 11,730 Model Ss and 10,070 Model Xs both representing new first quarter records. Model 3 deliveries totaled 8,180.
From here, the company has big plans to ramp up production, with a previously-stated goal of reaching 500,000 cars per year by the end of 2018.
Tesla has a big challenge ahead if it wants to beat the legendary Model T, which revolutionized the production line — in the year of 1914, six years after its introduction, Ford produced 300,000 Model Ts.