Tesla is rolling out vehicles at incredible speed. CEO Elon Musk revealed on Tuesday that the company has moved from delivering 1,000 vehicles per week last year to approximately six times more overall — even as Tesla launched its cheapest ever car, the $35,000 Model 3, in July 2017.
The news is a big win for Tesla, as it grapples with boosting Model 3 deliveries while maintaining its Model S and X production. Although the company failed to meet its expectations for expansion by the end of last year, Musk has still managed to steer Tesla away from a return to capital markets by converting some of the 400,000 $1,000 Model 3 reservations into completed orders. The company part ramped up production by building a tent-based fourth general assembly line at the Fremont plant, while Musk pitched in by sleeping at the factory.
Tesla initially planned to produce 20,000 cars in the month of December 2017. It failed to reach this goal, instead building 2,425 vehicles in the fourth quarter. Musk later admitted that “excessive automation” early in production caused a slowdown, sharing videos of the bottleneck-blighted bots moving at glacial pace — an issue General Motors found when it tried to rapidly automate in the 1980s. Musk announced a hackathon in May to fix the two worst chokepoints, and the company has gradually pushed past the worst delays.
The boost in production has faced down Tesla’s toughest critics. In the first quarter, Tesla produced 9,766 Model 3s and 2,020 in the last seven days alone. However, Goldman Sachs predicted the company would sustain a production rate of 1,400, necessitating a return to capital markets. Three weeks prior to the release of the following quarterly report, Musk teased that Wall Street short sellers — investors that stand to gain if they correctly predict that Tesla stock drops in price — would soon see their position “explode.”
Tesla has now turned its attention to production of the performance-geared Model 3, with a starting price of $78,000. The company is set to deliver its next earnings report on August 1, at which point it may reveal more details around plans to boost production and next steps.
As for new orders, Musk revealed last week that reports cancellations are outpacing orders is false and the company took 5,000 new Model 3 orders in one week alone.