New photographs and drone footage of Tesla's "state of the art" Fremont production tent, which the company is using to "temporarily" boost Model 3 production, show that Tesla is using what has been dubbed "stone age" processes that fly in the face of the "alien dreadnaught" concept that Elon Musk had touted for the company's production.
The following video taken on June 26 was uploaded on Twitter by a user who was able to capture footage of what the new temporary facility in Fremont California, which Elon Musk has gone to extreme measures to cover up such as putting trucks along the periphery fence to hinder onlookers, looked like.
Flying in the face of any scientific and engineering knowledge, Elon Musk says his ad-hoc assembly line is state-of-the-art. In fact, it's an embarrassment. Here it is, ladies and gentlemen, aerial footage of Tesla's "alien dreadnaught". https://t.co/jZuAD8vVmW— skabooshka (@skabooshka) June 27, 2018
The footage provides the closest look inside the secretive tent facility ever made public, even as Tesla recently placed two large semi trailers in front of the facility to obstruct the view of the general public. The video, and the still shots captured from the video, uncover a hand-built assembly line and conveyor where frames are forklifted onto the line, according to the notes by the author on Twitter.
This is a manual line. Cars will be hand-built on the conveyor, which you can see in the right side of the tent. At the beginning of the line, a FORKLIFT (!) loads the frame onto the conveyor. This is the stone age of auto manufacturing. pic.twitter.com/OryE3Gmilr— skabooshka (@skabooshka) June 27, 2018
As noted, the "assembly line is still being configured" and additional still images show that it may only be used for test vehicles or to make a "token" number of vehicles.
On the left side of the factory: sub-assembly, kitting, and material storage. And lots and lots of cardboard boxes. Let's be clear. This assembly line is still being configured, cannot produce anything but test vehicles, and is limited to making only a token number of vehicles. pic.twitter.com/QNBgSpGDkZ— skabooshka (@skabooshka) June 27, 2018
Despite all the clearly outstanding complications, Elon Musk made the following statement just hours after this video was captured, calling the tent assembly line "higher quality" than the more traditional general assembly line.
Earlier this week we published a detailed note earlier this week talking about Bloomberg’s first look into this tent facility at Fremont.
Photo Credits: Bloomberg
The tent was erected in just a matter of weeks, and came online in early June, to help the company produce more vehicles at a time when they are under the microscope. Until recently, we didn’t know the details as to when it was erected, what the timing looked like and what it is expected to produce. However, a Bloomberg article helped shed some light on the details of what is arguably the most important - if archaic - structure that Tesla has built yet.
Not surprisingly, opinions extend the whole gamut, with some manufacturing experts claiming the tent is "basically nuts".
Elon Musk has six days to make good on his pledge that Tesla Inc. will be pumping out 5,000 Model 3 sedans a week by the end of the month. If he succeeds, it may be thanks to the curious structure outside the company’s factory. It’s a tent the size of two football fields that Musk calls “pretty sweet” and that manufacturing experts deride as, basically, nuts.
Inside the tent in Fremont, California, is an assembly line Musk hastily pulled together for the Model 3. That’s the electric car that is supposed to vault Tesla from niche player for the wealthy to high-volume automaker, bringing a more affordable electric vehicle to the masses.
Analysts at Bernstein are equally unimpressed. Here is a quote from Max Warburton who benchmarked auto assembly plants before his job as a financial analyst: “Words fail me. It’s insanity."
Analyst Dave Sullivan, who previously used to supervise Ford factories and now works at AutoPacific, chimed in: "To say that it’s more efficient to build this with scrap pieces laying around means that either somebody made really bad decisions with the parts in the plant inside, or there are a lot of other problems yet to be discovered with Tesla’s efficiency.”
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In conclusion, we revert back to the anonymous user who recorded the drone video, who asks a pointedly rhetorical question: "when will Elon Musk stop lying to the public about what his company can achieve? Or, when will the public, regulatory bodies, and elected officials begin to hold him accountable?"
When will Elon Musk stop lying to the public about what his company can achieve? Or, when will the public, regulatory bodies, and elected officials begin to hold him accountable?— skabooshka (@skabooshka) June 27, 2018