Production Halts on Tesla Model 3 Amid Concerns of Over-Automation
FREEMONT, CA. – April 17, 2018 (baltimoresun.com) According to a news report by baltimoresun.com, Tesla has ceased operations on its new Model 3 vehicle, a move that might be tied to concerns that the assembly system was too automated.
During the weekend of April 14, Tesla informed Model 3 assembly line workers that they were not to come to work the entire coming week — Monday, April 16, through Saturday, April 21. They were told to use vacation days, personal days, or opt to not be paid. The move marks the second shutdown of Tesla production in the last two months.
To make up for the shutdown, Tesla founder Elon Musk indicated in an internal email that the company would add more workers, another shift, and round-the-clock production. The goal is to produce 6,000 Model 3 vehicles a week by the end of June and 10,000 a week by the end of December to fulfill its yearly predictions.
Tesla has formally addressed the shutdown as routine “planned downtime” to address assembly issues that will improve production performance. Industry experts, however, say that shutdown at this stage of vehicle production is nearly unheard of. These experts opined the production halt might be due to overly ambitious automation introduced into the assembly line of the Model 3.
In an interview with CBS This Morning, Musk admitted that the Model 3 assembly line was too automated, meaning it had too many robot workers and not enough human workers. Tesla intended to revolutionize automobile production by introducing new technology in the assembly system. But it appears the company will now need to bring humans back in to meet its goals. Musk reportedly tweeted that “excessive automation at Tesla was a mistake,” and that “humans are underrated.”
Musk will still need to contend with shaky shareholder confidence, as Tesla stock has decreased in response to the shutdown.
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