Elon Lesson from Model 3 is Don’t Be Overconfident and Change in Manageable Phases

Although Elon feels the Tesla 3 manufacturing issues are mostly behind them he shared what he felt caused the problems with the Tesla 3 to be worse than expected.

An older video with CBS reviewed what went wrong with the Model 3. This was back in the first quarter when Tesla were making 2017 model 3 cars per week. They are now up to about 4500 cars per week.

Elon says Tesla was complacent about what they felt was their core technology and advantages and they were overambitious and overconfident about adding too many new things all at once into the Tesla 3. The addition of new things should have been staged.

This lesson is one that Elon could carry over to the next Tesla products and factories. It could also carry through to SpaceX, Boring Company and Neuralink.

There were too many robots and conveyor belts in the gigafactory. They need more manual work.

Will the Model 3 lessons make Elon more cautious in future work at his companies? What will the impact be on those companies and his plans?

5 thoughts on “Elon Lesson from Model 3 is Don’t Be Overconfident and Change in Manageable Phases”

  1. Tesla Inc. relied on something they never fully tested themselves. everything was done on the fly. The assembly line in its final configuration should have been TESTED before any comments were uttered in the public space, or commitments made. Robots do a lot if properly trained and components properly designed for robot handling.
    Tesla Inc.was bleeding cash because robots were thrown out and many, too many people were brought in, this sudden change in approach can be very costly. The $35K model doesn’t look feasible because the assembly lines at Tesla were not tested at any speeds or level of robotization before production started. Many decisions were taken ad-hoc.

  2. Why not both?

    Though I’d say the automation technology hasn’t come far enough, not necessarily that the line design sucked (though there was some of that too). Elon pointed out that certain fine hand movement operations are due to built in assumptions baked into the design of all sorts of COTS components, where a human hand can easily grasp something but a robot actuator can not. They did make some design changes to make robot grasping easier (like shaping a bolt), but ultimately certain things like parts of wire harness installation ultimately were too hard for available robotics.

    He thought it could be done now, but that turned out to be untrue. He may revisit this as the robotics/actuators/hands/graspers improves though. An interesting line design would be a mix of semi-fixed robot arms, and Amazon Kiiva-like warehouse robots moving parts trays that deliver parts just in time to the arms (rather than the extensive conveyor system the “alien dreadnaught” line design had). But that would be fiercly dependent on really advanced parts picking robot arms. Things like soft moldable grippers, sensing membranes, and a lot of computer vision. If somebody actually starts making such arms though, they will make boatloads of money.

  3. There were too many robots and conveyor belts in the gigafactory. They need more manual work.

    So much for the ‘miracle of automation’ OR…their vaunted automation architecture sucked.

    Which do you think it is?

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