Elon Musk Admits Robots Caused Tesla Model 3 Production Slow Down

Industry News

Human workers serve a purpose after all.

By now we’re all familiar with the production hell plaguing the Tesla Model 3. Going from smaller scale luxury sedan and SUV production to a mainstream vehicle is not easy, as Tesla is still learning. Even CEO Elon Musk admitted the production process has fallen short in a recent interview with CBS News. Musk invited “CBS This Morning” host Gayle King on a tour of the Silicon Valley factory, the first time mainstream network cameras were allowed to see the production line.

“I'm definitely under stress, so if I seem like I'm not under stress then I'm gonna be clear, I'm definitely under stress," Musk told King. But what’s really interesting is Musk’s acknowledgement that robots actually slowed down the Model 3 production process.

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“Yes, they did… We had this crazy, complex network of conveyor belts… And it was not working, so we got rid of that whole thing," Musk said. Yes, humans can work faster than robots on some circumstances, such as this. When it became clear Model 3 production quotas were not being met by the stated deadlines, Musk took over the production line earlier this month, and often times pulls all-nighters and, when there’s time, sleeps at the factory. “When things get really intense, I don't have time to go home and shower and change, so I just sleep here," Musk told King, showing her a conference room with a couch. Last time I was here, I actually slept literally on the floor, 'cause the couch was too narrow," he said.

Musk needs to prove to shareholders and industry analysts that Tesla will come through on its production promises, even if those promises arrive six to nine months later than originally stated. Because of him personally taking charge, things seem to be better than they were just a few week ago. “We were able to unlock some of the critical things that were holding us back from reaching 2,000 cars a week. But since then, we've continued to do 2,000 cars a week," he said. Check out the full interview in the video above. The situation seems to be better now, but as we’ve learned in the past, don’t underestimate Tesla and its founder.

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