Tesla Motors Inc. (NASDAQ:TSLA) published its 2QFY16 Shareholder Letter yesterday evening, revealing its quarterly performance, outlook, as well as updates on all the major projects, particularly the Model 3. The management said that not only the vehicle’s design phase is completed; it has also released its production planning, tooling, and validation.
Notably, Tesla CEO Elon Musk and CFO Jason Wheeler also confirmed some production equipment of the Model 3 is “already online” at the Tesla Factory in Fremont, CA, as well as the initial capacity in their paint centers and stamping. The company plans to start construction of the Model 3’s new general assembly and body centers at the factory later this year.
The capacity expansion for the vehicle will demonstrate the company’s efforts to apply Mr. Musk’s philosophy, “machine that makes the machine,” to car manufacturing, as well as reflects their “intense focus on volumetric and capital efficiency.”
Yesterday, The Country Caller reported that Tesla is ordering sufficient Model 3 parts to build a fleet of 300 prototypes, which will likely be the beta prototypes ahead of the “release candidates.” Last year, the company started constructing the new paint shop which could paint 500,000 cars a year, leaving the facility underutilized until 2018 when the company plans to build the same number of vehicles. The paint shop includes two separate fully-automated painting lines, one of which would be used to paint the entire vehicle bodies, while the other would be aimed to paint components like rear-view mirrors and bumpers.
The automaker hired a German engineering firm, Eisenmann, to construct the shop that will deploy its conveyor system, dubbed as E-Shuttle 300, in electrocoating and pre-treatment lines for the Model S, Model X, and the Model 3. It will also install two solutions to get rid of paint overspray. The vehicle body painting line will include “E-Scrub v.2.” Here’s how the E-Shuttle 300 looks like:
In 2012, Tesla claimed that it has North America’s largest aluminum-stamping press line, which can produce a part in six seconds. It has been increasing stamping capacity and has confirmed that it can now handle some of the manufacturing requirements of the Model 3.
Tesla has planned to invest $1.26 billion in Fremont Factory expansion for the compact sedan and expects to spend $2.25 billion this year to ensure that the Model 3’s Build Plan remains on track. It has scheduled the vehicle’s volume production for summer 2017.