Tuesday, 19 June, 2018

Tesla Model 3 production overshadowed by battery report

Construction on the Tesla Motors Gigafactory east of Reno Nev Tesla Model 3 production overshadowed by battery report
Nellie Chapman | 28 January, 2018, 05:44

Under that plan, Musk was awarded stock options that vested only if the company's market cap continued to increase in $4-billion increments, and if it achieved matching operational milestones, including vehicle production targets and developmental milestones relating to the Model X and Model 3 programmes.

One could argue that the Elon Musk is to Tesla as Steve Jobs was to Apple. But, with a base price of $35,000, the Model 3 does have many snazzy features, including the company's trademark touch screen dash display, high visibility through the windshield and all windows and a driving range of 310 miles between battery charges. As with Model S and Model X, which have well demonstrated safety records, we maintain a rigorous approach to quality and process control for the Model 3 battery. And each module contains 7 bandoliers, or cooling tubes with a row of lithium ion cells glued to each side.

"Despite this fact, all Model 3 battery modules' cell positions are measured twice in manufacturing to verify process control and quality of outgoing parts".

But bandoliers are tough to put together by hand.

A handout photo made available by Tesla Motors on July 3, 2017, shows an aerial view of Tesla Gigafactory in Sparks, Nev.

Tesla has repeatedly pushed back its delivery of the vehicles, as production at the Fremont, Calif. assembly plant has moved much slower than expected.

But one engineer who works there cautioned that the automated lines still can't run at full capacity.

"There's no redundancy, so when one thing goes wrong, everything shuts down", one anonymous employee said. "And what's really concerning are the quality issues". But making sure the lithium-ion cells are perfectly aligned requires the kind of precision that typically favors machines over human hands.

For example, it's said that building battery packs was still being done by hand in mid-December, and that Tesla was forced to borrow staff from manufacturing partner Panasonic to keep up. They said many quality inspectors were temp-to-hire workers with no automotive experience who Tesla hired via a staffing agency.

The staff also said numerous company's quality control workers were relatively inexperienced, make sloppy calculations and don't know how to identify flaws. They also strongly denied there was any safety issue with how the batteries were constructed; even if, as the insiders say and the automaker acknowledges, some new employees brought in to work on the line and in quality inspection were relative novices to the industry. However, some Tesla engineers have told CNBC that the batteries coming out of the Gigafactory could be flawed. That being said, the battery in a Tesla is a very costly and complicated component.

The spokesperson rejected the idea that Tesla would use flawed batteries that pose a fire risk, as well, saying, "the implication that Tesla would ever deliver a auto with a hazardous battery is absolutely inaccurate". Such tests could help Tesla figure out if touching cells (or any other flaws) are present in its fully assembled batteries, or if flaws develop or worsen with real-world use. All of this testing is created to prevent touching cells from being installed in any of our vehicles, including Model 3. Its content is produced independently of USA TODAY.