Friday, February 09, 2018

Tesla Fails, Again

The repeated failure of Tesla to deliver the Model 3 car has everything to do with Elon Musk's hubris, and ought to lead to Very Big Questions about his proposed semi-trailer tractor.

Most of you know about "the assembly line."  Well, that's now called a "transfer line" and it's a lot more sophisticated than Mr. Ford might have imagined.  The transfer line is controlled by bunches of sensors linked to quite a few computers which control the flow of parts to the main line, adjust alignments of parts to each other (or allow for humans to do that), and stop/start as the need arises.

That's the VERY short description.  And therein lies Musk's problem.

You see, Mr. Musk, the Genius, overrode his manufacturing management team and ordered the transfer line before the car had been completely designed.  That meant that the transfer line had to be installed with a helluvalot of "best guesses" as to parts-flow, alignments, stop/start points, (etc.)  And as you may have guessed, it didn't work well.  (That's called a "cold-start" line and it is VERY rare.)

By the way, the same problem exists at his Nevada battery plant, same reason:  Musk.

Anyhow.  When this line gets to its full capacity, Musk will be producing 2,500 cars/week.  Except he promised 5,000/week.  Musk knew that, and commanded that a second transfer line be installed so they could produce 5,000/week.

Just one problem:  there is no way to cram a second line into the existing plant.  He'll need another plant to get to that goal.  And when Toyota/GM were running that plant, they were popping out 6,000/week--with FAR fewer assembly workers, too.

But Elon Musk is a genius--yes--at snatching Government grants and tax credits.  Given what we know about his car, though, I'd be hedging bets on his Semi-Tractor.

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