If there’s one thing the Internet likes, it’s a good slapfight, particularly when the arguing involves Tesla. The most recent outbreak of hostilities began on Thursday, when Tesla-skeptical Daily Kanban reported that parts of the Model 3 production line had not yet been installed in Tesla’s Fremont factory. The following day, Tesla CEO Elon Musk used Twitter to let us know that plans to unveil an electric semi truck had been pushed back three weeks—from October 27 to November 17—because company resources were needed to “fix Model 3 bottlenecks” and to increase battery production for Puerto Rico.
That same afternoon, The Wall Street Journal claimed that the 260-odd Model 3s that have been delivered thus far had “major portions” built by hand. That statement was strenuously denied by Tesla in response to a similar piece at Jalopnik, although the company did describe the Model 3 as being in “production hell.” Tesla also noted that it finds a strong anti-Tesla bias in the WSJ‘s reporting. (That same day, the WSJ stopped just short of accusing Tesla of “misleading shareholders.”)
One outlet that could never be described as having an anti-Tesla slant is Electrek, and it’s from here that we find out a few more details of the problems the Model 3 is undergoing. According to a report Electrek published later on Friday, Tesla had to change the front seats and battery packs (as well as headlights and taillights) as it figures out how to get its new model into genuine mass production.
Elon Musk and Tesla have repeatedly pointed to the rate of production being a sigmoidal curve, and the company is currently on the very shallow, early part of that ride. On Twitter, Musk said that while late October deliveries to normal customers (as opposed to the employees who have received early cars) could still happen on time, customers ought to be patient and “assume the worst.”
Over the weekend—and perhaps to help clear up some of this mess—Elon Musk again took to Twitter and Instagram, this time to post a video of robots welding a Model 3 body shell. (Note: the robots themselves are running at 1/10th speed, not the video.)
The Model 3 body line slowed down to 1/10th speed https://t.co/VVTthqFzF7
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 8, 2017
Not everyone is convinced. Some investors have started to talk down the EV maker’s stock, and this morning, Tesla’s share price fell. Others still think it has a long way to climb yet.