Anxious investors and Tesla fans were quite skeptical when Elon Musk ambitiously announced that Tesla would manufacture half a million cars in 2018; which is 5 times the production in 2017. The 2018 production plan included making 20,000 Model 3 sedans per month; that’s 5000 cars a week! Unfortunately, the company met a number of manufacturing and production challenges that prevented them from achieving these numbers. Or at least that was until earlier this week when Musk announced that Tesla had achieved its Model 3 production milestone of 5,000 units week and set a new record overall production with 7,000 cars in one week.
7000 cars, 7 days
♥️ Tesla Team ♥️
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 1, 2018
Tesla reported producing 5,031 Model 3 cars in the final week of the quarter. The company also made 1,913 Model S sedans and Model X SUVs; bringing the total number of cars produced in a week close to 7,000 units.
Tesla produced a total of 53,339 cars, of different models, in the second quarter; a 55% increase from the first quarter, making it the most productive quarter Tesla has ever had. Tesla also reported that the Model 3 production numbers have reached 28,578, exceeding the combined Model S and X production numbers: 24,761, for the first time ever. The company delivered 40,740 vehicles worldwide, including 18,440 Model 3 cars, 10,930 Model S cars, and 11,370 Model Xs.
By comparison, General Motors Co. has delivered more than 758,000 vehicles in the United States and more than 2 million cars worldwide in the second quarter of 2018. The Chevrolet Volt, an electric vehicle produced by GM, sold 10,543 units in the US and Canada in 2018.
Other electric vehicles have even higher production and sales numbers. The Nissan I Leaf delivered 8,400 cars in the US, Europe and Japan in February 2018 alone and reached a total of 300,000 Nissan LEAF cars delivered globally in January 2018; a number Tesla reached a month later, in February of the same year.
While Tesla remains the most sold electric vehicle in the US, when it comes to global sales, it is preceded by two Chinese car manufacturers: BYD and BAIC.
Even with the impressive 7000 units produced in a week, Tesla still has a long way to catch up with other car manufacturers. Steven Armstrong, the Chairman and CEO of Ford Europe, highlighted the difference in the production capacity, saying that the Ford team built 7o00 units in just 4 hours.
7000 cars, circa 4 hours. ❤️Ford Team❤️ https://t.co/FZSclsFoS0
— Steven Armstrong (@StevenArmstrong) July 1, 2018
Elon Musk’s email
At 5 a.m. on July 1st, the 5000th Model 3 sedan was produced from one of Tesla’s three production lines, setting a milestone for the car manufacturer. Elon Musk sent an email to Tesla employees, sharing the news and congratulating them on a job well done.
“We did it!! What an incredible job by an amazing team. Couldn’t be more proud to work with you. It is an honor.
“The level of dedication and creativity was mind-blowing. We either found a way or, by will and inventiveness, created entirely new solutions that were thought impossible.
“Intense in tents. Transporting entire production lines across the world in massive cargo planes. Whatever. It worked.
“Not only did we factory gate over 5000 Model 3’s, but we also achieved the S & X production target for a combined 7000 vehicle week!
“What’s more, with the widespread productivity gains throughout Tesla and the new production lines spooling up, we are on track to reach 6K/week for Model 3 next month.
“I think we just became a real car company….
“Thank you for your hard work and dedication,
How did Tesla do it?
Like Musk mentioned in his email, “Intense in tents”, Tesla actually set up a fully functional assembly line in a giant production tent in the factory’s backyard, in an effort to expand the capacity to meet the company’s production target. And like he said, “It worked”, because of the 5,031 Model 3s built in the last week, 20 percent came from the tent.
Out of about 450,000 Model 3 cars ordered, Tesla stated they have now delivered 28,386 Model 3 cars, with roughly 420,000 still remaining to be delivered.
New Production plans
Tesla reported that they are planning to build a factory in China, in addition to their main headquarters in California, that could produce 500,000 vehicles a year. Following this announcement, the price of Tesla’s shares saw more than 2 percent increase on Tuesday.
Shortly after celebrating the 5000 unit-milestone, Musk, ambitious as usual, raised the company’s production target to 6,000 Model 3s a week by the end of August. There’s nothing wrong with aiming high though, because even if he falls short, the production numbers will be impressive.