Last March Tesla celebrated the inauguration of two new plants almost in parallel: Giga-Berlin and Giga-Texas. The latter had a somewhat greater significance given the fact that it has officially become the company's headquarters, after its transfer from the State of California. Despite the initial joy of the inauguration, constant problems and delays never actually stopped, although the situation is little by little returning to normal in a smooth and natural way. So much so that the workers of the Austin Gigafactory have just celebrated the production of 20,000 units of the Tesla Model Y in the facilities, which speaks of the high production rate achieved so far.
Although as of today the excellent job they are doing in the company's most recent factory is celebrated in style, the road to this point has been plagued, a great deal, with obstacles and many different problems. For many months, repeatedly, we heard constant rumors and actual reports of problems and delays. Production has been growing at a leisurely pace for a few months, although luckily it is clear that the pace has picked up considerably in recent weeks. At the end of last September, the plant workers already celebrated the production of the 10,000 units of the Model Y, which is a good sign indeed of how the work has evolved.
In just over a month the workers have managed to basically double production: on September 17th the 10,000 units number was reached, while last October 30th production already reached 20,000 units; that is, six weeks between both dates, which indicates that almost 1,700 units of the Tesla Model Y are currently manufactured every week. If we take this figure into account we can see how the volume of production has almost doubled in a matter of two months: in August the plant was capable of assembling 1,000 Tesla Model Y units per week.
It is clear that Tesla has been able not only to detect, but also to correct in time the problems on the assembly line. It has long been speculated that one of the funnels was identified in the paint shop area, but above all, the main problem was the lack of Tesla 4680 battery cell units. The low production of these batteries has strongly weighed down production figures for a long time; that along with the combination of cell formats 2170 and 4680, which was a clear disadvantage for line workers. This basically means that Tesla is currently making more of its new supercells.
Despite the good figures Tesla is still very far from the expected and estimated volumes: the Austin Gigafactory is designed to produce more than 250,000 units in a year, which represents an approximate weekly volume of 5,000 vehicles. These are obviously figures at maximum production capacity, and nobody really assumes that they will be reached soon; but production, by all means, should currently be higher than the actual figures shown. At this point in time, the Shanghai Gigafactory in China very clearly continues to lead in production-volume terms within the entire company.
All images courtesy of Tesla Inc.
Nico Caballero is the VP of Finance of Cogency Power, specializing in solar energy. He also holds a Diploma in Electric Cars from Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands, and enjoys doing research about Tesla and EV batteries. He can be reached at @NicoTorqueNews on Twitter. Nico covers Tesla and electric vehicle latest happenings at Torque News.