‘Over-automated’ Tesla 3 plant shuts down again

‘Over-automated’ Tesla 3 plant shuts down again

Production and Safety concerns dog Tesla’s Fremont, California facility.

In its second production stoppage this year Tesla has shut down Model 3 production at its Fremont, California facility for four- to five-days. Last week Elon Musk had tweeted: “Yes, excessive automation at Tesla was a mistake. To be precise, my mistake. Humans are underrated.”

Industry common sense on production lines usually dictates that first optimize then automate. However, Tesla has put the proverbial cart before the horse in this case and is paying the price for it.

According to Bloomberg’s Model 3 Tracker, Tesla managed to achieve a rate of 1,166 Model 3s per week by the end of the quarter against a projection of 2,500. Still, it’s not a total catastrophe, as production is expected to pick up after initial hiccups.

Another issue of concern is safety. Tesla logged 722 injuries last year, about two a day, and recorded a serious injury rate (rate of injuries requiring time off or a work restriction) 83% worse than the industry average. Former safety lead, frustrated by Tesla’s decision to prioritize production over safety, eventually resigned. California’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health has cited Tesla for more than 40 violations since 2013.

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