Will the new Gigafactories help Tesla in 2023? Tesla tackles new plants, products, and supply chain issues. We take a look at how it’s handling the battle.
Tesla has won some herculean battles over the course of its existence but never before has it dealt with the sort of multifaceted pressure that it’s facing right now. The Model S and Model X have each undergone recent facelifts. New facilities in Texas and Germany are trying to ramp up production. And all the while the electric car company is up against the same semiconductor chip shortage that is affecting every automaker. Now that Tesla has released information on its first quarter we know a bit more about how it’s tackling these challenges.
It’s no secret that the start of 2022 wasn’t one of the brightest for Tesla. Sure, production and deliveries were solid over the fourth quarter of 2021, but the brand was facing big issues. As late as February of this year, Elon Musk, the unflappable boss at Tesla was openly admitting that the company flubbed the update of the Model X. “We dropped the ball badly regarding the new Model X production ramp and still haven’t fully recovered. It was idiotic to stop production of old Model X in Dec 2020 when there was still plenty of demand!” he said on Twitter.
In fact, Musk also publicly claimed that the chip shortage, while not as extreme as last year, would still play a major limiting factor this year. It’s that struggle to meet production demand that in part caused Musk and the team at Tesla to spend fewer resources on getting new vehicles like the Cybertruck and the new Roadster to market. While Musk wouldn’t directly comment on production goals for the year, it sounded like Tesla might come up well short of its goals early this year.
Opening a new Tesla Gigafactories sounds like a simple way to increase production to meet demand but Tesla has struggled to get its new Berlin location up and running. Originally set to open in July of 2021, the start date was pushed back multiple times due to a number of factors. Germany is notorious for the red tape required to build new facilities like the new Tesla Gigafactory and it was ultimately the water authority in the Brandenburg region that gave the final ‘ok’ for the plant to open up.
Now that the production line is rolling, it might signal a real turn around the corner for Tesla after an initially dim outlook on the year. Having a functioning production facility in Berlin should allow the brand to build up to 500,000 vehicles, including the Model 3, each year and deliver to European countries easier than ever before.
On the other side of the world, Tesla had very little red tape to cut through in the process of getting production started in Texas. On April 7th, Elon himself kicked off the grand opening of the plant with an event called the Cyber Rodeo where he pumped the brand and showed off the first few production units to roll off the Texas production line. Perhaps most importantly for Tesla fans, he confirmed that the Tesla Cybertruck and the new Tesla Roadster will begin production in 2023. Despite any of the constraints on the company in Germany, America, or anywhere else, it seems as though they’re finding ways to succeed.
On April 2nd we found out that not only did Tesla manage to meet production and delivery expectations but they actually beat them. Wall Street expectations predicted 309,000 deliveries but Tesla actually managed to move 310,048 units into new driveways during the first quarter. That’s slightly more vehicles than the brand actually produced in the quarter which totaled 305,407 units.
What’s perhaps most shocking about those statistics is that it signifies a huge 68-percent improvement in deliveries over the same time period last year despite challenges. Musk pointed that out on Twitter saying “This was an *exceptionally* difficult quarter due to supply chain interruptions & China zero Covid policy. Outstanding work by Tesla team & key suppliers saved the day.”
There’s no doubt that the battle to meet production goals and customer expectations won’t be over any time soon. Tesla has put itself in a bit of a corner with grand promises about future products and technology and it will need to balance fulfilling those promises while continuing to ramp up production of current models. Even if the brand wasn’t facing a crunch over future goals it would need to curtail current production concerns.
All models but most notably the Tesla Model 3 have come under fire for build quality issues. Early in the year one customer reported receiving their Model 3 that was missing a brake pad. Another reported mismatched tires and while the Cybertruck shown off at the Cyber Rodeo was a pre-production model it was also full of issues like misaligned panel gaps and damaged trim. We hope Tesla can manage to sort these issues out because when it’s firing on all cylinders it’s proven to push the entire market further than any other brand in decades.