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Tesla's batteries still assembled by hand

With net losses of $675 million reported at the end of 2017 and the struggle to automate Model 3’s battery production, Tesla is certainly going through some tumultuous times.

Car batteries assembled by hand

With the brand new Model 3, Tesla is hoping to become a mass market manufacturer. They have already received 400,000 reservations for the eagerly awaited car. But to do so, the giant must rely on automation. And here lies the problem: they have been experiencing issues with the production of the batteries – still partly assembled by hand – in their Gigafactory in Sparks, Nevada, and have been struggling to resolve the bottlenecks responsible for the delays.

Tesla denies delays claims

Tesla seems to be denying claims that they will miss their deadlines, though. A spokesperson told Reuters in January that the company is on track:

“To be absolutely clear, we are on track with the previous projections for achieving increased Model 3 production rates that we provided earlier this month.”

They did, however, acknowledge the fact that part of the battery cell production was still manual:

“As has been well documented, until we reach full production, by definition some elements of the production process will be more manual.”

This isn’t the first time Tesla has had to revise some of their ambitious deadlines: the model X promised in 2014, wasn’t delivered until 2016. But this previous model was only expected by a happy few, the new model 3 (starting at $35,000) has already been reserved by 400,000 customers, who have paid a $1,000 deposit…

Tesla will have to sort their issues out quickly, as the offerings from competitors grow and more electric vehicles hit the road. Customers could become tired of waiting and decide to shift their loyalty. As could shareholders…