Jump to content
William Maley

Afterthoughts: All Eyes On (Model) 3

Recommended Posts

In the coming months, one of the most anticipated and important vehicles will begin rolling off the production line. The Tesla Model 3 has a lot riding on it as there are over 370,000 pre-orders for the upcoming entry-level model. This is the vehicle that can either make or break the company.

So it seems quite interesting that Tesla is trying to pull attention away from this important model. During Tesla’s first-quarter earnings call, CEO Elon Musk expressed dismay at the lack of attention given to their flagship sedan, the Model S. 

"We have seen some impact of Model S orders as a function of people being confused" that Model 3 is the upgrade to Model S, Musk said on a conference call.

"We want to be super clear that Model 3 is not version 3 of our car. Model 3 is essentially a smaller, more affordable version of the Model S with fewer features,” Musk went on to say.

But why is Musk trying to put the spotlight back on the Model S? One only needs to look at the customer deposits for the Model S and X. In the first quarter, deposits on both models dropped 7 percent. The Model S is also getting up there in age. Let us not forget that Model S was first shown back in 2009 and didn’t enter production till 2012. Despite the numerous over-the-air updates with new technology features such as Autopilot and upgrades to the powertrain, it is still the same vehicle we saw many moons ago. Considering the types of models the Model S competes against, this isn’t a good thing.

Still, the Model 3 is the current sweetheart of Tesla whether they want it to be not. Unknowingly at the time when the world to the Model 3 back in 2015, Elon Musk had opened a Pandora’s Box. Many people like Tesla because they are not like your standard automaker and this has garnered the company a cult of personality that is more common with Apple or Google, not an automaker. When the Model 3 was shown and price tag revealed to be $35,000 (without federal and state tax incentives), everyone went crazy. People who envied those with either a Model S or X would now be able to join the cool kids and enjoy the perks of owning a Tesla.

With all of these pre-orders, Tesla has to get these models out quickly or face the wrath of angry buyers. But there are some serious concerns as to whether or not Tesla can meet it. For one, the company has a long track record of missing production dates. Remember how the Model X was supposed to come out in early-2014? Thanks to a number of delays, Model X production didn’t begin until the fall of 2015. But Tesla believes they have a solution to get the Model 3 in production on time.

Quote

“Reuters reports that Tesla is skipping a step most automakers undertake when producing a new vehicle. Prototype tools are bought in on the production line to help determine issues in terms of fit and finish. Once these issues are worked out, the prototype tools are scrapped and automakers place orders for permanent and expensive tools. But Musk told investors last month, Tesla was jumping into the permanent and expensive part first so they can meet their self-imposed volume production deadline of September.” - Tesla's Big Gamble With Model 3 Production, April 26, 2017

 

Tesla’s reasoning for skipping this step is that it brought a number of problems for the launch of the Model X. According to a source speaking to Reuters, “Tesla was unable to take any of the lessons learned from this before ordering the final production tooling,” due to a tight production deadline.

"Soft tooling did very little for the program and arguably hurt things," said the source.

One only needs to do a quick Google search on Model X issues to see a long list that includes massive gaps with the body panels and the futuristic Falcon Doors malfunctioning. But this is nothing new. Tesla’s build quality issues have been around for awhile and they still haven’t gotten them fully ironed out on either model. This isn’t a good sign when you’re getting to launch a model that will be produced in large quantities.

If there is one thing that Tesla has proven time and time again, it has been their resilience. Despite the bad news or fault, they have always seemed to find a way out. The Model 3 will be the ultimate test of their resilience. If they can pull off the launch of the Model 3 with only a few hiccups, then it would propel the company towards a higher place. But one massive screw-up or miscalculation could put Tesla in a difficult spot, one they might not be able to get out.

It makes sense that Elon Musk is trying to draw the attention away from the Model 3, but it is too late. The pandora's box has been opened and there is no way it can be shut. All eyes on are the Model 3 and Tesla just needs to ride it out.


View full article

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oops. Overpromising then underdelivering are never the right things to do.  I am sure they will figure all of this out, but car building is actually hard to do.  How Musk and Tesla deal with this kind of adversity will tell us whether Tesla itself will be truly viable or ends up more like a passing fad.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sounds like people better get prepared for a slip in the actual building and delivery of the Tesla 3. I question if they actually build and ship 25K this year.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Who's Online   1 Member, 0 Anonymous, 56 Guests (See full list)



  • Social Stream

  • Similar Content

    • By Drew Dowdell
      Back in 2017, the NHTSA released a report on the safety of Tesla's Autopilot system after the fatal crash of a Tesla owner in 2016. That report claimed that the use of Autopilot, or more precisely the lane-keeping function called Autosteer, reduced crash rates by 40%. 
      In that original crash, the owner repeatedly ignored warnings to resume manual control of the vehicle.  Critics questioned whether Autopilot was encouraging drivers to pay less attention to the road.  The NHTSA report appeared to put those concerns to rest.
      Later, when a second driver died in an Autopilot related accident, Tesla CEO Elon Musk pointed to the NHTSA study and the 40% increase in safety claim. Now, 2 years after the original report. According to a report by Arstechnica, a third party has analyzed the data and found the 40% claim to be bogus.
      Originally the NHTSA data on Autopilot crashes was not publically available when Quality Control Systems, a research and consulting firm, requested it under a Freedom of Information Act request. The NHTSA claimed the data from Tesla was confidential and would cause the company harm if released.  QCS sued the NHTSA and in September of last year, a federal judge granted the FOI request.
      What QCS found was that missing data and poor math caused the NHTSA report to be grossly inaccurate.  The period in question covered vehicle both before and after Autopilot was installed, however, a significant number of the vehicles in the data set provided by Telsa have large gaps between the last recorded mileage before Autopilot was installed and the first recorded mileage after installation.  The result is a gray area where it is unknown if Autopilot was active or not.  In spite of this deficiency, the NHTSA used the data anyway.
      In the data provided only 5,714 vehicles have no gap between the pre and post Autopilot mileage readings.  When QCS ran calculations again, they found that crashes per mile actually increased 59% after Autopilot was installed.
      Does that mean that a Tesla using Autopilot makes a crash 59% more likely?  The answer to that is no for a number of reasons.  First is that the sample size QCS had to work with is a very small percentage of Tesla’s total sales.  Secondly, the data is only representative of vehicles with version 1 of Tesla’s Autopilot, a version that Tesla hasn’t sold since 2016.
      Tesla stopped quoting the NHTSA report around May of 2018, possibly realizing something was fishy with the data. They have since taken to their own report stating that cars with Autopilot engaged have fewer accidents per mile than cars without it engaged.  This has some statistical fishiness to it as well.  Autopilot is only meant to be engaged on the highway and due to the higher rate of speed all vehicles have a lower rate of accidents per mile.
      We may just have to wait until more data is available to find out if Tesla Autopilot and systems similar to it make crashed that much less likely.

      View full article
    • By Drew Dowdell
      Back in 2017, the NHTSA released a report on the safety of Tesla's Autopilot system after the fatal crash of a Tesla owner in 2016. That report claimed that the use of Autopilot, or more precisely the lane-keeping function called Autosteer, reduced crash rates by 40%. 
      In that original crash, the owner repeatedly ignored warnings to resume manual control of the vehicle.  Critics questioned whether Autopilot was encouraging drivers to pay less attention to the road.  The NHTSA report appeared to put those concerns to rest.
      Later, when a second driver died in an Autopilot related accident, Tesla CEO Elon Musk pointed to the NHTSA study and the 40% increase in safety claim. Now, 2 years after the original report. According to a report by Arstechnica, a third party has analyzed the data and found the 40% claim to be bogus.
      Originally the NHTSA data on Autopilot crashes was not publically available when Quality Control Systems, a research and consulting firm, requested it under a Freedom of Information Act request. The NHTSA claimed the data from Tesla was confidential and would cause the company harm if released.  QCS sued the NHTSA and in September of last year, a federal judge granted the FOI request.
      What QCS found was that missing data and poor math caused the NHTSA report to be grossly inaccurate.  The period in question covered vehicle both before and after Autopilot was installed, however, a significant number of the vehicles in the data set provided by Telsa have large gaps between the last recorded mileage before Autopilot was installed and the first recorded mileage after installation.  The result is a gray area where it is unknown if Autopilot was active or not.  In spite of this deficiency, the NHTSA used the data anyway.
      In the data provided only 5,714 vehicles have no gap between the pre and post Autopilot mileage readings.  When QCS ran calculations again, they found that crashes per mile actually increased 59% after Autopilot was installed.
      Does that mean that a Tesla using Autopilot makes a crash 59% more likely?  The answer to that is no for a number of reasons.  First is that the sample size QCS had to work with is a very small percentage of Tesla’s total sales.  Secondly, the data is only representative of vehicles with version 1 of Tesla’s Autopilot, a version that Tesla hasn’t sold since 2016.
      Tesla stopped quoting the NHTSA report around May of 2018, possibly realizing something was fishy with the data. They have since taken to their own report stating that cars with Autopilot engaged have fewer accidents per mile than cars without it engaged.  This has some statistical fishiness to it as well.  Autopilot is only meant to be engaged on the highway and due to the higher rate of speed all vehicles have a lower rate of accidents per mile.
      We may just have to wait until more data is available to find out if Tesla Autopilot and systems similar to it make crashed that much less likely.
    • By William Maley
      Tesla isn't done with price cuts it seems. Bloomberg reports that the automaker has dropped the price of all Model 3 models by $1,100 - bringing the base price to $42,900. The reason cited by Tesla was the end of a customer referral program that ended up costing them more than they realize.
      The program gave new owners six months of free supercharging if they were referred by a friend. Those who referred a number of people got rewarded with various prizes such as getting the next-generation Tesla Roadster.
      This is the second price cut for Model 3 this year. Last month, Tesla instituted a $2,000 price cut on their lineup to soften the blow of the Federal Tax Credit being cut from $7,000 to $3,750.
      Source: Bloomberg

      View full article
    • By William Maley
      Tesla isn't done with price cuts it seems. Bloomberg reports that the automaker has dropped the price of all Model 3 models by $1,100 - bringing the base price to $42,900. The reason cited by Tesla was the end of a customer referral program that ended up costing them more than they realize.
      The program gave new owners six months of free supercharging if they were referred by a friend. Those who referred a number of people got rewarded with various prizes such as getting the next-generation Tesla Roadster.
      This is the second price cut for Model 3 this year. Last month, Tesla instituted a $2,000 price cut on their lineup to soften the blow of the Federal Tax Credit being cut from $7,000 to $3,750.
      Source: Bloomberg
  • My Clubs

  • Recently Browsing

    No registered users viewing this page.

  • Reader Rides

About us

CheersandGears.com - Founded 2001

We ♥ Cars

Get in touch

Follow us

Recent tweets

facebook

×