May 16, 2020

Tesla halts Model 3 production for a second time

Tesla
Manufacturing CEO
Elon Musk
Product Development
Catherine Sturman
3 min
Tesla Model 3 (GILR)
Buzzfeed has reported that Tesla has halted the manufacture of its Model 3 for up to five days to address issues within the production line. Increased d...

Buzzfeed has reported that Tesla has halted the manufacture of its Model 3 for up to five days to address issues within the production line. Increased demand has seen demand soar, and the company is struggling to meet such ongoing demand.

This period will enable the company to resolve potential bottlenecks to ramp up production numbers, boosting efficiencies across the chain. However, many employees have been forced to take holiday time or be unpaid during this shutdown, a move which has come under scrutiny.

Although production figures are rising, they have yet to meet the company’s objective to manufacture up to 5000 vehicles each week by the end of Q2.  

Shares declined slightly as the news broke.

Although it is well known that shutdowns pre-production remains common, experts have stated that shutdowns during the manufacturing period are unheard of.

"This shutdown is most likely for the purpose of ripping out all the '22nd century' fully-automated assembly systems which were going to 'revolutionize automotive manufacturing' and turned out not to work," Bob Lutz, former General Motors Vice Chairman informed The Baltimore Sun.

"Traditional automakers adjust bottlenecks on the fly during a launch. This is totally out of the ordinary," claimed Dave Sullivan, an analyst at AutoPacific Inc.

Musk has claimed that the company has relied too much on robotics and automation across its manufacturing capabilities, and has recently released a tweet, stating: “Yes, excessive automation at Tesla was a mistake…To be precise, my mistake. Humans are underrated.”

However, he remains confident that the company will become profitable in the following months, where the company will accelerate production by operating its Californian assembly plant 24/7, adding a further shift towards its general assembly, body and paint operations and employing an extra 400 workers to get the job done.

See also

A recent internal email, sent by Musk has been released by Jalopnik, has been released highlighting his intentions to guarantee profitability.

“Starting today at Giga and tomorrow at Fremont, we will be stopping for three to five days to do a comprehensive set of upgrades. This should set us up for Model 3 production of 3000 to 4000 per week next month,” he said.

“Another set of upgrades starting in late May should be enough to unlock production capacity of 6000 Model 3 vehicles per week by the end of June.”

Placing increased pressure on suppliers, he added: “Our suppliers will be required to demonstrate a Model 3 capacity of ~6000/week by building 850 sets of car parts in 24 hours no later than June 30th.

“Any Tesla department or supplier that is unable to do this will need to have a very good explanation why not, along with a plan for fixing the problem and present that to me directly.”

“I understand that this will be considered an unreasonable request by some. That’s ok, there are lots of other car companies with much lower standards. They just can’t work with Tesla.”

He also illustrates his frustration with contractors,

“I have been disappointed to discover how many contractor companies are interwoven throughout Tesla. Often, it is like a Russian nesting doll of contractor, subcontractor, sub-subcontractor, etc. before you finally find someone doing actual work. This means a lot of middle-managers adding cost but not doing anything obviously useful,” he says.

“All contracting companies should consider the coming week to be a final opportunity to demonstrate excellence. Any that fail to meet the Tesla standard of excellence will have their contracts ended on Monday.”

With a mission to rein in further expenditures, Musk will also require all expenses over a million dollars to now go to him for direct approval.

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Jul 30, 2021

First Solar to Invest US$684mn in Indian Energy Sector

FirstSolar
Energy
Manufacturing
India
Elise Leise
3 min
First Solar will launch an advanced PV manufacturing plant in Tamil Nadu to support Indian solar independence

First Solar is about to set up a new photovoltaic (PV) thin-film solar manufacturing facility in Tamil Nadu, India. The 3.3GW factory will create 1,000 skilled jobs and is expected to launch its operations in Q3 of 2023. According to the company, India needs 25+ gigawatts of solar energy to be deployed each year for the next nine years. This means that many of First Solar’s Indian clients will jump at the chance to have access to the company’s advanced PV. 

 

Said Mark Widmar, First Solar’s CEO: ‘India is an attractive market for First Solar not simply because our module technology is advantageous in its hot, humid climate. It’s an inherently sustainable market, underpinned by a growing economy and appetite for energy’. 

A Bit of Background 

First Solar is a leading global provider of photovoltaic systems. It uses advanced technology to generate clear, reliable energy around the world. And even though it’s headquartered in the US, the company has invested in storage facilities around the world. It displaced energy requirements for a desalination plant in Australia, launched a source of reliable energy in the Middle East (Dubai, UAE), and deployed over 4.5GW of energy across Europe with its First Solar modules

 

The company is also known for its solar innovation, reporting that it sees gains in efficiency three times faster than multi-crystalline silicon technology. First Solar holds world records in thin-film cell conversion efficiency (22.1%) and module conversion efficiency (18.2%). Finally, it helps its partners develop, finance, design, construct, and operate PV power plants—which is exactly what we’re talking about. 

How Will The Tamil Nadu Plant Work?

Tamil Nadu will use the same manufacturing template as First Solar’s new Ohio factory. According to the Times of India, the factory will combine skilled workers, artificial intelligence, machine-to-machine communication, and IoT connectivity. In addition, its operations will adhere to First Solar’s Responsible Sourcing Solar Principles, produce modules with a 2.5x lower carbon footprint, and help India become energy-independent. Said Widmar: ‘Our advanced PV module will be made in India, for India’. 

 

After all, we must mention that part of First Solar’s motivation in Tamil Nadu is to ensure that India doesn’t rely on Chinese solar. ‘India stands apart in the decisiveness of its response to China’s strategy of state-subsidised global dominance of the crystalline silicon supply chain’, Widmar explained. ‘That’s precisely the kind of level playing field needed for non-Chinese solar manufacturers to compete on their own merits’. 

 

According to First Solar, India’s model should be a template for like-minded nations. Widmar added: ‘We’re pleased to support the sustainable energy ambitions of a major US ally in the Asia-Pacific region—with American-designed solar technology’. To sum up: Indian solar power is yet the next development in the China-US trade war. Let the PV manufacturing begin. 

 

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