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Tsvetana Paraskova

Tsvetana Paraskova

Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews. 

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Musk Blames Robots For Tesla Production Crisis

Part of the “production hell” that Tesla’s Model 3 has been going through was due to too much automation along the manufacturing lines, Elon Musk said, indicating that robots are not all they have cracked up to be, and human contributions have been undervalued.

After Tesla’s chief executive Musk took CBS This Morning’s co-host Gayle King on a tour of the Silicon Valley factory, Musk said later on Twitter commenting on the CBS story “Yes, excessive automation at Tesla was a mistake. To be precise, my mistake. Humans are underrated.”

To CBS, Musk said:

“We got complacent about some of the things that we felt were our core technology….We put too much new technology into the Model 3 all at once. This -- this should have been staged.”

Asked by CBS host King whether robots actually slowed production, Musk said:

“Yes, they did….We had this crazy, complex network of conveyor belts….And it was not working, so we got rid of that whole thing.”

Musk said that he was back to sleeping at the factory in an effort to solve the Model 3 production issues, and that he was now more optimistic about the rate of Model 3 production, after solving some “critical things” that were holding back Tesla from producing more Model 3s and from reaching its self-imposed production target. Related: OPEC Cuts Another 200,000 Bpd In March

Asked if the 2,000 Model 3s per week rate is sustainable, Musk told CBS “We’ll probably have, I don’t know, a three or four-fold increase in Model 3 output in the second quarter.”

Tesla had promised 2,500 Model 3s per week by the end of the first quarter, and 5,000 cars by the end of the second quarter. It fell short of the Q1 target, as was widely expected, and confirmed in early April that it “continues to target a production rate of approximately 5,000 units per week in about three months.”

On Friday, Musk reported that Tesla would be profitable and cash flow would be positive in the third and fourth quarters this year, reiterating that the electric vehicle maker is in no need of raising cash—contrary to the opinion of many analysts who see the company burning cash far too quickly to be sustainable.

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