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Delivery by Train

Discussion in 'Model S: Ordering, Production, Delivery' started by BenjaminJWD, Nov 14, 2012.

  1. BenjaminJWD

    BenjaminJWD Member

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    First of all, if this has been discussed before, my apologies.

    This thought crossed my mind today as I was looking at all of the Signature deliveries that happened in the last 48 hours. Will Tesla start using the train infrastructure that is built into the factory once they are producing 400 cars a week? If not, what production rate/week would it start making sense to use the trains? The reason I'm wondering is it seems somewhat inefficient to be driving semis cross country when you will need to bring 200-300 cars to the east coast in a single week.

    In case anyone is wondering why I'm curious it's because I'm always intrigued by the economies of scale and how businesses make decisions. Thanks in advance for your thoughts!
     
  2. Todd Burch

    Todd Burch Electron Pilot

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    I've thought about this myself. Although Tesla says they're at 200 cars/week production rate, It seems like their deliveries aren't at that rate yet. Although trains would seem to be more efficient, the semi delivery method seems doable at 400 cars/week.

    Assuming the current method of driving semis directly to delivery, with 400 deliveries a week (subtracting 20/week for factory deliveries) you're still talking something like 7 or 8 full semi trucks leaving the factory every day, 7 days a week. Given a 2 to 3-week delivery cycle (delivering each car to the owner's location of choice), that would require almost 150 trucks. If Tesla were to buy their own semis--since they like to insource as much as possible--you're looking at about $15-30M for the trucks, plus you need to hire about 150 full-time truck drivers.

    A more efficient method, as we've seen for some deliveries, is to drive the truck to the nearest Tesla store for final prep, then have delivery specialists at the Tesla store do the final leg of delivery on small single-car enclosed trailer (towed behind a Model X in the future--that would be cool!). That requires about a third as many delivery trucks and drivers, and probably means you're looking at perhaps 5-20 deliveries per store, per week on average.

    So while the train delivery method might be more efficient, I think the truck method seems sufficient for the 400/week rate for now. It will undoubtedly not be a good idea for the Gen3 production rates--and it seems Tesla would surely make this process more efficient to increase gross margins over time.
     
  3. strider

    strider Active Member

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    Although the factory is served by rail, you need train access on the other end too. Until Tesla is producing so many cars that they need an East Coast distribution center it will be more trouble than it's worth. I can't speculate on what that level of production is. I used to have to solve these types of problems in college but the desire to solve them for fun has drained out of me :)
     
  4. Oyvind.H

    Oyvind.H Member

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    I would guess they start shipping by train when EU deliveries start.
     
  5. gregincal

    gregincal Active Member

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    I'm not sure that necessarily makes sense. Obviously the EU deliveries go by ship, and it's only about 25 miles from the factory to the Port of Oakland.
     
  6. gg_got_a_tesla

    gg_got_a_tesla Model S: VIN P65513, Model 3 Res Holder

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    If not Oakland, truck them to Oxnard down south where they have a much bigger vehicle processing center (for cars arriving from Europe as of now).
     
  7. Todd Burch

    Todd Burch Electron Pilot

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    I thought he was joking :).
     
  8. BenjaminJWD

    BenjaminJWD Member

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    I figured they'd just wait until winter and drive the cars over the Bering Strait. They may have to take a few charging trucks with them. :tongue:
     
  9. doug

    doug Administrator / Head Moderator

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    Panama canal and possible Arctic routes notwithstanding, would they really leave from a Pacific port to go to Europe? Train or truck to the East Coast, then a boat across the Atlantic might make more sense. Of course, the Roadster gliders from the UK came to California via airplane.
     
  10. ElSupreme

    ElSupreme Model S 03182

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    Next summer there might be a norther pass opening up. No need to train/truck the cars cross country. But really with the Panama canal widened I don't see multi-modal US transport to Europe from the west coast being cost effective. It may be but I doubt it. Too much logistics and handling.
     
  11. gregincal

    gregincal Active Member

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    If you order a European car in California it gets shipped to a Pacific port, so almost certainly (we can have cars going back on the ships that had BMWs and Mercs coming out). Far cheaper to do the entire journey by ship even if it takes longer.
     
  12. Brian H

    Brian H Banned

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    I assumed he meant within EU.
     
  13. doug

    doug Administrator / Head Moderator

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    Thanks for the insight. So Panama Canal it is. I wonder if there's any concern about the battery packs during the weeks it takes by boat.

    So perhaps that train station won't get much work for a while. I suppose there's always parts and raw materials that need to be delivered to the plant.
     
  14. jerry33

    jerry33 S85 - VIN:P05130 - 3/2/13

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    I guess that they would disconnect the battery. Perhaps the EU models will have a quick disconnect switch.
     

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