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Hours to manufacturer a Model S compared to other manufacturers

GuyGadois

Member
Oct 5, 2015
161
58
SLO
In general it takes the "big" manufactures about 30 labor hours to produce a car (per the Intraweb research). I noticed that the average time Tesla takes to produce a car is closer to 7 days. So, why does it take longer to produce a Tesla? Is it quality? Inefficiency of Tesla? Is a Model S just more complex? A colleague asked me this today after I told him mine would be done in about a week and he asked why it takes longer than the average when Tesla is built in such a modern factory compared to c=some of the others. I didn't have a good answer.

GG
 

bmah

Moderator
Mar 17, 2015
4,056
7,420
Lafayette, CA, USA
In general it takes the "big" manufactures about 30 labor hours to produce a car (per the Intraweb research). I noticed that the average time Tesla takes to produce a car is closer to 7 days. So, why does it take longer to produce a Tesla? Is it quality? Inefficiency of Tesla? Is a Model S just more complex? A colleague asked me this today after I told him mine would be done in about a week and he asked why it takes longer than the average when Tesla is built in such a modern factory compared to c=some of the others. I didn't have a good answer.

GG

That's kind of an "apples to oranges" comparison. The figure for the Tesla is counting calendar days from start to finish. The car isn't being worked on all that time. "30 labor hours" sounds like it's an amount of effort, but doesn't say over how many days that effort is spread.

IIRC, one of the factors in production time is the amount of time it takes the paint on the car body parts to dry after they come out of the paint shop (several days?). Waiting for availability of parts could also affect the number of days a car is in production (but not the amount of effort required to produce the car).

(My car, an 85D produced in April, was in production for 5 days. That included a weekend, and I'm not sure the factory was in operation over the weekend at that time.)
 
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JenniferQ

Supporting Member
Sep 13, 2015
1,261
514
San Diego, CA
that seems strange to me. My Tesla S was ordered 9/11 and delivered 10/8. We just ordered a Jeep Wrangler for dd and they told us 8-12 weeks! Wny? And, not to worry, next dd going electric.
 

MsElectric

Active Member
Oct 11, 2014
1,604
18
New York
that seems strange to me. My Tesla S was ordered 9/11 and delivered 10/8. We just ordered a Jeep Wrangler for dd and they told us 8-12 weeks! Wny? And, not to worry, next dd going electric.

I suppose the additional time is what it takes for the dealer to properly "bless" your Jeep :tongue:
 

deonb

Active Member
Mar 4, 2013
4,060
4,215
Redmond, WA
Well, you have to take into account the time to do the Drive Unit replacement after the car has gone through the test track...
 

GuyGadois

Member
Oct 5, 2015
161
58
SLO
That's kind of an "apples to oranges" comparison. The figure for the Tesla is counting calendar days from start to finish. The car isn't being worked on all that time. "30 labor hours" sounds like it's an amount of effort, but doesn't say over how many days that effort is spread.

IIRC, one of the factors in production time is the amount of time it takes the paint on the car body parts to dry after they come out of the paint shop (several days?). Waiting for availability of parts could also affect the number of days a car is in production (but not the amount of effort required to produce the car).

(My car, an 85D produced in April, was in production for 5 days. That included a weekend, and I'm not sure the factory was in operation over the weekend at that time.)

Somewhat "apples to oranges" but they are still both making cars so I guess that part is apple to apples. So many unknowns. Do car companies work 24/7? Do car companies keep the car moving along the entire way or do they work on it and set it aside (like to have paint dry). I still wonder why Tesla takes longer to manufacturer. I am not talking about from order to delivery, just the manufacturing part.
 

brucet999

Active Member
Mar 12, 2015
2,693
1,499
Huntington Beach, CA
Somewhat "apples to oranges" but they are still both making cars so I guess that part is apple to apples. So many unknowns. Do car companies work 24/7? Do car companies keep the car moving along the entire way or do they work on it and set it aside (like to have paint dry). I still wonder why Tesla takes longer to manufacturer. I am not talking about from order to delivery, just the manufacturing part.

Mine was in production 4 days. I have seen a couple on the tracker spreadsheet that took 3 days and one 28 days; average of 97 cars in Oct Nov 2015 has been 7.4 days. DES told me that sometimes cars with a certain feature or paint color may be batched, with the result that some cars get pulled aside for a while and so take longer to get through production.
 

SR22pilot

Member
Jun 16, 2014
720
1,112
Georgia
I think people are missing a big point. If you had a totally automated plant, it might take 2 weeks to build a car but it would involve zero man hours. If it took ten people to run the plant and a car rolled off the assembly line every hour then that would be ten man-hours per car. If ten cars came off the line every hour (one every 6 minutes) then that would be one man hour per car.
 

MichFin

Member
May 8, 2015
303
61
Detroit, MI
I believe the OP is right. I live in Detroit and visited the Ford F-150 plant where they knock 5-6 times as many trucks than Tesla does. If my memory serves me right they build about 300,000 trucks a year in that plant alone.

I know the paint they use on Tesla takes forever to cure. I believe this was somewhat resolved when they redid their painting process. The other thing they do different is multiple tasks at each point whereas Ford does one task at each stop and keeps the line moving every minute.

I looked it up on their website and it says.

Daily production: more than 1,200 vehicles
 
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Biker

Member
Apr 30, 2013
110
1
Canada
It is still apples and oranges. You are comparing total labour vs total elapsed time.

Also want to know if that 30 hours includes the labour in the major sub-components such as: engine, exhaust system, etc.
 

Yggdrasill

Active Member
Feb 29, 2012
4,107
7,107
Kongsberg, Norway
Maybe Tesla has a longer production time per car, but I agree labour time says absolutely nothing. You could have a completely automated line with one operator churning out 100 cars per hour, with 10000 cars on the line at any given time, and you could have a completely manual line with 1000 employees producing 100 cars per hour, with 200 cars on the line at any given time. The former would be 100 hours production time per car and 0.01 hours labour time per car. The latter would be 2 hours production time per car and 10 hours labour time per car. We're talking about completely seperate concepts.
 
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