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How many variants of the S are there (AKA Batching)

Discussion in 'Model S: Ordering, Production, Delivery' started by bluetinc, Oct 12, 2012.

  1. bluetinc

    bluetinc Member

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    #1 bluetinc, Oct 12, 2012
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2012
    So I was going through a discussion with a friend about batching of builds of the S. We both came up with the simple theory that you have some batch size, say 10, and you would like to make 10 of exactly the same car. To keep with the deposit sequence, you would start with Special Sig 1, and make 10 of them, which would be distributed out of order to the next people in line (that have that same configuration). You then make 10 of Special Sig 2, then 10 of 3, and so on... Seems simple enough right? Then I decided to figure out how many variants of the S there could be... Well, I was in for a little surprise because it always feels like there are only a few options... Well here are my numbers just for Sigs:

    Options:

    Sig Pref
    (4)Color (WhiteP, Silver, Black, Sig Red)
    (3)Roof (Black, Color, Pano)
    (1)Battery size 85
    (3)Int Leather (Black/Grey/Tan)
    (1)Stereo (Upgrade)
    (1)Tech Package (Installed)
    (1)Suspension (Air)
    (1)Charger (20KW)
    (3)Wheels (19/21/21G)
    (5)Decor (Piano, Obeche M, Obeche G, CF, Lacewood)
    (2)Rear Seats (Yes/No)
    (2)Spoiler (Yes/No)
    (1)Supercharging (Yes)
    (2)Paint Armor (Yes/No)

    Total Sig Pref. Variants : 4,320

    Sig
    (4)Color (WhiteP, Silver, Black, Sig Red)
    (3)Roof (Black, Color, Pano)
    (1)Battery size 85
    (3)Int Leather (Black/Grey/Tan)
    (1)Stereo (Upgrade)
    (1)Tech Package (Installed)
    (1)Suspension (Air)
    (1)Charger (20KW)
    (3)Wheels (19/21/21G)
    (4)Decor (Piano, Obeche M, Obeche G, Lacewood)
    (2)Rear Seats (Yes/No)
    (1)Spoiler (No)
    (1)Supercharging (Yes)
    (2)Paint Armor (Yes/No)

    Total Sig Std. Variants : 1,728

    So simply looking at various Sig variants there are 6,048 versions possible (and when looking at the general production you jump up to almost 120K!). Suddenly it seems that the large out of order gaps that we are seeing seem fairly small, it could very well be that each of the 1000 US sigs are each different and there isn't any way to batch even 2 cars to be exactly the same when leaving the factory so they are batching on only a subset of options that make for a more complicated change up on the line?

    Thoughts?

    Peter
     
  2. Jason S

    Jason S Model S Sig Perf (P85)

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    First the Sig really doesn't have the option to downgrade stereo. Second, all the performance options can be encapsulated into a single variant multiplier since it applies to many items. Purely cosmetic or trivial options could be left off for batching purposes (spoiler, child seats, paint armor).

    4 colors + 3 roofs + ((3 leathers + 2 wheels) * 2 styles (perf or not)) + 5 interiors + 1 extra wheel type (19") = 23 variants by my counting for the Signature types.

    Or did I miss something?
     
  3. kcveins

    kcveins delivery 2/7

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    #3 kcveins, Oct 12, 2012
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2012
    You need to multiply these out (for instance - 4 colors with 3 roofs gives you 12 different combinations) and so you should end up with ~ 4 colors*3 roofs*5 interiors*2 wheels*3 leathers = 360 options (just keeping it simple).
     
  4. bluetinc

    bluetinc Member

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    Quite right on the stereo, I missed that sigs are auto upgraded.

    I have the performance separated into it's own group because the number of interior options is different (you can't get carbon fiber without performance).

    I went ahead and corrected the numbers in my original post.

     
  5. aviators99

    aviators99 Model S - R140

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    Math is wrong on your regular Sig calculation, though.
     
  6. Robert.Boston

    Robert.Boston Model S VIN P01536

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    Spoiler isn't an option on the non-perf.

    In terms of "batching," though, I expect that there are really only a few factors that (might) matter for Sigs:
    1. Paint. I was chatting with the DC store staff yesterday about the custom painted early Sigs; one recounted that ggr's pink was a complete PITA because they had to get the paint line completely clean, then do one car. (The pink was worse than the other custom colors, which were darker.) Apparently added a big delay. Moral: Tesla is batching by paint color.
    2. Perf/non-perf: Some fundamental differences in wiring and drivertrain equipment, which I expect would most reliably done by batching (don't want to accidentally put standard wiring in a performance vehicle).
    3. Pano roof: Maybe, maybe not. In the videos, the roof seems to be a drop-in item.
    4. Stereo upgrade: Possibly, but I don't see any obvious advantage to batching here.
    5. Interior colors/seating/decor/spoiler/wheels: Ditto; these are mostly drop-in items.

    Surely an important batching factor is delivery point: Tesla will want to fill up a trailer to Texas, Florida, etc.
     
  7. Larry Chanin

    Larry Chanin Model S Perf Sig 1055

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    I agree that in a practical sense batching is much more limited for Signatures than these theoretical numbers suggest.

    However, interior selections and decor items are only drop-in items when they are all available to be dropped in. :wink:
    I'm guessing that supplier issues can and probably have had a major impact on creating "batching" deliveries out of reservation sequence, but these issues are very dynamic and so making any intelligent inferences from studying configurations and actual deliveries is almost impossible.

    Likewise, I also think that individual quality problems unique to specific cars make it very difficult for us to ascertain which production batching options have really had an effect on delivery sequence.

    Larry
     
  8. DrDave

    DrDave Member

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    1. The DC rep has zero clue as to how an automotive paint shop works. In no way, shape or form did Tesla have to "clean the paint lines" to do ggr's car. Another example of a rep providing incorrect information. Actually, the custom color vehicles were shipped out to a third party to be painted, and the back to the factory to be built. That's why they were more difficult for Tesla to deal with.

      I posted in another thread how automotive paint shops work, where each color has its own circulation system. So for above you can take out the batching by color factor, does not matter - they are not batching by color.
     
  9. contaygious

    contaygious Active Member

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    I hope not. I'm probably one of the only white tan performance with no pearl.
     
  10. bluetinc

    bluetinc Member

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    DrDave,

    While I'm sure that might be true, I talked with the head of the paint department for quite some time at the factory tour back a year ago and we discussed what it takes for them to change colors up. It was not "free" and "easy" to change up colors and there was a purge cycle involved. His plans definitely included batching of colors to minimize this. Perhaps they have improved the system or decided that the cost is minimal enough that it doesn't matter yet? Do you have any details on Tesla's specific setup?

    Peter

    - - - Updated - - -


    What did I miss? (or is this in reference to the Spoiler option I've now corrected?)

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quite right, corrected.

    - - - Updated - - -

    PS. Not that I give much weight to things said by any one factory person, as I've been talking timelines for delivery windows of my car with the factory, Paint color was specifically mentioned by them, and when asked about destination delivery's affecting production batching I was told not at all..
     
  11. Robert.Boston

    Robert.Boston Model S VIN P01536

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    That's interesting news. Probably affects delivery timing somewhat, though.
     
  12. DrDave

    DrDave Member

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    For a production paint booth, all colors are kept in a separate room in large circulation tanks. These tanks are piped to the booth. When a car comes in, the robots go to a docking station, fill with the amount of paint the car is to be painted, then spray the car. Once the car is gone, the robots purge themselves with water/solvent, a process that takes probably 30-45 seconds, and then fill with whatever color the next vehicle is scheduled to be. Very simple and easy process, done thousands of times a week in plants that are running high volume.

    With the low volumes at Tesla, they may try to run like colors through the booth if possible but pretty much what comes in the door would get painted.
     
  13. aviators99

    aviators99 Model S - R140

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    No, it still seems wrong. When I multiply the numbers, I get a different product than you do.
     
  14. bluetinc

    bluetinc Member

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    I've certainly made sillier mistakes, but I'm still getting 1,728 = 4*3*3*3*4*2*2

     
  15. aviators99

    aviators99 Model S - R140

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    But I'm reading 4*3*3*3*5*2*2 on your option list.
     
  16. bluetinc

    bluetinc Member

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    Got it, thanks for finding that. It was a cut and paste error, there are only 4 trim options on the std. sigs.
     
  17. ElSupreme

    ElSupreme Model S 03182

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    As someone who works in an industry where they change products and clean afterwards often. You always batch if you can. The cost and time required to clean things is significant. And I doubt that Tesla is willing to risk mixing paint, I am sure they have to test the new color after a clean. My client cares WAY too much about quality to switch over between products without testing for being clean.
     
  18. DrDave

    DrDave Member

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    Please trust me, they can (and do) spray red followed by a black followed by a silver, with a purge in between that lasts less than a minute. It's just the way automotive paint lines work when you are trying to spray for volume. They are not switching products, simply colors. When a color is taken out of production, say Signature Red, then yes Tesla will spend the proper time to clean that system before a new color gets put in. But every color in the palette has its own system, and can be sprayed at any given time with minimal time involved.

    Risk mixing paint where? Each color has it's own system. If the robot doesn't purge properly, then yes there is a slight risk. Never spray a white car after a red, or you may end up with something akin to ggr's color. Otherwise just run.
     
  19. Zzzz...

    Zzzz... Member

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    One thing to keep in mind is that end product of paint shop is not going to assembly line right away. Paint shop and assembly are quite independent from each other. And if one stops, that do not affect other.

    It is done by keeping some painted bodies in storage. And assembly line just pick bodies it needs in a given day from stockpile of already painted ones. This is industry standard of doing this things, used by most auto manufacturers. And there was even a video, of Elon Musk walking by the line of painted bodies while giving an interview.

    Bottom line, whether paint shop is using batching or not, that generally do not force assembly line to produce cars of same color in a given day.
     

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