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Tesla Factory: 3/29/2017 vs. 3/22/2016

Discussion in 'TSLA Investor Discussions' started by engle, Mar 30, 2017.

  1. engle

    engle Member

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    #1 engle, Mar 30, 2017
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2017
    My family toured Tesla Factory on 3/29/2017 with good friends who were picking up their Red Model S 60D (75D unlockable), exactly a year and a week since I toured it 3/22/2016 when I took delivery of my Model X P90D F00041X. You can't take photographs, but I can tell everyone that there is an enormous area of the factory where the Model 3 assembly line is being built. There are Kuka robots all over the place waiting to be installed. It's a beautiful thing. One of the guys that works there said there's so much activity going on, that he and a friend challenge each other each morning to see if they can figure out what's new that day.

    I also learned why they need alpha build, beta build, and now they just built the first "release candidate" according to Elon's tweet. It's mostly because of the stamped body parts. They get pre-production molds from a company (I think they bought it?) in Michigan that are good for up to ~100 presses each. Stamp out all the Model 3 body panels, put them together. The tolerances on alpha/beta are off because even with CAD, you can't predict how much "bounce back" each steel (or aluminum) body panel will exhibit after it's stamped. So it's an iterative process. The tour guide - you ride on an electric tram - was awesome - an 8-year TSLA employee from when they only had 400 trying to get the roadsters out the door in Menlo Park -- now over 30,000. I wish I'd thought to audio record his tour narration it was so informative.

    All the employees I encountered had smiles on their faces, and numerous people working in the factory waved or smiled at us on the tour. Understandable with the stock approaching its all-time high! I'd thought of selling some of my shares, hoping to buy them back on another pullback, but after seeing what's going on at the factory today, I'm going to let it all ride!

    The "Tesla Factory Delivery Experience" is also cranked way up compared to a year ago. After the tour, there's a large space inside with drinks and snacks, followed by a very informative presentation given by two staff members to the tour group covering all the basics: how to use the bluetooth key fob, starting your Tesla, charging options, the Tesla app, what ownership means, etc. Then everyone was taken by their personal delivery concierge to their new Tesla in a huge white tent. They can deliver 18 vehicles simultaneously now. There were 11 S & X being delivered at 5:30 pm today. In the back area of the tent, there were at least 100 new Teslas crammed in getting prepped for delivery, probably on 3/30 and 3/31 as part of the end-of-quarter rush.

    huge white tent interior

    It was funny when we got to my friend's Model S, his 12-year-old son says to the Tesla rep: "May I have the key". Over time, Tesla's will become a multi-generational purchase, e.g. "It's not your father's (mother's) Tesla!".

    Obviously, this isn't a financially analytical post, but based on what I saw in the factory today, TSLA is running on all cylinders (pun intended). There were tons of body panels and electric motors with just one moving part in the "buffer" zone. It felt like being inside the "Monsters, Inc." film, but for cars instead of doors! The line was certainly moving faster than it did last March, although I couldn't time it with the tram driving by the way it does. The Model S and Model X are assembled on the same line. It starts out split, for left side panels / right side panels. When the line merges to one, the bodies are lifted into the air and go around a track. It was really cool during the tour when a blue Model S appeared and passed right over our heads! I learned the line never has to stop or slow if there is an issue with a particular vehicle. They have what is essentially a shunt track to take these off the main line for correction(s). When all the body panels are assembled, there are two huge Kuka robots that grab the glider and lower it to the ground, I believe onto the chassis. From there, they travel on those robotic sleds to the stations where other stuff gets installed. It seemed there are fewer humans involved a year later, which makes sense.

    I noted last week when I stopped by Factory Service Center that they have already started factory expansion for Model 3. The entire back of that parking lot has been fenced off and there is construction commenced. Also, further south down Kato Road, active tenant improvements inside the future Service Center and Delivery Center are underway. That will free-up more space inside the factory, and provide an additional 20 superchargers.


    01713930708e9b7bdc5544008641dae6f501f7a665.jpg

    These were the highest X and S VIN's on 3/22/2017:

    01af2bc934ae02f347c4b54b7d43277f417d4d62ec.jpg

    014491277f7e7451ef63790911abb016a4e9de9771.jpg

    I was too busy helping my friend inspect his new S today to check VIN's.
     
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  2. engle

    engle Member

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    This is set to a cover of David Bowie's "Under Pressure" by Small Brown Bike & The Casket Lottery. It is an appropriate choice since TSLA under intense pressure to get Model 3 ramped up on time to start filling those orders.

    The shorts, on the other hand, would love it if TSLA won "The Casket Lottery"! :D
     
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  3. jeewee3000

    jeewee3000 Show me what you got!

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    Good to hear things are running smoothly at the factory.

    What I've always wanted to ask: isn't it dangerous to throw these VIN numbers around online? Most people don't seem to mind, but if you know all details of a car, can't thieves copy VIN numbers?

    Eg. from your pics I gathered there is a blue Model S out there with that exact VIN. So let's say I stole a blue model S and changed it's VIN to the above, my stolen vehicle (and reported as such) cannot be found by the authorities 'cause it checks out. Only when checking the registration papers you could get in trouble. (And yes, changing the VIN on cars happens a lot with stolen cars. I know because of my profession).

    Call me paranoid, but I'd never throw sensitive information like that online.
     
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  4. jaguar36

    jaguar36 Active Member

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    Considering the VIN is clearly displayed on every car its hardly sensitive information. In addition for every CPO Tesla (and many other car sellers) post the VINs and full details on them.

    To the OP, have you been to any other modern car factories to compare? I'm curious how the Tesla factory compares to say a modern BMW or Toyota factory.
     
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  5. MitchJi

    MitchJi Trying to learn kindness, patience & forgiveness

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    #5 MitchJi, Mar 30, 2017
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2017
    @engle, thanks for your post!

    How much information about the production numbers can you glean from a tour?
    Do they still have a whiteboard with the production numbers?

    I'm planning to try to arrange (find someone who is picking up a car to accompany) tours a few weeks before each quarter ends, when they start planning to produce M3's. Mid June, mid September etc.

    How much information would I be able to gather about production numbers if I did that? At a minimum I could at lest get and idea of how fast the line was moving (I could time the speed with a stop watch between fixed points) on each tour and compare the speeds? Could that be done at the end of the line?
    About how long does the delivery process take for the eighteen cars?
     
  6. HankLloydRight

    HankLloydRight Fluxing

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    One only needs to walk the lot of any Tesla Sales center at night and collect all the VINs they want. I don't think posting one more online is going to help thieves any.

    You can also go to cars.com or ebay or autotrader and collect all the VINs you could possibly want or need.
     
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  7. schonelucht

    schonelucht Active Member

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    So the Model 3 line is not up and running at all? Were the release candidates they recently build not supposed to be almost completely done on the final production line?!?
     
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  8. MorrisonHiker

    MorrisonHiker S 90D 2017.34 2448cfc

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    There are thousands of inventory and CPO VIN numbers displayed on Tesla's website so I don't think a few pictures are dangerous.
     
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  9. MitchJi

    MitchJi Trying to learn kindness, patience & forgiveness

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    #9 MitchJi, Mar 30, 2017
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2017
    No, they were produced using production equipment. I believe that they used the actual production equipment to manufacture the parts (or used parts supplied by suppliers), but assembled the parts by hand.

    Why are you constantly looking for any sign of a possible discrepancy, then immediately jump to the conclusion that Tesla has lied?

    Why would you even consider investing in a company that is so dishonest that you think that it requires constant vigilance by investors to determine if they are lying about material facts?
     
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  10. Gerasimental

    Gerasimental Member

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    Good idea, thanks!!
     
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  11. schonelucht

    schonelucht Active Member

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    That leaves more scope of delay than I hoped for when I was still assuming release candidates were actually build on the production line.

    Where did I jump to that conclusion?

    But it is true that I am very skeptical about the echo chamber of positive news that TMC is. The good tends to be magnified and the bad left unmentioned.

    Because sadly, it is the only company that seems to act with any sense of urgency on the upheaval that the car manufacturing business is experiencing. Believe me, if I could invest in a different company with that same urgency and a more straightforward leadership, I would.
     
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  12. geneclean55

    geneclean55 Active Member

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    You most definitely have concluded that Tesla has lied in the past. I can locate the posts if need be.
     
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  13. Branzo90D

    Branzo90D Salt and Pepper

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    @schonelucht said, "Because sadly, it is the only company that seems to act with any sense of urgency on the upheaval that the car manufacturing business is experiencing. Believe me, if I could invest in a different company with that same urgency and a more straightforward leadership, I would."

    I think you may be seeking a different unicorn there. ;)

    The reason Tesla is urgently seeking disruption is due to Elon's driving vision for the company. I think Elon is as straightforward about the issues you mentioned as he is capable of being. Given how hard he is trying to drive EV technology (and several others) forward, the number of unknowns and difficult to control variables, etc., I am not sure how you would find any true alternative to Tesla. If you could, it would be at a different state of development, have fewer assets and backers, and not meet your requirement for "urgency" and "upheaval" on anywhere near the scale Tesla is currently doing it in EVs, electric storage technology, battery manufacturing, solar electricity generation, etc., etc.

    I am immensely happy that a single Tesla exists and can't imagine that more than one such disruptive company could exist simultaneously.

    "Just my opinion. I could be wrong."
     
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  14. schonelucht

    schonelucht Active Member

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    Of course I have, because they have. I was talking about the specific topic of the this thread. With regards of the Model 3 roll out I have actually been mostly surprised how well reality and management talk agreed.

    I agree. Which is why I am still interested in investing in Tesla despite all my misgivings.
     
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  15. geneclean55

    geneclean55 Active Member

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    Have you commented as such on here? Otherwise people will converge on your typical opinion of Tesla.
     
  16. vgrinshpun

    vgrinshpun Supporting Member

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    #16 vgrinshpun, Mar 30, 2017
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2017
    It could be also that M3 stamping (parts) AND body assembly line are operational enough to produce (dozens?) release candidates bodies -in-white, with final assembly done by hand in a make-shift area, not using final assembly line as it was not completed yet. Kind of doubtful that release candidate bodies were welded/riveted/bonded (whatever the process is) together by hand.
     
  17. MitchJi

    MitchJi Trying to learn kindness, patience & forgiveness

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    I agree.

    Can you, or anyone else answer my questions about the factory tours?
     
  18. schonelucht

    schonelucht Active Member

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    I believe I have. My last most pertinent comment on Model 3 planning was (after the burst of Elon tweets)

    Note the very last sentence. Before that I also wrote (at the announcement of the release candidates)

    No hint of disagreement or 'searching for lies' there from me, although it would have been pretty easy to be Debby Doubtful then. Also, since you are so well versed in my history I am sure you know that this was actually me being very appreciative of Tesla progress since it hits exactly a bullet point I called out last year in a post on the milestones I would like for Tesla to meet in 2017? With your deep understanding of my typical opinion I am sure you will have no issue to source that post ?

    Is it maybe possible that there is a little confirmation bias on your end with regards to my 'typical opinion'?
     
  19. geneclean55

    geneclean55 Active Member

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    I was merely asking you a question, and you provided me with an answer. Which I appreciate.
     
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  20. vgrinshpun

    vgrinshpun Supporting Member

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    #20 vgrinshpun, Mar 30, 2017
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2017
    I have been on one tour of the factory, and can tell you that there is no science to extracting information you are looking for - it is more of an art. Timing the line is very difficult as you are driven around in a tram with on a route which probably has a lot of variability and it is just not clear whether you'll be able to observe any given point and do timing of the production flow.

    I did see the white board on my tour with the goal/achieved production for each day of the week somewhere in the final assembly area as the tour tram was passing by, but it is not given that you'll have enough time to extract information from it. I also think that there are similar white boards in other areas of the factory as well.

    I think that asking guide questions that are of interest could produce some results, but it is hit or miss process.

    So once again, there is more of an art then science to extract material information from a factory tour.
     
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