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Timeline Musings

Discussion in 'Model S' started by AnOutsider, Jan 4, 2012.

  1. AnOutsider

    AnOutsider S532 # XS27

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    So, here we are. 2012. Approximately 6 months from the first deliveries. Care to speculate how the next half of a year will unfold?

    Here's a stab in the dark:

    • Late January: More Model S details. Perhaps RCs begin rolling off the line
    • Early February: New design center for Model S, Model X unveiling
    • March: Orders begin to get locked in
    • April: RCs begin to make more rounds, getting reviews and such
    • May: "Dealer" demos are in, test drives possible
    • June: First deliveries begin

    Now this is very rough. I'd imagine the RCs may make several appearances any time from February on (crash tests etc), and we're likely to get more factory events. Dealer demos may happen before we even start locking in configurations as well.

    Either way, I think starting in late January/early February things will begin to snowball :love:
     
  2. Todd Burch

    Todd Burch Electron Pilot

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    I sure hope we get to test drive before we have to lock in our options!!!

    I see test drives more in the March timeframe.
     
  3. gg_got_a_tesla

    gg_got_a_tesla Model S: VIN P65513, Model 3 Res Holder

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    Seems reasonable. Wonder if a Model S RC might be shown off at the Detroit Auto Show starting next week?!
     
  4. ckessel

    ckessel Active Member

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    #4 ckessel, Jan 4, 2012
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2012
    A gentleman (Discoducky) on the TM forms had this post on manufacturing ramp up that I thought was pretty damn cool. It seemed relevant.


    Here ya go, you asked for it...

    It's not going to be linear if they do "quality gates" in that they will build a small # of units, put them under test to failure, examine the results, approve change orders, build the same # of units again and do it all over again until the parts meet production spec's. Then there is also "reworking" online and offline to consider as well as an iterative break/fix cycle of stepping through the gates over and over. I've brought in manpower to handle this for simple reworking. It works but only in a pinch for small amounts of time.

    Oh and I should explain quality gates: This is where you build say 5 units as fast as you can (aka your ideal line speed) and if they all pass and you built them in the ideal amount of time that is said to pass QG1. Then you build 20 and pick 5 to examine at random, if these pass then you pass QG2. But if you find one flaw, then they all must be rexamined and you go back to QG1. If you pass then you build 100 and examine 5 again, at random. See the steps? Once you do this a few times it becomes second nature because you get solid quality at scale without over burdening Quality Control. Yeah Statistical Anaylsis! But it really sucks when you miss something and have to scrap scale quantities of anything (I have stories...). This process nearly elliminates that risk.

    These are very effective in finding MTTF issues as well as throughput/scale issues in material, workmanship and complexity of assembly (picture 3 types of connectors, screws, bolts or whatever that are different but look identical except for their part number). That sucks for the person installing it and being measured on their quality and speed, not to mention the QC person.

    Anyway...If they *did* it this way *and* the VIN00023 is a product of that process then I'd say that they are still at QG1 and are iterating there. Once they pass QG1 we'll know it since they'll really want to show it off since this will be the first unit that can be driven, beaten, used and abused by anyone with a drivers license. I'll be worried if we don't see that prior to April.

    For computers my typical quality gates to ramp were: 5,20,50,1000,100000 (Inspect 5 at random). Each representing a week's worth of time. So if you find a flaw at QG5 and you need to go back to QG1 (depending on the flaw) then it could cost you dearly. This rarely happened but did more often for new lines.

    If TM did Quality Gates I'd expect more like: 3,10,20,50,400 (Inspect 3 at random, but usually first through the line, last and shift change)

    So TM should be able to ramp up to full production without issue in 5 weeks, but that won't happen I'm guessing. It will take 5 to 10 cycles to hit 400. That should take about 4 to 6 months (8 to 12 weeks) assuming all the other things I pointed out go smoothly.

    In order to hit their goal (6000 by years end) and if I had to guess it would be this:
    QG1 needs to pass by the end of Jan at the latest with at least 3 perfect production cars built at scale speed.
    QG2 in Feb/March with 23 (accounts for 7 cycles of break/fix)
    QG3 in April with 100 (accounts for 2)
    QG4 in May/June with 500 (accounts for 1)
    QG5 in July/Aug with 1000 (accounts for 1)


    He also had this to say, actually earlier in the thread, but it's reasonably separate:



    I have a hard time believing the 6K number only since I've had to bring up several computer manufacturing lines. And imagine that vehicle manufacturing lines are mostly just bigger and have more complexity due to the nature of the product (like NHSTA testing).

    If they really did start on Oct 17th and had all the raw parts then *maybe* since VIN00023 was at Bellevue I expect this was built in Freemont, but did not have production parts nor paint finish. So I expect that they are building one or two a week and working through bugs. This could go on for at least 4 to 6 months depending on the level of change requests that go through. So April is the month of no return, since any hard tool change (any change that is necessary to reach production quality and scale assuming no redundancy) and after this time will mean they miss July deliveries.

    The only way they can do 6K cars by this time next year will be:

    0. If they did start using the robots on production spec parts on Oct 17th then maybe since each and every part will need to have tweaks as well as the machine or process bringing the part to production spec's. When I build schedules each piece is assigned a risk value based on critical variables, then floated to ensure it doesn't hit critical path inside of a certain tolerance.
    1. They don't have any supply chain issues on critical raw elements or components. Can't stress this enough as shortages will stop the line. Several risk mitigations need to be in place like pre-pays, just-in-time contract stipulations and supplier quality assurance guarantees.
    2. Robot tech's on site. Those shinny new red robots are going to have issues when they start building. Techs need to be onsite for programming issues and general maintenance during ramp.
    3. Continuous process improvements in place to ensure that TM assembly line techs have the ability to provide feedback to engineers so the line throughput can be improved day over day.
    4. Iterative BOM cost reductions. If TM isn't focused on this from day 1 it will eat into their margins faster than the product comes down the line.
    5. Software burn in. It's not what it sounds like, but is a way of thinking to run diagnostics to ensure MTTF are found for each unique product.

    These are just a few but usually the most important for a new line.​
     
  5. Beavis

    Beavis Signature 991

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    I have a dumb question.....what's an RC?
     
  6. AnOutsider

    AnOutsider S532 # XS27

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    #6 AnOutsider, Jan 4, 2012
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2012
    Release Candidate. In software, the release candidate comes after one or more beta releases. It's pretty close to final, and changes will be made usually only if issues arise.

    ...reading ckessel's novel now :wink:

    *edit* interesting and insightful points. I'd also hope that they're ready to go by April. Elon did say they could start sooner, but wanted to make sure they were delivering the best, so maybe they are on pace to be ready by then.

    I, too am worried though. One small thing can set us back months (look at Fisker -- though I'm honestly of the opinion they were lying the whole time anyway).
     
  7. dsm363

    dsm363 Roadster + Sig Model S

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    Normally means Release Candidate
     
  8. Beavis

    Beavis Signature 991

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    I thought it meant Radio Controlled!
     
  9. AnOutsider

    AnOutsider S532 # XS27

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    haha, well in all seriousness, I had thought about whether or not Tesla would be sending Radio Controlled Model S cars out. They sent them out for the Roadster, not impossible to imagine they may do some for the S as well.
     
  10. vfx

    vfx Well-Known Member

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    discoducky should be here on TMC. Good stuff.

    I also did not know what an RC was (except Zex's car). Thanks.
     
  11. efusco

    efusco Moderator - Model S & X forums

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    Duh...everybody knows this... !!! :wink:

    Good stuff thanks for sharing. Love learning about inside stuff that I have never heard before.
     
  12. Beavis

    Beavis Signature 991

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    I want me an Radio controlled S.
     
  13. Arnold Panz

    Arnold Panz Model Sig 304, VIN 542

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    On the timeline, I had a random call today from Tesla asking about the Model S prototype event in South Florida I attended over the summer. Why they called now I have no idea. Anyway, we had a great conversation on lots of topics, and I asked about some of the timeline. He said that the design studio would be updated with interior options "very soon". He said test drives would be available "late spring/early summer", and deliveries would start late summer.

    Frankly, I'd be shocked if they started deliveries before late July, which is the latest Elon promised. I realize that late July makes it virtually impossible to do 6000 cars this year, but I think they'll consider a car starting assembly (or maybe locked in) in that 6000 count, but 6000 won't be delivered before 12.31.12. I'd guess more like 3000-4000.
     
  14. AnOutsider

    AnOutsider S532 # XS27

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    Elon actually said July 1st was the latest they'd start. That's early summer I think, but of course they could just deliver a handful of vehicles and still claim they started...
     
  15. Mycroft

    Mycroft Life happens

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    No, he said no later than July, which means technically no later than July 31st. I think he's shooting for earlier and doesn't want to over promise.
     
  16. WhiteKnight

    WhiteKnight _____ P85 #549 _____ Sig Red / Sig White

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    April is the earliest, May more likely, that they get the Model S cars in the showrooms so that every reservation holder can take a test drive. Very few people are going to want to lock in their options before test-driving the car.

    This explains why having the Signature edition was such a good idea. It's one set options package and they don't have to tweak it much. Also explains why there is no credit for deleting options (to incentivize you to keep all the options) AND if you delete an option you probably go to the back of the Signature line.

    One final note is that Gilbert Passin (Head of Manufacturing) was quoted saying that cars would be rolling down the line in February. Reading discoducky's timeline I now realize why that needs to happen in order to hit the "Summer 2012" delivery timeline for customers.
     
  17. ckessel

    ckessel Active Member

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    I really wish you hadn't started up this debate again. Really, bolting on 19" wheels at the end is hard on the assembly line somehow?

    Now, if you want to argue you can't downgrade leather, stereo, and other such items for the reasons you mentioned, that's a bit more understandable. Those other options are fairly involved in the assembly line production.

    But paint and tires (the only items Tesla allows a downgrade on)? No. I also seriously doubt someone is going to the end of the line because they don't want Red. We can simply accept the pricing as Tesla's choice of how to treat their Sig customers, but the choice isn't particularly defensible.
     
  18. AnOutsider

    AnOutsider S532 # XS27

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    That implies to accept, with negative feelings. I'm completely fine with the setup.

    I do think what WK says makes some sort of sense. Though, I'd still like to see things like the leather and paint colors in person before ordering, so I still need to see a car. Perhaps that'll be the factory event they hinted at.
     
  19. Mycroft

    Mycroft Life happens

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    That might be a factory event I would go to. If they produced 6-12 maxed out cars in various color schemes and interiors before they were rolled out to the stores. That would give us an opportunity to look at them all at one time. We wouldn't likely get a test drive, but at least we'd be able to see more than just the one or two cars our local store received.
     
  20. ckessel

    ckessel Active Member

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    #20 ckessel, Jan 5, 2012
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2012
    That it makes sense to limit option choices and to incentivize not downgrading?

    If so, can you explain the panoramic roof? Why is it not included by default with a no-cost option to downgrade? Can you explain the rear seats? Why are they not included by default with a no-cost option to downgrade? Surely, the pano roof vs solid is more difficult a production line item than the bolting on of tires.

    In either case, those actions would further the goal WhiteKnight put forth of limiting options and incentivizing sticking with them, but that's not what Tesla has done. As I said, I wish WhiteKnight hadn't decided to defend Tesla on this as a product line optimization item. It's simply not defensible in that manner and Tesla's own actions with the pano roof and rear seat options demonstrates that.

    The only view from which Tesla's choice about keeping cash on the paint/tire downgrades make sense is if Tesla is trying to keep as much of the Sig holder's cash as possible. I've certainly seen people tout that as an awesome business move. That's Tesla's choice to make and it seems to be a done deal. I personally think it's a microcosm example of why people hate how corporations view them as bulging wallets with feet. Elon (or maybe George) stood at the Oct 1 event and called reservation holders "family", which rings rather hollow now.

    That would be accurate, yes, I accept Tesla's pricing choice with negative feelings.

    It's one thing to ask me to live with a choice I don't like. I can do that, it happens every day. It's another to be asked to accept a bogus justification for that choice. I won't do that and I will contest it. I do, however, understand the psychology of wanting to rationalize any less than desirable behavior in people or companies we like. It makes us feel better. I simply say "I accept it, but I don't like or condone it".

    A hypothetical for you. If Tesla charged a $100,000 premium for the Sig, I'd feel the same way, accept with negative feelings (though I'd also think they were insane). Would you, however, still be "completely fine with the setup"? Is your acceptance of Tesla's behavior based on the action's merits or the impact to you personally?
     

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