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Fear of “Manufacturing Hell” Has Investors Unplugging From Tesla

Model 3 ramp-up could prove seriously challenging, CEO Musk warns.

by on Aug.01, 2017

An SRO crowd gathers for the event marking the delivery of the first Tesla Model 3 on 7-28-17.

After spending months driving up the shares of Tesla, Inc., investors seemed ready to run on Monday after outspoken CEO Elon Musk warned that his company could face a half-year of “manufacturing hell” trying to ramp up production of the new Model 3 battery-electric sedan.

The Model 3 is Tesla’s long-awaited entry into the mainstream market, with prices ranging from around $35,000 to $60,000. The California carmaker is believed to have as many as 400,000 advance reservations. But it will face a serious challenge, Musk acknowledged, boosting production at the Tesla plant in Fremont, California to the point where it can roll out the promised 500,000 vehicles next year.

Breaking News!

Investors aren’t the only ones worried. A group of Tesla workers on Monday asked the company’s board to provide a plan that will, among other things, address worker safety during an aggressive ramp-up aiming to boost production almost five-fold from 2017 to 2018. Tesla has come under fire in recent months over allegations of unusually high injury rates at the suburban San Francisco plant.

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Musk Wants to Open More Car, Battery Plans

Looking at “two or three” Gigafactories in U.S. alone.

by on Jul.17, 2017

A new Model 3 in front of Tesla's Fremont, CA plant.

The coming months will be the real test for Tesla. With the launch of the new Model 3 we’ll soon discover whether this money-losing niche player can transform itself into an immensely profitable, mainstream automaker.

No surprise, CEO Elon Musk is already looking at what will have to happen as Tesla grows, and grows fast, 2018 volume forecast to hit 500,000 battery-electric vehicles, or six times the company’s 2016 volume. To keep up with anticipated demand, especially with even more products in the pipeline, Tesla is laying plans for a network of new car and battery plants.

Breaking News!

If Tesla hits its target with the Model 3, the company’s Fremont, California assembly plant will be “bursting at the seams,” Musk recently told shareholders. He has been dropping plenty of hints on what will follow, and that is likely to include at least one more assembly plant in the U.S., as well as one in China, while we could see as many as 20 new Gigafactory battery plants.

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Tesla Factory a “Predator Zone,” Claims Female Former Employee”

A.J. Vandermeyden opens up on allegations, lawsuit.

by on Jul.10, 2017

Former Tesla employee AJ Vandermeyden has sued over alleged sexual harassment at the Fremont plant. Photo courtesy The Guardian.

Adding to the list of problems facing Tesla Motors, the automaker is battling a lawsuit filed by former employee A.J. Vandermeyden, who accuses the automaker of tolerating a culture of “pervasive harassment” at its assembly plant in Fremont, California.

That’s the same factory that, just last Friday, produced the first of the automaker’s eagerly awaited Model 3 battery-sedans – and the same factory where a recent report noted Tesla had been experiencing significantly higher injury rates than at assembly plants producing far more vehicles.

The Full Story!

In a report by the Guardian newspaper, the 33-year-old Vandermeyden opened up about why she was suing Tesla for sexual harassment after being fired from her job in Fremont. The paper outlined conditions that many employees described during a Tesla town hall meeting earlier this year as a “predator zone,” where, they charged, female workers were open targets for male bosses.

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It’s Official: 1st Tesla Model 3 Rolls Off the Line

Pricing still TBD.

by on Jul.10, 2017

The first saleable Tesla Model 3 poses in front of the company's Fremont, CA plant.

Twitter-savvy Tesla CEO Elon Musk has posted a picture of what appears to be the first “saleable” Model 3 sedan to roll off the battery-carmaker’s Fremont, California assembly line, a critical step in Tesla’s push to become a truly mainstream manufacturer.

But the company appears to have pushed back on its promise to start taking official orders for the new Tesla Model 3 on Friday and still has not given a clear sense of pricing for the compact battery-electric vehicle. A visit to the Tesla website only reveals the same information that had been up there for some time, among other things noting a “starting price” of $35,000.

Breaking News!

Tesla has a lot riding on the Model 3 launch. Though there are plenty of skeptics, Musk has outlined a plan that would take the company’s production to 500,000 vehicles in 2018 – a sixfold increase from 2016 – and Model 3 would account for about 80% of that total.

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Tesla Workers Suffer Injuries “On Regular Basis,” Reveals New Report

Rate of injuries declining, company says.

by on May.25, 2017

The Tesla plant in Fremont originally was built by GM and later run as a GM-Toyota joint venture.

Workers at the Tesla assembly plant in Fremont, California suffered injuries at a 31% higher rate than the auto industry average, according to a new study by the non-profit group Worksafe, and more serious injuries occurred almost twice as often.

The study could complicate Tesla’s challenges at its only plant – which is getting ready to start production of the critical new Model 3 battery-electric vehicle at the same time there is a push by some workers to create a local union.

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Beyond the Headlines!

For its part, Tesla confirmed it has had problems, though it insists the issue is rapidly being addressed. “We may have had some challenges in the past as we were learning how to become a car company, but what matters is the future and with the changes we’ve made. We now have the lowest injury rate in the industry by far.”

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UAW Eyes Tesla for Organization Movement

Union leader Williams reiterates desire to help Mexican workers.

by on May.20, 2016

UAW President Dennis Williams said the union intends to organize workers at Tesla's plant in California.

The United Auto Workers will attempt to organize workers at Tesla, UAW President Dennis Williams told reporters during a recent roundtable discussion at union headquarters in Detroit.

“We have contacts there. We know that plant very well. It’s the old NUMMI plant. We’re very interested in Tesla,” Williams said.

Union News!

The Tesla factory is in Fremont, California, just outside San Francisco. The electric car company builds its Model S and new Model X there and it once belonged to the New United Motors Manufacturing Inc., a General Motors and Toyota joint venture that employed 5,000 UAW members. The NUMMI plant closed in 2010 and Tesla now has about 1,000 employees at the site. (more…)

Tesla Puts Stop to Production Line for Upgrades

EV maker invests $100 million to tool up for new model.

by on Jul.21, 2014

Tesla shut down its assembly line today to begin $100 million in tooling and other upgrades to improve plant efficiency and get it ready for the Model X.

The sounds of robots and humans making new Teslas at the company’s plant in Fremont, California, has been silenced, and been replaced by the sounds of humans installing in $100 million in tooling and making other upgrades at the facility.

The EV maker has shut its line down to improve the efficiency of the current set up for the Model S as well as readying it to manufacture the all-new Model X crossover. The line will be back up at full production on Aug. 4, according to reports.

News You Can Trust!

The improvements are expected to raise production levels by 25%. The company reports it will make 35,000 cars in 2014, which is up from just over 20,000 last year. The new Model X, a smaller, less-expensive vehicle than the Model S, hits showrooms sometime next year. The two models will be built on the same line. (more…)

Three Tesla Workers Hospitalized after Factory Accident

Maker said equipment failure led to mishap.

by on Nov.14, 2013

Three workers were injured yesterday at Tesla's plant in Freemont, Calif.

Tesla’s run of bad news continued yesterday when three workers were hospitalized after being injured by hot metal at the company’s Freemont, Calif., plant.

“There was a failure in a low pressure aluminum casting press. Three employees were injured by hot metal from that press. We are making sure that they receive the best possible care,” the company said in a statement.

Auto Show Central!

The Freemont fire department said there was no fire and that it was treating the incident as an industrial accident. The workers were taken to a hospital, but their condition at this time is unknown. (more…)

Tesla Sets Price, Production Plans for Model S

Battery sedan will start at $57,400 - before federal tax credits - when launched in mid-2012.

by on Mar.07, 2011

The Tesla Model S will go on sale in mid-2012 at a base price of $57,400 minus the federal $7,500 tax credit.

The first Tesla Model S sedan will roll off the maker’s new assembly line in mid-2012 and carry a base price of $57,400, which would drop to $49,900 after federal tax incentives of $7,500.

Tesla will offer a wide-range of options – including a choice of three battery packs capable of delivering up to 300 miles per charge, according to the Silicon Valley start-ups Vice President of Sales George Blankenship.

“It is clear that our customers would like to keep up with progress as we work towards first deliveries in 2012,” the executive writes in a new blog post that follows a meeting with 50 current Tesla Roadster owners at the company’s newest dealership, in Milan, Italy.

News Now!

The first so-called “Alpha” engineering prototypes began road testing in December, noted Blankenship.  Preparations are now underway for “Beta” models, which are described as “production-intent,” or essentially identical to what Tesla will produce when manufacturing gets underway in mid-2012 at the factory the company acquired last year.

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