In Depth

Tesla Model 3: referral codes, prices, range, reviews and UK release

Elon Musk hints that the budget EV’s arrival in Europe isn’t far off

17 April

Tesla halts Model 3 production for second time in two months

Tesla has temporarily suspended manufacturing of its Model 3 electric car for the second time in two months, despite long waiting lists and a series of missed targets.

A spokesperson for the company said the assembly line at its plant in Fremont, California, and its Gigafactory in Nevada had been paused in order to “improve automation”. Tesla employees told BuzzFeed News that the shutdown came into effect “without warning” on Monday and would last for four or five days. 

The website reports that staff working on production lines claim to have been asked to stay at home without pay or use their allocation of holiday leave. A “small number of workers” have reportedly been offered paid work elsewhere in the factory. 

Last week, company chief Elon Musk said on Twitter that “excessive automation” on the Model 3’s production line was a “mistake”. That admission has led to speculation that the latest shutdown was triggered by safety concerns. 

Tesla has denied the safety claims. A spokesperson told the Financial Times that the latest halt on manufacturing was “planned” prior to Monday’s factory shutdown. 

“These periods are used to improve automation and systematically address bottlenecks in order to increase production rates”, the spokesperson said. 

The company gave a similar statement when manufacturing was temporarily suspended in late February. 

All the same, the shutdown is “another setback” for Tesla, which has missed a series of targets to boost manufacturing outputs to 5,000 Tesla 3 cars a week, says Bloomberg.

Production currently sits at around 2,000 a week, although manufacturing rates are expected to improve in the second quarter of the year, the news site adds.

27 March

Tesla Model 3: revamped nav system launches this weekend

Tesla co-founder Elon Musk has announced that a revamped version of the electric car firm’s navigation system is on course to launch this weekend. 

The South African-born billionaire revealed in a tweet on Sunday that the software update “should be considered a mature beta at first”, suggesting users may experience some bugs or glitches. 

While Musk cautioned his 20.7 million followers that the system “won’t be perfect” at launch, he said the software will “improve rapidly” through regular updates. 

According to Engadget, the current version of the system uses third-party software that has become too old to be upgraded with “small improvements”.

Details of the nav update are scarce, but Electrek says the system is expected to have a “significantly” improved zoom function and smoother animations. 

Those improvements will be evident on the large centre console displays that appear on Tesla’s Model 3, S and X, the tech site says, while the nav system that is housed behind the steering wheel will also be more detailed. 

Not only will the revamped software bring improvements to the nav system, Teslarati says it could lead to an upgraded version of the company’s self-driver Autopilot feature in the future.

Tesla is planning a “coast-to-coast” drive across the US using the yet-to-be-released version 2.0 of the Autopilot suite later this year, the site says, suggesting the update could be just around the corner for customer cars.

13 March

Tesla Model 3: production halted in February

Tesla paused production of its Model 3 electric car for four days last month in order to sort tackle the latest glitches on the problem-prone production line, it has emerged.

The shutdown occured between 20 and 24 February at the Tesla assembly plant in Fremont, California, while equipment adjustments were made in a bid to improve production output rates, Reuters reports.The company’s Nevada-based Gigafactory, where it makes batteries for the electric vehicle, was also closed.

In an email to Reuters, a Tesla spokesperson said the manufacturing pause had been planned and was common practice for carmakers looking to ramp up production of a new product. 

“These periods are used to improve automation and systematically address bottlenecks in order to increase production rates,” the spokesperson added. 

The Model 3 was expected to be an “easier car to manufacture” than Tesla’s Model S and X, but the firm has missed multiple production targets since the budget EV launched last July, says BGR

Last month, Tesla told investors it was targeting an output of 2,500 Model 3s per week by the end of March, and 5,000 cars per week by June, CNBC reports.

The planned factory downtime appears to have been a success, according to Bloomberg, which says that Tesla Model 3 vehicle registrations “rebounded in early March”.

 

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