Enlarge / Tesla’s new supercharger in Arlington, Texas. (credit: Tesla)
Tesla’s Model 3 production bottleneck is “now understood,” according to Panasonic CEO Kazuhiro Tsuga. Reuters reported on Tuesday that Tsuga, whose company jointly operates a Gigafactory in Sparks, Nevada, with Tesla, told an earnings call that battery production output “could soon be increased.” His comments, which come the day before partner Tesla reports its own 2017 Q3 earnings, provided yet another small insight into the “production hell” that has beset the electric vehicle manufacturer as it tries to enter the world of mass production.
Earlier this month, The Wall Street Journal claimed that the 260-odd Model 3s delivered up to that point had “major portions” built by hand, a charge that Tesla strenuously denied.

Although WSJ and others have been pointing to problems with the “body in white” of the Model 3—the mix of aluminum and steel that sits atop the skateboard chassis which will eventually be built by what Elon Musk has previously called an “alien dreadnaught”—from the sounds of things, battery pack production hasn’t been quite that simple either.
“This process (for battery packs) will be soon automated, and then the number of vehicles to be produced will rise sharply,” Tsuga told reporters.

That indicates that until now, the battery pack production hasn’t been automated at the Gigafactory. Obviously, such a process needs to be automated for Tesla to realize its goal of producing 20,000 Model 3s a month.
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