Tesla faces production challenges as its battery chief departs

  • Ashley Leader
  • 10 Months ago
  • 0

Tesla, Inc. has a tough year ahead as it attempts to exponentially increase production even as its battery chief has just announced his departure.

Tesla first unveiled the Model 3 in 2016, but it’s only this July that the company has actually delivered any of them.

Pricing for the Model 3 starts at $35,000. That’s a pretty moderate price for Tesla, if not for the majority of consumers. However, to get all the much-touted features such as autopilot, you’ll have to shell out around $60,000.

Tesla’s battery chief Kelty departs

In the midst of all the publicity and high expectations for the Model 3, Tesla has lost its director of battery technology, Kurt Kelty.

In a statement, a Tesla spokesperson thanked Kelty for his work at the company and confirmed that Kelty had left in order to “explore new opportunities.”

Kelty had held the post at Tesla since 2006. Before coming to Tesla, Kelty worked at Panasonic for fifteen years.

At Tesla, Kelty worked to coordinate battery cell material sourcing. Kelty also frequently negotiated on behalf of Tesla in building partnerships with other companies.

This March, Kelty accepted the International Battery Seminar’s 2017 “Battery Innovator of the Year” award on behalf of Tesla.

A steep production ramp ahead for Tesla

Tesla might have a bumpy road ahead, production-wise, as reservations for the freshly rolled-out Model 3 roll in quicker than the company can yet fulfill them.

According to Elon Musk, the company receives 1,800 Model 3 reservations per day. So far, it has only sold the Model 3 to employees.

Some have criticized the Model 3’s price point as too high for the features on offer, as compared with similarly priced vehicles from luxury automakers. Still, people seem to really want the car, and demand is high, at least for now.

In order to meet this high demand, Tesla plans to produce 100 cars this August, 1,500 in September, and 20,000 per month leading up to December. In 2018, the company hopes to make 50,000 cars per month. That’s over half a million per year. All that adds up to a very sharp increase in production.

Musk maintains that despite the tricky road ahead for Tesla, people have no cause for worry, as he is confident that the company will meet its production goals.

Tesla is currently flush with funding, thanks in no small part to the media storms its CEO Elon Musk is able to conjure up. Indeed, Musk claims the highly publicized Model 3 release has also sparked an uptick in Model S and Model X cars.

Over the course of the last year, 63,000 people canceled Model 3 reservations. Musk has a positive spin on this news: the lost reservations mean less cars for the company to worry about making in the coming months. Besides, the company still has over 450,000 reservations on the books for the Model 3. That’s enough to keep them busy for about a year, at least.

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Give me a book and a pair of running shoes and I will be pretty satisfied with life.