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MIT Technology Review

Tesla shuts down Model 3 production to “improve automation”

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Assembly of the company’s Model 3 cars will be put on pause to correct for what Elon Musk has admitted was an over-reliance on robots.

The news: The Model 3 production line in Tesla’s plant in Freemont, California, will enter stasis for four to five days as the company works to “improve automation.” Most workers will be expected to use vacation days or stay home without pay.

Too many robots: In an interview with CBS last week, Musk said he has relied too heavily on robotics to build vehicles. As he tweeted, “Yes, excessive automation at Tesla was a mistake. To be precise, my mistake. Humans are underrated.”

By the numbers: Tesla originally promised to produce 5,000 Model 3 cars per week by the end of 2017. The company now claims it will hit that mark by the end of June, though as of March, it was building just 2,020 each week. The shutdown could be a last-ditch effort to throw out some bots and get things back on track, but combined with lax safety and financial worries, it is certain to generate a lot of investor angst for the firm.

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