In January 2019, Elon Musk tweeted that the goal was to finish exterior construction of its new gigafactory in China this summer, start Model 3 production at the end of the year, and reach peak production by 2020.
As promised, the outside is now complete and Tesla announced it will begin hiring in Shanghai — which means, so far, Musk and the gang are right on schedule.
But, recent allegations from current and former Tesla employees working in the company’s open-air GA4 “tent” factory in Fremont, California, paint a picture of fast fixes, maniacal working conditions, and multiple routine QC oversights to cut prices and hit the notoriously aggressive Model 3 production goals.
Under the tent
Over the last few years, Tesla has worked tirelessly to get out of “production hell.” An issue that led to slipping stock, a dwindling chance at profitability, and a CEO on the verge of a mental breakdown.
To get out of it, 4 assembly technicians from GA4 say, their supervisors ordered the use of electrical tape to patch cracks on plastic brackets and housings — the techs provided photographs — and skipped numerous pivotal vehicle tests.
This isn’t the first time
A year ago, Martin Tripp alleged that Tesla manufactured batteries with punctured holes and systemically used waste material in vehicles to meet its lofty production goals.
Tesla sued Tripp for $1m and tried to discredit the former technician, saying the allegations were false, and insisted that he wasn’t a whistleblower, but a criminal.
Regarding the most recent report, a Tesla spokesperson pulled a page from the Tripp playbook, claiming the employees’ damning anecdotes are “misleading.”
Meanwhile, Tesla’s vehicles are becoming more affordable
As the allegations loom, Tesla continues to cut prices across the board, making most versions of the Model S, Model X, and Model 3 cheaper.
This means some of the most technologically advanced and sustainable vehicles in the world are getting closer to mass consumption.
But is Tesla working to save the world from itself, or putting quantity above quality to make a quick buck?
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