Tesla briefly halted work on the Model 3 late last month in another attempt to address what CEO Elon Musk has previously described as ‘production hell.’
The firm suspended production from from Feb. 20-24 for planned work to adjust equipment in order to improve automation and increase production rates.
Tesla said the planned pause was normal and common for increases in output when a company is ramping up a new product.
Production of the highly-anticipated car has been plagued with delays, causing the firm to push back its targets numerous times last fall and early this winter.
‘Our Model 3 production plan includes periods of planned downtime in both Fremont and Gigafactory 1,’ a Tesla spokesperson said in an email.
‘These periods are used to improve automation and systematically address bottlenecks in order to increase production rates.’
Fremont, where the Teslas are built, is near San Jose, California. Their batteries are manufactured at the Gigafactory 1 in Sparks, near Reno, Nevada.
The company did not provide specifics about the production upgrade, but it said there could be more periods of downtime in coming months.
Last month, Tesla said in a shareholder note that it continues to target weekly Model 3 production rates of 2,500 by the end of the first quarter and 5,000 by the end of the second quarter.
The company, however, said in the note that while it has plans to achieve those goals, ‘our prior experience on the Model 3 ramp has demonstrated the difficulty of accurately forecasting specific production rates at specific points in time.’
‘We are taking many actions to systematically address bottlenecks and add capacity in places like the battery module line where we have experienced constraints, and these actions should result in our production rate significantly increasing during the rest of (the first quarter) and through (the second quarter),’ the company said in the note to shareholders.
In the fourth quarter, Tesla said it delivered 28,425 Model S and Model X vehicles and 1,542 Model 3 vehicles, totaling 29,967 deliveries.
Meanwhile, the firm appears to be making steady progress with the Tesla Semi.
Elon Musk shared a photo last week showing two of the electric big rigs side-by-side in the Gigafactory parking lot in Nevada, gearing up for their first production cargo trip.
The black and silver trucks are towing battery packs to the firm’s California factory.
Just weeks earlier, one of the prototype Semis was spotted on the street in the San Francisco Bay Area.
The move marks a major milestone toward the eventual release of the highly anticipated electric truck.
‘First production cargo trip of the Tesla Semi heavy duty truck, carrying battery packs from the Gigafactory in the Nevada mountains to the car factor in California,’ Musk wrote alongside the photo.
The Tesla Semi is said to be capable of traveling 500 miles on a charge when moving at highway speed with its maximum weight load, 80,000 pounds.
Diesel trucks, on the other hand, can go about 1,000 miles on a tank of fuel.
It can hit 60 miles per hour in five seconds without cargo, and 20 seconds towing a full load.
Musk first unveiled the electric Semi at an event last November, during which he rode one into an airport hangar outside of Los Angeles.
They’re expected to roll out next year – but already, there have been several major orders, including PepsiCo, UPS, and Budweiser-maker Anheuser-Busch.
A video of the big rigs stirred fresh excitement last month over the all-electric truck.
The rare glimpse of the prototype was captured by YouTube user Richard Fielder in the Bay Area where Tesla Semis are being tested.
The clip shows just how quickly the massive electric vehicle can accelerate.
So far, only those in the San Francisco area have a chance at getting a sneak peak at the vehicle.