Tesla's Achilles heel?

8th March 2018

Tesla's Achilles heel?

I want to talk about Elon Musk. Well actually, I want to talk about testing and development, but I’ll start by talking about Elon Musk.

Surely anyone who can mastermind Space X’s two Falcon Heavy boosters landing simultaneously at the Kennedy Space Center, build a car company that is now worth more than Ford and officially name his Mars space ship the FBR (&£@%ing Big Rocket) must be a genius? Oh, and there was that other thing with PayPal…

The jury is out. Well publicised recent problems with the production of Tesla’s Model 3 suggest there might be a crack in his armour. There appears to have been an over-reliance on CAD software and simulations. In Tesla’s haste to reduce product lead times and get the car to market, it appears that they took the decision to depend on CAD simulations in the development of its body assembly stations and do very little actual testing - if any. Not only that, but the car (according to an article published in Autocar in Nov 17) was production tooled without any prototyping and testing. This saved a year of production time – but at what cost?

With many reports of cars and battery packs being hand assembled, it seems that the product was simply not ready for production. Tesla will hopefully recover from these problems and get the Model 3 on track, but it is a salutary tale for anyone developing a new product, irrespective of how good it is and how capable they are.

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again. Testing and development is absolutely essential!

It will be interesting to see how Dyson, with its exhaustive practical testing and prototyping approach, fares with its forthcoming electric cars.


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