Great Machines to Build Great Machines

by Gill D on September 03, 2020

Tesla's Gigafactory Shanghai is nearing Elon Musk's 'alien dreadnought' phase of total automation. Tesla Giga Shanghai (Gigafactory 3) is Tesla’s production line responsible for the final assemblies of the Tesla Model 3 and it will also produce Tesla's Model Y. Initially, the factory’s production rate was targeted at 3,000 cars a week and will increase to reach 250,000 electric cars annually.

At the end of December, the first 15 cars from the new factory were delivered and early 2020, approximately 1,000 cars were manufactured per week in a single shift of workers. This increased to 2,000 cars per week when Saturday overtime was included.

This week, Tesla released a time-lapse video of its current production activity at Gigafactory 3, showing us what Elon Musk means when referring to Tesla’s “Alien dreadnought.” The brain behind Tesla, Elon Musk has always had incredible ideas about the products he wants to manufacture. But he had a view that the machines and process to build those products had to be just as incredible. The incredible machine that builds incredible machines. So, he’s had a big focus on how Tesla manufactures and we see this with the birth of the EV company’s Gigafactories.
As we’ve learned, Musk doesn’t do things that can be described as ordinary. When he said he wanted the factory to more “alien” than look just like a factory, we knew we had to take him seriously. His ‘alien’ is a machine that produces high-end electric vehicles with high-speed automation.

This idea was first introduced with the manufacturing of the Model 3 cars at Tesla’s Fremont factory. The first version of that production line was known as version 0.5 of Alien Dreadnought. And, as Tesla improves on how its production lines operate, Musk said Alien Dreadnought would get to version 3 in a few years. According to the Tesla founder, version 3 will be streets ahead of where version 0.5 was and he doesn’t expect to have people or manual labor in that production line.

You will still have people working at Tesla of course but they will be there to upgrade and maintain the machines and deal with any variables that occur.
Tesla China released its new video showing the update of its production at Gigafactory Shanghai through its official Weibo account.

While the Tesla Gigafactory Shanghai video demonstrates automation, it is obvious to see that the production line is not fully automated. However, it is impressive to note that Gigafactory 3 is well on its way to reaching that goal. In the time-lapse video, there are sections of production documenting eight robots working simultaneously on individual cars. Although the output does look much more impressive presented in a time-lapse format and may be deceiving showing rapid production instead of realistic activity, the actual production capacity of Gigafactory Shanghai has definitely increased at an astonishing rate.

At the end of the last quarter (in 2020), Tesla announced its annual production capacity was at 200,000 electric vehicles at the Gigafactory in Shanghai. This is definitely a remarkable spike that has happened over the past seven short months since opening and since its initial production. From 3,000 cars being produced per week, it’s a notable feat as the company moves into the year’s third quarter.

Tesla does not only push boundaries on the products it produces but the company continually transforms how it does things, and how it raises the mark in the electric vehicle industry. Musk’s imagination is not of this world so we can look forward to multiple iterations of Alien Dreadnought and ultimately one day, we will get to see the mother of all machines building the best EV products at an unprecedented rate.

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