By Kirsten Korosec
May 14, 2018

Tesla has repeatedly fallen short of its production targets for the Model 3 — the company’s important mass-market electric car — blaming the chronic deficit on suppliers, and an over-reliance on complicated automation, as well bottlenecks with battery production at Tesla’s gigafactory near Reno.

Now Tesla CEO Elon Musk is turning to intensive collaboration between programmers to help clear out production bottlenecks. Musk revealed Sunday that a hackathon was underway to fix the two worst robot production choke points. He tweeted the information in a response to an Ars Technica tweet that promoted an article on how Tesla was repeating mistakes made by automakers in the 1980s.

Musk tweeted: “Fair criticism, but we’re fixing it fast. Hackathon going on right now to fix 2 worst robot production choke points. Looks promising.”

Tesla’s Model 3 production problems were first revealed in early October when the automaker reported it had produced just 260 of its new Model 3 electric cars in the third quarter and delivered only 220. Production improved to 2,425 Model 3s in the fourth quarter and 1,542 deliveries, but it was still below expectations.

Tesla reported in April that it had fallen short of its target to produce 2,500 Model 3s per week by the end of the first quarter. The company produced 2,020 Model 3 vehicles in a week at the end of the quarter, prompting Musk to admit that his reliance on automation had caused production bottlenecks.

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