Tesla Motors is steadily increasing the rate of production of its Model S electric sedans, CEO Elon Musk said this week. “We’re above 400 a week at the current manpower, and not trivially above it,” Musk told Bloomberg in an interview. By late 2014, production is “going to 800 a week. I’m very confident we’ll get there.”
The company has forecast Model S sales of 21,000 this year, as deliveries to Europe and Asia have now begun.
According to musk, the company is continually improving the production process, allowing it to build more cars in the same number of man-hours. The factory has 3,000 employees, including about 2,000 assembly workers, and operates two shifts per day.
“It will be interesting to see how far they can improve assembly-line efficiency because these guys aren’t a division of GM or some other big carmaker,” Kelley Blue Book analyst Karl Brauer told Bloomberg. “They can’t pull on decades of institutional knowledge.”
Tesla bought the 5 million-square-foot factory in 2010. Before that, it was operated by a joint venture of GM and Toyota, and had a capacity of 500,000 vehicles a year. Someday, the plant will return to that production level, Musk said. Tesla’s Model X SUV is due in late 2014, and the company has discussed plans for a smaller and cheaper sedan as well as a compact SUV. “We’re going to have every kind of car you could possibly imagine,” Musk told Bloomberg. “If it moves, we’ll make it.”
The stock market seems to agree with the optimistic projections. TSLA set another new high on Monday morning, accelerating past $133 per share.
Image: Tesla Motors