Everyone is going nuts over Model 3 production, so I thought it would be interesting to look at total Tesla production (starting with the first year of the Model S – their first real go at a large volume car) vs the Ford Model T – the first mass produced car ever made. I would venture to say that the difficulty to build these cars in volume for a new company is about the same, despite the ~100 year difference between the two. The Ford Model T had far less complexity, yet there was far less technology in play to be able to build such a machine.
It’s very interesting how closely these two are related. You can see Tesla start to taper off after the 3rd year or so, something that is understandable considering the luxury market the Model S is aimed towards. I suspect we’ll see a sharp kink in the production as the Model 3 ramps up over the next 3 years, getting closer to Model T production numbers.
I find this a really great comparison because they both evaluate a company that started from nothing. I don’t think many people realize just how hard it is to implement the infrastructure to build hundreds of thousands of cars per year. Not only do you need great functional engineering, you also need engineering that is easy to produce and assemble. You also need great machines, great systems, great processes, incredible communication, and above all – the best people.
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