Ben Sullins of Teslanomics has done a calculation of Tesla’s Model 3 production capacity and estimated that Tesla will be able to deliver some 83,000 Model 3 cars in 2017. Sullins’ prediction chamber from historic data about the production capacity of Tesla’s Fremont factory, statements by Tesla CEO Elon Musk about the production of the Model 3, and inferences based upon Tesla’s first-quarter results.
Sullins did an analysis of the production capacity of Tesla’s Fremont factory when it went by the name of NUMMI. NUMMI produce its last vehicle in April of 2010, then sold much of their equipment at auction, including many pieces of equipment to Tesla. Tesla then purchased most of the land that the factory resided on, and proceeded to produce their now famous Model S.
NUMMI was the product of a joint venture between General Motors and Toyota which had a total production capacity of around 500,000 vehicles a year. Sullins used that data to verify initial estimates made by Tesla themselves, then sought out Steve Funk, an automotive analyst, for additional guidance.
Funk did a deep dive into the NUMMI factory production capacity and determined that Tesla’s initial production goal was overly optimistic. Tesla is using one of their to the existing production lines to produce both the Model S and Model X. Taking into account the cost of a second production line as well as an additional shift, Funk thinks Tesla should be able to produce around 226,000 vehicles on their second production line.
Sullins then plotted all of the data points he obtained onto an S-curve and modified it, moving it down from Tesla’s initial plan for upwards of 100,000 Model 3s to come up with the 83,000 figure.