Tesla Model S factory tour shows Elon Musk’s robot army

Jul 17, 2013
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Tesla Model S factory tour shows Elon Musk’s robot army

We've been hearing and seeing a lot about Tesla's Model S sedan, which is an all-electric car that looks to break all stereotypes about the greener technology, with CEO Elon Musk proving that electric cars don't need to be small compact go-karts. However, we've never seen the inside of the Tesla factory where they make the Model S, until now.

Wired was able to get a look inside the Tesla factory floor and see how the Model S is made. Of course, robots are a big part of the production line, with a whopping 160 robots lining the factory to complete certain tasks like cutting metal, welding it together, and shaping components.

However, Tesla also has a huge army of human workers as well. In fact, they have 3,000 of them to do the more skillful and detailed work that robots just don't have the capabilities to perform. Perhaps the most impressive thing about the factory is that the car starts with all raw materials, meaning that the Model S starts out as a roll of sheet metal, and almost all of the parts needed are made in-house.

From there, robots cut the sheet metal into panels and presses carve out and shape exterior car parts, like the hood, doors, trunk lid, fenders, etc. Once the body shell is put together, it's taken to the painting department where robots prep, primer, and paint the body shell. From there, it goes to general assembly, where workers play a more important role, like installing the interior and engine.

In the end, it takes anywhere from 3-5 days to make a Tesla Model S, and while the company relies a lot on automation and using robots (even for installing the interior car seats), Tesla's 3,000 employees make sure that the finer details are complete and a Model S is ready to hit the road.


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