How Tesla Pulled Out All The Stops To Build 5,000 Model 3s In A Week

Tesla has finally achieved a long-sought and self-imposed milestone the past weekend by making 5,000 Model 3s in a week but in order to make this happen, the Freemont factory had to pretty much pull out all the stops.

According to Reuters, the EV maker tapped workers from other departments to keep the Model 3 line running at the necessary speed, disrupting production of the Model S and X lines while weekend shifts were mandatory for Freemont workers.

Stress levels were quite high at the Tesla factory, with Elon Musk reportedly “snapping at his engineers when the around-the-clock production slowed or stopped due to problems with robots”.

In an unprecedented move for the industry, Tesla built an extra line in just two weeks in a huge tent outside the main factory in a bid to help them reach their goal. The tented production area accounted for 20 percent of the Model 3s produced last week.

“They were borrowing people from our line all day to cover their (Model 3) breaks so the line would continue to move,” said a Model S worker on Sunday.

“They’ve been throwing Model 3s ahead of the S to get painted to try to assure that they make their goal of 5,000. The paint department can’t handle the volume”, the worker added.

Tesla’s focus on building Model 3s resulted in leaving the Model S line around 800 cars behind schedule to enter the paint shop. According to Tesla however, there was no disruption to Model S and X production rates. A company’s spokeperson said that workers from other lines had volunteered to help out on the 3 line.

Tesla’s big push has also introduced a rewrite of the employee attendance policy at the Freemont factory. Following mandatory weekend shift assigning, Tesla revoked the company’s policy that promised workers at least one week’s notice before weekend work, according to two workers.

“The manager and supervisor are verbally going around and saying: ‘If you don’t come in, you’ll be written up’,” one of the workers said during last week.

“They said starting tomorrow be prepared to work up to 12 hours,” said the Model S employee on Monday. “It’s going to be basically 12 hours from now on and I’ve got a feeling it’s going to be six days a week.”

The big question remains: Is Tesla going to keep the production rate at consistently high levels –and without relying on overtime and extra hands? The company plans to build 6,000 Model 3s per week by August, so we’ll have to wait at least until then.


  • Six_Tymes

    its called WORKING HARD, and getting the job completed. kudos to Tesla for the big effort.

    • haudit

      Working 72 hours a week isn’t working hard, it’s working people to the point of exhaustion. If they’re at the factory twelve hours a day, six days a week, that leaves them four hours to themselves on a work day if they sleep for the recommended number of hours each night, and even less if there’s a commute involved. They’d have no time for any meaningful commitments away from the factory, such as friends, family or hobbies, and that’s unhealthy. People should work to live, not live to work.

    • Mr. EP9

      But can they sustain it? I doubt it. The fact that Tesla had to do this just to reach that goal and making people working 12 hour shifts and then Elon yelling at his engineers when a machine broke down for example says something about the brand. This almost sounds like slave driving. Expecting people to do this on a consistent basis is going to back fire.

      • Headache in a suitcase

        Slave driving? No one is forcing people to work there, THAT would be slave driving. If people don’t want to be part of something big I have no doubt there are people lining up to get in. I would work there in a heartbeat! And yelling at engineers is part of the deal as an engineer. He expects perfection and many before him in their field have done the same. Thomas Edison, Steve Jobs, leaders at early NASA programs and more, and look at what they achieved. It’s called getting the most from people.

  • Spyder Hole Fantome

    Meanwhile thousands of summer time weddings in the bay area have been postponed due to the lack of outdoor tent and shelter availability.

    • BlackPegasus

      LOL stop it 😆

  • haudit


    Expecting line workers to work 12 hours a day, six days a week is brutal and completely unsustainable.

    • Status

      I wouldn’t say it’s brutal if they were non-unionized. If anything, that’s a plus.

      And don’t feed us bullshit with one-liners like “unions built the middle class” because the middle class existed long, long before automation and automotive assembly lines.

      • haudit

        I’m British, so I know better than most the damage that unions with too much power can cause, but are you seriously suggesting that being forced to work 72 hours a week indefinitely is normal?

        • Status

          For those who are capable, who aren’t burdened by age and degenerative conditions, and more importantly are willing to work for extended hours with extended benefits, then it could remain as an option for some workers. None of the above should be forced upon any worker with the threat of punishment or dismissal.

          Younger workers are more likely to take longer hours. I know I did, but I wouldn’t force anyone to work longer than they would feel comfortable doing so.

          • haudit

            Tesla doesn’t seem to be giving people the option.

        • Spyder Hole Fantome

          Nobody is being FORCED to do sh#@. Anyone can walk at any point they wish. Dude!

          • haudit

            Did you read the article?

            “The manager and supervisor are verbally going around and saying: ‘If you don’t come in, you’ll be written up’”


            “They said starting tomorrow be prepared to work up to 12 hours,” said the Model S employee on Monday. “It’s going to be basically 12 hours from now on and I’ve got a feeling it’s going to be six days a week.”

            To me, that sounds like they’re being told to work 72 hours a week or risk losing their jobs.

          • Headache in a suitcase

            And the problem is? They can leave any time they want if they don’t like the conditions. That’s the beauty of working in a free society.


    • rodriguez256

      I was contracted with Boeing for five years and when we had work to do for united airlines 747s we have to work 12 hour shifts for 6 days a week. I never once tho That of it as slave labor or abuse of workers rights. I sure as hell enjoyed the paychecks.

      • haudit

        If you’d had to work those 72 hours a week continuously, for an indefinite period, I doubt you would have enjoyed the paychecks quite as much – because you wouldn’t have had any free time to spend them.

        • rodriguez256

          That’s what it better in my opinion. I was able to save some of it since I couldn’t spend it. Helped me two fold. I’m not saying it’s pleasant and everyone should be ok with it. But it’s not crazy either.

  • Spyder Hole Fantome

    Quality Control gotta be horrible.

  • Mr. EP9

    So I looked up the average work week and for men it was 40.8 and for women it was 36.2.

    So employees working 12 hour shifts for six days would be right around 72 hours. Now if that’s what’s happening right now I’d be surprised just how long people were willing to put up with it before the called it quits. Anyway, that’s way higher than the average and I’m not even sure I know another manufacturer that would require that of their employees.

    • Rocket

      Nah … morale is super high. Elon said so himself, so it must be true.

      • D3X

        he’s referring to his shareholders and himself.

    • Headache in a suitcase

      Average likely combines part time workers at like less than 20 hours a week. Trust me, there are people everyday putting in 12 hour shifts. It’s just I think in this case, some people can’t see the bigger picture and see something bigger than themselves. Sure it’s hard working 12 hours a day, but the bigger picture is being part of something pretty amazing when they pull it off. And I really believe they will. A new auto manufacturer on a mass scale has not started up in over 100 years and I think we can agree times are FAR different and the tech is FAR FAR different. It isn’t easy. So it takes a team willing to put in the work to make it happen. Sure they likely aren’t compensated with stock, or maybe they are I dunno, but they are being compensated for 12 hour days and have the right to walk away anytime they feel it’s too much. I’m 100% certain there are people all over this country that would take that job in a second. But everyone loves to see a failure so most people are betting against them for their own weird gratitude and pessimistic, “see I told you they’d fail!”.

      • Brent Morrison

        Part of something really amazing? At the expense of your health and personal life? Really? All you’ll do is increase Elon’s ego and cash in his pocket.

        • Headache in a suitcase

          Like I said, there is always a NEW job. And the more money in his pocket the stronger the company, the better raises and longer you’ll be employed. I’m not sure how that’s so hard to understand.

  • BlackPegasus

    What annoys me the most about Tesla’s push towards increased production is it’s drive to please investors, NOT actually deliver reserved models to patiently waiting customers. I also worry about quality controls being circumvented in the effort to reach this magical 5,000 figure. I read someplace that Elon ordered his engineers to STOP the brake testing on the Model 3. You know, that little problem that gave it a negative rating by testers and Elon promised to fix?

    I’m still team Tesla, but some of this bullshtt needs to be called out. If I said these exact words on Tesla’s Reddit forums I’d be banned… 🙄

  • Classic Bob

    Impressive, though i’m not sure i’d want to buy a Tesla built that week.

    • Spyder Hole Fantome

      No way! Seems the company is way too focused on wall street, not its customers.

  • Jerry Hightower

    Working 12 hours per day 6 days per week, week after week really takes a toll on you. Been there, done that. At this pace, I wonder how many vehicles will have problems. Anytime you rush things through production expect problems.

  • FoxJ30

    What I’m hearing out of this report is that they underestimated how many people they needed, and they need to build another paint shop.

  • Brent Morrison

    Isn’t this illegal under labor laws? Elonbots seems to defend him.

  • Headache in a suitcase

    Well that and the culture and work ethics make it an easy task.

  • Headache in a suitcase

    While I believe requiring workers to work more than 40 hours is not unreasonable, asking them to do it with no overtime is NOT. Even though people are free to walk if they feel they don’t want to or can’t work more than 40 hours, the company has to know over-time is part of doing business and requiring more than 40 and NOT paying over-time is wrong, and yes, I BELIEVE is against the law. That is UNLESS all employees are salary. Then I don’t believe it is illegal because normally salary is assumed, what ever it takes to get the job done. One thing is for sure, if it is in FACT happening, this situation is not over.

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