Car manufacturers around the world continue to struggle with a lack of supply of mostly simple chips, which are required in modern vehicles to control many functions. Because these problems are also related to too few orders from some manufacturers during the acute corona crisis, which could not be increased again quickly enough, there was initially hope that Tesla would not be affected. At the end of January, however, CFO Zachary Kirkhorn stated that they were working “extremely hard” to cope with the global semiconductor shortage, and that this could temporarily affect Tesla. And now the Tesla factory in Fremont is said to have actually restricted its production – but because of a somewhat different chip problem.
Less activity in Tesla parking lot
The Fremont electric car plant has been partially out of operation for a few days, reported the often well-informed Tesla observer @SawyerMerritt on Twitter on Thursday night. At least some of the employees for the production of the Model 3 had been sent home for two weeks, he wrote, citing unspecified sources. According to their information, parts from a supplier may be missing.
Another close-up observer confirmed that there was less loading activity in the parking lot in front of the Tesla factory on Wednesday, but more than on Tuesday. On Wednesday evening he drove by again and even reported “almost business as usual”.
Update: The news agency Bloomberg reports that workers on a production line for the Model 3 in Fremont were informed of a two-week break from February 22nd to March 7th. A reason for the measure was not mentioned. According to observer @TroyTeslike Tesla has a total of four lines in Fremont on which Model 3 and Model Y can be produced. In the financial report at the end of 2020, the annual capacity for the two electric cars at the US plant is given as 500,000.
Regardless of whether the production cut at Tesla continues and what extent it is or was, it is likely to have something to do with the almost unprecedented cold spell in the US earlier this month. Samsung operates a chip factory in Austin, Texas, which, according to a report by eeNews, ceased operations last Tuesday because the local energy company had requested it. The Samsung factory is said to be responsible for 5 percent of the global production of chips on 300-millimeter wafers and, among other things, supply Tesla. In addition, according to eeNews, the chip production of Infineon and NXP in Austin was also interrupted.
Refreshed Model S in front of the factory
The situation is expected to stabilize in March, but the unexpected winter problems in Texas are likely to exacerbate the already existing chip shortage. According to @SawyerMerritt, Tesla is using the limited production time to do maintenance and plans to return to normal operations in early March. Meanwhile, at least one new Tesla Model S has been spotted in the Fremont parking lot, something observers have been waiting for since the refreshed version was unveiled in late January. Tesla CEO Elon Musk has announced the first deliveries for February.