Tesla’s good in­ten­tions have been paved with hellish ob­sta­cles un­til now

The Star Early Edition - - OPINION & ANALYSIS -

TESLA is about to en­ter the road through hell, and it’s paved with in­ten­tions to make a whole lot of elec­tric cars.

That’s how Elon Musk de­scribes the task of meet­ing the lofty tar­gets he’s set for the Model 3, a cheaper sedan than the fu­ture of his com­pany rides on.

De­mand won’t be an is­sue – reser­va­tions for the car now ex­ceed 500 000, ac­cord­ing to the Tesla chief ex­ec­u­tive. The her­culean un­der­tak­ing ahead will be to pro­duce the ve­hi­cle at a scale the car­maker has come nowhere close to achiev­ing to date.

“Frankly, we’re go­ing to be in pro­duc­tion hell,” Musk told a crowd of hun­dreds of Tesla em­ploy­ees on Fri­day be­hind its assem­bly plant in Fremont, Cal­i­for­nia.

“That’s go­ing to be where we are for at least six months, maybe longer.”

For Musk, mak­ing af­ford­able cars at lev­els of scale that would fur­ther drive down the costs of elec­tric trans­porta­tion would mark the cul­mi­na­tion of a mas­ter plan he sketched out for Tesla more than a decade ago.

The progress he’s made thus far in ex­e­cut­ing that vi­sion has cat­a­pulted his com­pany’s mar­ket cap­i­tal­i­sa­tion past car­mak­ers that have been around more than a cen­tury, in­clud­ing Ford and Gen­eral Mo­tors.

Musk has kept in­vestors en­am­oured de­spite man­u­fac­tur­ing hic­cups that have reg­u­larly be­dev­illed Tesla.

The pro­duc­tion short­fall of new, big­ger bat­tery packs that the com­pany cited when re­port­ing un­der­whelm­ing sales fig­ures ear­lier this month was just the lat­est ex­am­ple.

Avoid­ing set­backs won’t get any eas­ier though. – Bloomberg

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