Car Industry

Is Tesla freaking out over Model X production?

A new email sent to a Tesla Motors Club forum user contains language that could be seen as concerning, especially to early adopters of the automaker's electric SUV.

Tesla Model X

Tesla cited "severe Model X supplier parts shortages" and "hubris in adding far too much new technology" as reasons why Model X production is off to a slow start.

Tesla

Tesla didn't produce as many Model X electric SUVs as it had hoped during the first quarter of 2016, as the company noted in its quarterly update. Production is still moving upward, but between the "hubris" comment in the Q1 report and, now, a new email sent to a Model X reservation holder, I'm wondering if there's more internal strife than the company lets on.

On the Tesla Motors Club forum, user beths11 received an email from Tesla regarding the Model X. "The quality of Model X has never been better," the email said. " We recently took some time to check and recheck every part of Model X and even had members of our management team, including Elon, test drive Model X as it came off the line."

Tesla confirmed the letter came from the company. "We've been very transparent about Model X quality and previously discussed where we've had issues with reliability as well as the dramatic improvements in reliability we've made with our vehicles," a Tesla spokesperson said in an emailed response. "We often take proactive measures to ensure the best driving and ownership experience possible for our customers."

If it, in fact, did come from Tesla, it could be a bit concerning. Saying that quality has "never been better," when you've already pushed some 2,000-plus vehicles out the door isn't exactly confidence inspiring to early adopters. Add in the "hubris in adding far too much new technology," the fact that Tesla sued a prototype-door supplier because the product was crap and the idea of management crawling all over the production line, and you've got the makings of an internal freakout, however slight.

It'll be important to watch Tesla's production ramp-up in the coming months as we march toward the date that Model 3 production begins (late next year). If the company is having trouble in any step of the production process, it could have ramifications with a car that's receiving attention whole orders of magnitude higher than its previous offerings. Perhaps that's why there wasn't much in the way of whiz-bang gadgetry at the car's reveal.

Update, 5:10 p.m. Eastern: This story has been updated to include Tesla's response.