Tesla can’t make cars fast enough

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Tesla can’t make cars fast enough

Tesla Motors Inc. delivered 14,370 vehicles in the second quarter, missing its forecast of 17,000 units because of what it called an “extreme production ramp” that saw half of the quarter’s production in the final four weeks.

The maker of electric cars and energy storage devices now expects to deliver about 50,000 cars in the second half, according to a statement Sunday. That means 79,180 Model S sedans and Model X sport utility vehicles shipped for the full year, slightly below its previous range of 80,000 to 90,000.

Even after increasing its production, the carmaker has had trouble getting its vehicles to customers fast enough to meet its targets. Tesla said that 5,150 cars are still on trucks and ships making their way to clients who ordered them, and will be delivered in the first part of the third quarter. Tesla is ramping up production at its Fremont, California, factory with an eye toward making 500,000 cars a year by 2018 -- an ambitious timeline that also depends on the carmaker’s battery factory east of Reno, Nevada, coming online with battery cell production. Tesla delivered 9,745 Model S vehicles and 4,625 Model X vehicles in the second quarter. The smaller, less-expensive Model 3, which is slated to start at $35,000 before incentives, is scheduled to begin deliveries in late 2017.

This is the second time in a row that the carmaker’s deliveries come in short this year. In the first quarter, Tesla had blamed the shortfall on what it called “hubris” in adding too much new technology that led to part shortages for the Model X.

On Thursday, U.S. regulators began a preliminary investigation into a fatal May crash involving a Model S that had Tesla’s Autopilot feature engaged. In a blog post, Tesla said that the crash was the first-known fatality in more than 130 million miles of Autopilot driving and that the feature, disabled by default in the cars, requires explicit acknowledgment by drivers who enable it that the system is a new technology still in testing. At least 70,000 Tesla vehicles worldwide have the Autopilot feature, and the fatal crash has drawn renewed attention to the debate over what kind of guidelines the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration should set regarding semi-autonomous and self-driving cars on U.S. roads.

Tesla Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk is SolarCity’s chairman and largest shareholder.

The second-quarter deliveries figure is a preliminary number that may change slightly in August when the Palo Alto, California-based company reports earnings for the period. Bloomberg

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