Posts Tagged ‘elon musk’

Tesla Forgets the Lesson Toyota Taught GM in Fremont: “Build fast, fix later: speed hurts quality at Tesla”

Wednesday, November 29th, 2017

Read and learn, from NPR:

“At the old GM plant in Fremont, Calif., the system had been totally different and there was one cardinal rule that everyone knew: the assembly line could never stop.

“You just didn’t see the line stop,” Madrid said. “I saw a guy fall in the pit and they didn’t stop the line.”

Lee, the supervisor who oversaw the plant summed it up this way: “You saw a problem, you stopped that line: you were fired.”

As a result, vehicles at the plant had lots of defects. Haggerty saw all kinds of mistakes go right down the line.

“So we had Monte Carlos with Regal front ends and vice versa,” he recalled. There were cars with engines put in backwards, cars without steering wheels or brakes. Workers fixed them later in a yard outside — sometimes doing more damage to the vehicles.”

So those were the bad old days of GM in Fremont. But then came the Toyota Way of doing things during the NUMMI era:

At the NUMMI plant you can see Toyota’s solution to this — a thin nylon rope that hangs on hooks along the assembly line. It’s called the andon cord and when pulled, it will stop the line.

The first pull summons a team leader. Workers try to correct the problem on the line. If it takes too long to fix, the line stops. The andon cord also plays a surprisingly cheerful little song that workers can chose. For longtime GM workers who switched to the NUMMI system, all this was a revelation.

After two decades at the GM Fremont plant, Earl Ferguson flew to Japan to learn a whole new way of making cars.

When Madrid trained in Japan, he saw workers stop the line to fix a bolt.

“That impressed me,” he said. “I said, ‘Gee that makes sense.’ Fix it now so you don’t have to go through all this stuff. That’s when it dawned on me. We can do it. One bolt. One bolt changed my attitude.”

And guess what’s made at that very same factory down south in Fremont today – that’s right, Teslas:

After Tesla’s Model S sedans and Model X SUVs roll off the company’s Fremont, California assembly line, the electric vehicles usually make another stop – for repairs, nine current and former employees have told Reuters.

The luxury cars regularly require fixes before they can leave the factory, according to the workers. Quality checks have routinely revealed defects in more than 90 percent of Model S and Model X vehicles inspected after assembly, these individuals said, citing figures from Tesla’s internal tracking system as recently as October. Some of these people told Reuters of seeing problems as far back as 2012.

By now, the reader should have realized that New Tesla is sort of like Old GM.

Artist’s conception of Elon Musk wearing Mens crocs size XXL, if he ever were to do that and then pose awkwardly in/on an expensive vehicle that obviously didn’t fit him (or Arnold, or Gavin, or a lot of others who Wanted To Believe):

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Assembly Line Production of Self Driving Cars is Here: A Brand-New Bolt, One of 130 – Hayes Valley Meets Uncanny Valley

Thursday, October 19th, 2017

Look what I saw coming out of Hayes Valley – it’s VEHT2079, a brand-new self-driving Chevy Bolt all the way from Orion Township, MI. It’s different. Notice the white thingamajigs above the front wheels:

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At first I thought it could have been a Project Titan from Apple, but no. It’s just an updated version of what we’ve seen for a while now.

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Of course that’s the human minder in the driver’s seat, but is that the robot in the passenger seat? Let’s ENHANCE:

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I’ll think of him as Frisco’s Star Trek Data, or Johnny Cab 2017, but you make the call, Gentle Reader

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Off they go, a boy and his robot:

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But not without a few Grove Street hassles. I mean, that’s what GM is doing here, a kind of driving torture test, right?

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And all this is just one block away from the Hayes Street block where Anthony Levandowski’s long-forgotten self-driving Pri-Bot used to get parked, right?

The Future is Now…

Word On The Street: Poor Elon Musk! – “KATSU – SF AUG. 19 – A.I. CRIMINALS”

Tuesday, August 15th, 2017

As seen, en La Mision, on Mission:

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[UPDATE: Indeed, it doesn’t look very pro-Elon, Reddit. Oh well.]

[UPDATE II: Oh, Nitasha Tiku has the whole story in WIRED.]

They Call Me MISTER Platypus! – My White Whale Spotted, Again

Friday, September 2nd, 2016

This is the closest I’ve gotten to this now-famous ride:

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“PLATYPUS” – go figure. I don’t think Old GM had a platypus car…

This Brand-New Chevy Bolt is Driving Itself on the Streets of San Francisco

Thursday, August 11th, 2016

As seen in the SoMA on Folsom near 12th right, by the SF Eagle, not that there’s anything wrong with that:

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No, it’s not sucking the data off of your cell phone – it’s Cruise Automation, baby. And it looks like they’re on the right path, unlike, say, so-called Elon Musk and his so-called “Autopilot.”

Play us out, SLATE’s Will Oremus:

Is Autopilot a Bad Idea? Why Ford, Google, Volvo and others think Tesla is wrong about automation.

What Happened to All the Tesla Roadsters of the Bay Area? They’ve Disappeared – Why’s That?

Monday, June 15th, 2015

I’ll tell you, there was a time when most of the Lotus Eliseses I saw in the Bay Area were Lotus Eliseses. Then a few years back, most of the Elises I saw were Tesla Roadsters. And then, starting a year or two ago most of the Lotus Elise I’ve seen on the Bay Area went back to being actual Lotus Elise. Isn’t that funny?

Like here, for instance. Is this the first Tesla Roadster I’ve seen this year? The past year? I think so.

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Man, they’re hard to tell apart, the gas and electric versions. The Tesla version is less stubby, but I generally need to see the “T” logo to be sure. Isn’t that sad?

I guess having a Roadster isn’t a thang anymore. So they sit around garages, aging, slowly discharging, and gathering dust. They never really were practical, you know?

Now let’s hear some government-subsidized propaganda from yesteryear:

“One of the more common misconceptions about the Tesla Roadster is that it is an electrified Lotus Elise. This has been an interesting problem to deal with because the Tesla is vastly different from an Elise and it is important that people are aware of this.”

But in fact, the Tesla Roadster is/was an electrified Lotus Elise. Exactly. Take an Elise, stretch the chassis, throw out the Toyota engine (frankly, the best thing about the vehicle, you know, with billions invested over the years, coming from what’s still the best car manufacturer in the world) add a very heavy battery pack and a motor and boom there’s your Tesla Roadster.

The dude what wrote all that back in aught-eight shortly later quit / got fired / resigned – it’s hard to say.

The question now is whether you’d rather operate the original gas powered version or the newer electric kind. Certainly the gas-powered one handles better, due to its lightness. But both versions are impractical two-seaters, so maybe that’s why most people don’t own/use/garage either kind. Oh well.

Anyway, that’s the sad end to the vaunted Tesla Roadster – it’s still in the back of your closet, but you don’t wear it anymore…

Recycling Dead Batteries is Surprisingly Easy in Frisco – One Simple Trick!

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2015

[UPDATE: Herb Caen eventually recanted re: the Frisco Issue – see Comments. Or here’s the short version:“Balderdash,” Caen wrote. “The toughest guys on the old S.F. waterfront, neither rubes nor tourists, called it Frisco, and no effete journalist would have tried to correct them.”]

Are you like  – do you pine for an Uber For Dead Batteries?

Person that comes to your house to remove your used AA batteries because you’re too lazy to ‘dispose of them properly.'”

Here you go – they’ll come right to your place for pickup if you put your used batteries in a baggie:

Curbside Battery Recycling Service – Most residents may place their batteries in a sealed plastic bag taped to the top of their black bin for curbside collection.” 

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This baggie system is news to me, as I’m accustomed to the Big Orange Bucket:

“Residents of multi-unit homes (4 units or more) should place batteries in their Orange Battery Bucket. If your building does not have one, ask your building manager to order one at (415) 330-1300. For more information on battery recycling, please visit: SFEnvironment.org/ecofinder

Like this:

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So who says our local garbage monopoly is all bad?

*As opposed to the actual Elon Musk. I’ll tell you, BEM is much cheaper for us than the real deal:

Elon Musk’s growing empire is fueled by $4.9 billion in government subsidies

How Tesla CEO Elon Musk is WRONG WRONG WRONG About How the Fremont Assembly Plant Has Been in Operation for “Over 60 Years”

Wednesday, November 26th, 2014

Here’s the background:

How Elon Musk Hustled $1.4 Billion Out Of Nevada For Gigafactory

Now here’s Musk’s defense of the Nevada Gigglefactory battery tax incentive deal.

Which you can swallow or not, but I have a beef with this part in particular:

“However, the 20 year mark is simply when the last of the incentives expires. The Gigafactory itself will continue contributing economically to Nevada for much longer. Our automotive plant in California has been in operation for over 60 years with no foreseeable end in sight.”

Well, first of all, there’s nothing to stop Tesla or its successor from threatening to move away unless it receives another massive subsidy from the people of Nevada, right? So that’s just wrong.

But, more importantly, what’s up with this “over 60 years” thing? Let’s take a look.

Fremont Assembly began operations in 1963, right? 2014 minus 1963 = 51 years, right? 51 years is less than “over  60 years,” right?

And that doesn’t mean that this place was “in operation,” all that time, right?

And actually, it didn’t make sense to have such a big old GM factory in the Bay Area so it shut down in 1982. Let’s get some more deets:

“Operated as GM plant from 1963 to 1982, then became the site of NUMMI, GM’s joint venture with Toyota and the only major auto assembly plant remaining in California. Closed April 1, 2010, partially reopening as the Tesla Factory, an automobile assembly plant for Tesla Motors”

So Fremont Assembly was massively downsized when Toyota was coerced into starting up NUMMI, which lasted just 16 years.

Then NUMMI got massively downsized and now what’s left has been a Tesla factory for a couple years.

Now you might think that that’s good or bad, but this record sure doesn’t match what Elon Musk has to say.

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Word on the Street, San Mateo-Style: “MUSK MUSK MUSK MUSK MUSK” – Elon Musk has a Rabid Fan?

Thursday, March 27th, 2014

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Hey, how many junior Musks should you make with a baby mama before trading her away for a new model? I think the answer is five.

Peas in a Pod: The Tesla Model S and the Fisker Karma are Very Hard to Tell Apart

Friday, February 21st, 2014

Ah look, from Marin it’s a red Fisker Karma plug-in hybrid in red and in the background it’s a silver Tesla Model S electric car.

Don’t they look super similar?

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Ah memories:

“On 14 April 2008, Tesla Motors filed a lawsuit against Fisker Automotive, alleging that Henrik Fisker stole Tesla’s Model S hybrid technology and was using it to develop the Karma. Tesla’s suit claimed that the design work done for the Model S sedan by Fisker Coachbuild was substandard, and that Fisker Automotive diverted its best ideas to the Karma.[77] On 4 November 2008 CNET News reported that Tesla Motors would discontinue its suit after an interim ruling in favor of Fisker et al.[78] A news release on the Fisker Automotive website stated that Tesla was ordered to pay US$1,144,285 in costs.[79]