My kid worked GA4; aka, the "tent", during the last 3 weeks of June (pulled from summer engineering intern job, as was everybody). Described it as intense, and stimulating and physically demanding. They were always monitored for weariness and often switched to less demanding work or tasked to learn other stations. "I worked every part of the Model 3 line and know where just about everything attaches and torques. Elon was there working nearby". The assembly folks would arrive in the morning with portions of the line re-configured by engineers overnight to be more efficient. Never heard any mention of raw sewage or Red Bull but the kid is more of a nitro-cold-brew coffee type.
The latter points out the 5K/week goal and says
Today, Tesla has about 10,000 workers at its Fremont plant. GM and Toyota had less than half that and produced more than 400,000 cars at the plant’s peak in 2006. Tesla argues that a larger workforce is justified given that more of the car is manufactured in-house, but interviews with workers suggest the company has stretched to ensure that there are enough workers on the floor. Current and former employees describe 12-hour shifts as common, with some going as long as 16 hours.
Also notable (emphasis mine):
Musk’s disregard for precedent, of course, is part of his appeal. In the weeks before the March 2016 public unveiling of the Model 3 design, employees took bets on how many prospective buyers would pay a refundable $1,000 deposit to reserve one. The most optimistic prediction was around 200,000; the actual number was twice that. Field recalls opening his staff meeting the following week with a warning: “You are now working at a different company,” he said. “Everything has changed.”
According to one supplier, Tesla had said it expected to spend 28 months to reach large-scale mass production, but after seeing demand for the car, Tesla moved up the timeline by 15 months. It had previously said it would build 500,000 cars per year by 2020, a goal skeptics called outlandish. But in May 2016, Musk said the plan was to do that in 2018.
If Tesla did things the way GM and Toyota does, there would be a lot fewer highly desirable EVs to drive; more Mirai clones I guess; and I wouldn't have a 2017 Model 3. If they hit 2500/week S/X; 7500/week Model 3's by the end of Q4 they'll exit 2018 with a 500k car per year run rate. It's now within reach and I for one am very impressed. So, BTW is my kid who says the place just has a low tolerance for management b.s. and a very dynamic problem solving spirit; unlike anything previously experienced.
I'm kinda rooting for Tesla (along with other EV makers) to succeed. Not sure how others here feel.