"Precision predicates perfectionism."
Mr. No Good
On Wednesday, Elon Musk unveiled the first production candidate of the long-awaited Cybertruck. But behind the scenes, he already sounds less than pleased about its quality.
"Due to the nature of Cybertruck, which is made of bright metal with mostly straight edges, any dimensional variation shows up like a sore thumb," Musk wrote in the email, shared on the Cybertrucks Owners Club forum.
"All parts for this vehicle, whether internal or from suppliers, need to be designed and built to sub 10 micron accuracy," he said, specifying that tolerances must be in "single digit microns."
"If LEGO and soda cans, which are very low cost, can do this, so can we," he added.
Finally, signing off his email, he dropped this faux-deep maxim: "Precision predicates perfectionism."
Musk is on the money about the Cybertruck's ostentatious profile and the scrutiny it draws. Of course, some of that scrutiny is self-inflicted. Beyond its unorthodox styling, the janky construction of its exterior is plain to see, and has been widely criticized.
But for Musk to demand "sub 10 micron accuracy" — easily less than the width of a grain of sand — sounds frankly ridiculous.
If that wasn’t dunderheaded enough, what does the manufacturing of LEGOs and soda cans have in common with an enormous, blocky SUV? Are they made in even remotely the same way? Is the scale even comparable? Of course not. Leave it to Musk, though, to chew up his subordinates over reality issues related to his grandiose vision.
Tesla's quality control has long been the source of derision. Although the automaker's enthusiasts insist it's gotten better over the years, the inherent weirdness of the Cybertruck may mean that keeping it consistent with the very high standards that Musk is demanding may be too tall a task.
The Cybertruck is simply, and quite clearly, not like any other car. That already poses a challenge to workers trying to get these low-poly pentagons-on-wheels out the door. Moreover, leaked documents have seemingly confirmed what many already suspected: that the Cybertruck is riddled with glaring, fundamental design flaws.
Roughly two million of these Teslas have been pre-ordered, and delivering on that number will not be easy, micron precision or not. To all Tesla workers that will have to adhere these standards: good luck.
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