Despite making plans to boost production of its Model 3, Tesla ultimately fell short of its goals in 2017. The problem isn't expected to persist forever, though, as Tesla CEO Elon Musk is now considering building an underground tunnel using The Boring Company that will connect the Tesla plant to a parts factory 1.6 km (one mile) or so down the road.
The news came from a Tesla earnings call on Wednesday, Feb. 7, during which Inverse quoted Musk as saying it's "just a matter of time" until the production issues are solved.
"I’m hopeful that people think that if we can send a Roadster to the asteroid belt, we could probably solve Model 3 production," Musk reportedly said.
In a shareholder's letter, Tesla revealed it'll be the first company to utilize its electric, autonomous semi trucks, which Musk intends to use to transport Model 3 components from Gigafactory 1 to a factory in Fremont, Calif.
But increased production of the Model 3 would eventually face a bottleneck. The factory is equipped to handle only so many shipment trucks, meaning if too many trucks started hauling parts to the factory, the parts would take much longer to be unloaded. This is where the tunnel comes in.
"[W]e actually get constrained on how many trucks [we can] dock and undock at the seat factory, which is only, I don’t know, half a mile or a mile away from the vehicle plant," Musk said during the call, according to Inverse. "So it’ll be pretty easy to just have a tunnel, do an automated conveyance from seats to the factory.”
In other words, the underground tunnel could alleviate Tesla's shipment congestion just as it's meant to reduce traffic in other cities.
Using a tunnel for transportation, Musk reportedly said that boosting production to roughly 700,000 cars a year — 600,000 Model 3s and 100,000 Model S and X vehicles — "seams achievable." The idea isn't official yet, however, and Tesla would presumably need to receive permission to build another tunnel.
If Musk is anything, though, he's determined. If he decides another underground tunnel is necessary to finally meet Tesla's Model 3 production goals, it'll probably happen. Like he said, they managed to put a Tesla Roadster in space, how hard can it be to move parts around on Earth?