LOS ANGELES, California—Last night, we received a tip that there was a facility in Southern California, near our office, where “hundreds” of Tesla Model 3s were collecting dust while thousands of customers waited for production to ramp up. This morning, I took a drive over to the location and what I found was more than perplexing.
I rolled up to the parking garage and immediately saw a handful of what appeared brand new Tesla Model 3s sitting in the garage spaces. They were joined by both a good amount of Model S and Model X as well.
From the road, nothing appeared wrong with the cars, and it looked like the rows containing the Teslas went about five or six rows deep. As I approached the cars, I could see there was a thin film of dust and debris, a normal sight for anyone who’s parked a car near the Pacific Ocean.
Each of the Teslas appeared brand new. Some even had the plastic seat and steering wheel covers still in place, as if they’d just rolled off Tesla’s assembly line. I did a quick walk through, I could see cameras and a security building near the cars, and speedily counted the number of Model 3s in fear that I’d be kicked out of the public garage.
I counted a total of 26 Model 3s. There were also about 45 other Teslas in this portion of the facility as well.
With my quick walk through complete, and security not harassing me just yet, I checked out the Model 3s once again to try and glean any further details. As I took some more photos of the Model 3s, I noticed a sheet of paper on one car’s dashboard.
Turns out, it was a Quality Assurance checklist, and it revealed that this particular Model 3 had failed for a “VC Front Module to Body Contact/Rattle” issue. A few others had similar sheets tucked away.
And, upon further inspection, it looks as if the other Teslas, the Model S and Model X, also either failed inspection or had some sort of damage as one had “Structure” written across its windshield.
Upon my return to the office, my colleagues and I discussed what we thought the facility was, and came to the conclusion that it’s likely one of Tesla’s holding facilities for defective products.
If true, and these 26 Model 3s are defective in some way, Tesla may be facing bigger issues that we were led to believe. Due to the sheer number of possibly defective Model 3s, there may be more production issues that Tesla isn’t disclosing.
Over 400,000 people at the launch of the Model 3 over a year ago put down a $1,000 deposit. Since production started a few months ago, only a minute fraction of people have actually taken delivery, and with recent production delays and issues surrounding the sporty EV, those individuals will likely have to wait a little longer for their cars.
Tesla has not responded to our queries at this time.