The inventory despite selling out before years end was building up due to current production capacity. 4680 cells are enough for 1000 vehicles a month currently, but yields are improving.
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It's all about scaling EV production, it cost a tremendous amount of money to do it, requires extremely competent people, the focus of company to do it, and the ability to survive losing gobs of money until you can reach profitability. How many manufactures will succeed at their current debt levels? It was very favorable time for Tesla to start an EV car company when it did. It was during the Obama administration with generous EV incentives, CARB requirements and selling of credits, lots of available software engineers due to the market crash in 2008, a large factory (MUNI) that was available for pennies on the dollar, and a genius with a lot of rich friends (Larry Ellis).
Elon Musk quotes:
"It's relatively easy to make a prototype but extremely difficult to mass manufacture a vehicle reliably at scale. Even for rocket science, it's probably a factor of 10 harder to design a manufacturing system for a rocket than to design the rocket. For cars it's maybe 100 times harder to design the manufacturing system than the car itself."
"The difficulty and value of manufacturing is underappreciated,"
In 2018, Tesla went through what Musk called "production hell" as the company raced to build enough Model 3 sedans to claw its way out of debt. Over several months, that manufacturing struggle involved a massive tent built outside the company's factory to house an extra production line as well as grueling hours worked by Musk and the whole team, he said.