Tesla acquires automated machine maker Perbix


SAN FRANCISCO • Tesla Inc has acquired Perbix, a closely held maker of automated machines used for manufacturing, as the electric-car maker struggles to boost production of its most important new model.

Perbix has been a supplier to the automaker led by Elon Musk for almost three years, according to a Tesla spokesman, who declined to disclose the terms of the deal. Tesla will expand its presence in the Minneapolis area where Perbix is based, the spokesman said.

Musk last week alluded to automation challenges as among the reasons the Model 3 sedan, which starts at US$35,000 (RM147,700), has gotten off to a bumpy start. The CEO pushed back a projection for when Tesla will make 5,000 of the cars per week by about three months, to the end of the first quarter of next year. Tesla said in a filing last week it’ll wait until reaching that intermediate target before taking
steps to boost weekly output to 10,000 units, allowing the company time to optimise its automation and conserve spending.

“With Model 3, either the machine works, or it doesn’t, or it’s limping along and we get short quite severely on output,” Musk said on an earnings call with analysts last week. By contrast, with the Model S sedan or Model X SUV, “because a lot less of it was automated, we could scale up labour hours and achieve a high level of production.”

The Perbix purchase comes about a year after Tesla announced the acquisition of German manufacturing technology specialist Grohmann Engineering GmbH to boost production and reduce manufacturing costs.