One day, when Netflix produces the five-season series “Tesla,” we expect subscribers will binge on it as greedily as the automotive media feasts on the feints and fruitions of the actual automaker. To help us make more sense of what’s happening at the Elon Musk car company, Bloomberg chose Valentine’s Day to unveil its Tesla Model 3Tracker. Using two data-gathering methods, Bloomberg‘s tool aims to figure out how many Model 3s reach the end of the Fremont, California, production line every week.
As of February 14, the tracker estimated 7,341 units produced, with 1,025 currently reaching the finish line per week. Anywhere close to that would represent a healthy ramp-up from the 2,686 total vehicles it took Tesla about six months to make last year.
The first data point comes from searching batch VIN allotments that Tesla registers with the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration. Bloomberg divides the batch amounts by the days between registrations to get an idea of average production numbers. The outlet admits the flaws in that system, like non-sequential VIN registrations, Model 3 VINs registered before the vehicle’s been built, and the fact that Tesla could theoretically register VINs for all of the nearly half-million reservation holders at once.
For redress, Bloomberg‘s second data point hits the virtual bricks, scanning for VINs in social media postings and forums, and asking Model 3 owners to self-report their VINs. The site doesn’t hold onto, nor publish, complete VINs.
The Model 3 Tracker is just as much a work in progress as the factory that makes the Model 3, and the Model 3 itself. Bloomberg will update the tracker regularly, and makes tweaks as it gathers better data. After the site overseers have “aligned the two data sets with Tesla’s [last] reported production and averaged the results from the two methods,” voila, a running tally appears from within the smoke. Tesla only reports production numbers at the end of a quarter, so the tracker’s numbers will be adjusted to fit the declared tally.
Tesla’s most recent goals were to be making 2,500 Model 3s per week by the end of March, and 5,000 per week by the end of June. Now you can watch the company succeed in real time. Or not. If you want to turn your lens to other territories in the Musk empire, try Bloomberg‘s Elon Musk Goal Watcher.