Tesla is weatherproof global chip shortage writing vehicle software to support alternative chips, CEO Elon Musk said during the year result call on Monday. The shortage has lifted the car industry to a time when demand for new cars has been historic, leading to factory downtime, longer waiting times and higher prices.
“We were able to replace the alternative chips and then write the firmware in a few weeks,” Musk said. “It’s not just about changing the chip; you also have to rewrite the software.”
This approach has helped Tesla to maintain a high level of production, supplies more than 200,000 vehicles customers in the last three months, the company said. Tesla generated revenue of $ 11.9 billion during the quarter, including a profit of $ 1.1 billion.
Tesla alone has not experienced the effects of the global shortage. With demand for cars at an all-time high, automakers around the world are experiencing production constraints on the chip. This week, Daimler and BMW said a lack of chips has forced it to close some of its assembly lines, reducing the companies ’production by tens of thousands of vehicles.
Musk said Tesla’s future growth depends on a rapid resolution of the global semiconductor shortage. “The global chip shortage is still pretty serious,” he said. “Towards the end of the year, our growth rate will be determined by the slowest part of our supply chain,” which includes a wide range of chips used in Tesla vehicles.
Tesla relies on chips to power all of its airbags into vehicle seat belt control modules – which now means that Tesla lacks the components necessary for the vehicle’s safety features. “The big battle this quarter was the module that controls the airbags and seat belts,” Musk said. “And obviously you can’t send a car without them.”
Musk sounded an uncertain note about the future. “It seems to be getting better,” he said, “but it’s hard to predict.”