"Tesla employees say to expect more Model 3 delays," read a headline from CNBC yesterday.

CNBC's Lora Kolodny reported that despite Tesla's ambitions to run a highly automated manufacturing process, Tesla has been being forced to perform some battery-assembly steps in its Nevada Gigafactory by hand, borrowing scores of employees from its battery partner, Panasonic, to do it.

It sounds like a big headache for the Palo Alto carmaker until you notice one key detail: the article is talking about the state of Tesla's manufacturing operation "as recently as mid-December."

In December, Tesla and Panasonic workers were manually assembling bandoliers, rows of lithium-ion cells glued on either side of a cooling tube.

But more recently, Kolodny acknowledges, Tesla has begun to ramp up production.

"Once the machines in the factory were able to crank out bandoliers as fast or faster than the manual laborers, Tesla began sending Panasonic workers back to their employer," Kolodny reports, citing anonymous sources at the factory.

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