Tesla leaves market guessing about rumors of its massive robot orders

Tesla took delivery of 66 Kuka robots that arrived at its Giga-plant in Austin, Texas, in late December 2022.

Tesla refuted rumors over the weekend saying it has placed orders for a large number of robots from FOET (福能东方), a Chinese manufacturing equipment maker, but still dropped hints that fueled speculation this might be true.

In a response to investor queries that left ample room for imagination, Tesla said what it hasn’t confirmed doesn’t exist — an innuendo often used as a company public relations tactic.

Shares of several listed domestic industrial robot producers surged on news of Tesla’s rumored procurement on February 7, Jiemian, a Chinese business and financial news portal reported, adding that Tesla had placed orders for 60,000 units of industrial robots.

Kuka and Fanuc are currently the main suppliers of industrial robots to Tesla. Kuka replied to Chinese media queries that Tesla has long been a client but the German company declined to disclose the exact sales figures, citing confidentiality agreement signed with Tesla.

Tesla uses 160 Kuka robots in its Shanghai Giga-factory.

Since Tesla commissioned Idra, an Italian giga press manufacturer, in October 2022, to build a 9,000-ton giga press, it is believed the EV pioneer will cease to add robotic companies to its supplier system.

However, Tesla dispelled market belief by deploying an army of industrial robots when building its production line for Model Y in Texas.

Tesla took delivery of 66 Kuka robots that arrived at its Giga-plant in Austin, Texas, in late December 2022.

These robots will be used to revive the long-delayed production of Cybertruck, media reported.

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Ni Tao

Ni Tao is the founder and editor-in-chief of cnrobopedia. Prior to cnrobopedia, he had a full decade of experience with a major state-run English-language newspaper as a tech reporter and opinion writer. He is also a communications specialist, having provided consultancy services to established firms like Siemens, Philips, ABinBev, Diageo, Trip.com Group (Nasdaq: TCOM, HK: 9961), Jianpu Technology (NYSE: JT) and a handful of domestic startups. A graduate of Fudan University, he writes widely about China's business and tech scenes and other topics for global publications including South China Morning Post, SupChina, The Diplomat, CGTN, Banking Technology, among others, and tries to impart his experience to students at Fudan University Journalism School, where he is a part-time lecturer. When he's not writing about robotics, you can expect him to be on his beloved Yanagisawa saxophones, trying to play some jazz riffs, often in vain and occasionally against the protests of an angry neighbor. Get in touch with him by dropping a line at nitao0927@gmail.com.

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