May 12, 2018 - Energy & Environment

Tesla's head of engineering temporarily stepping down

Tesla Model 3

A Tesla Model 3 car is on display during Auto China 2018. Photo: VCG/VCG via Getty Images

Senior vice president and head of engineering at Tesla, Doug Field, is reportedly "taking a break" from the company citing the need to "recharge" and be with his family, Bloomberg reports. The announcement rides on the heels of CEO Elon Musk taking over responsibilities of the production department amid the "rocky ramping up of the Model 3 sedan."

Why it matters: Field's break comes at a time when the company is seeking to show investors that it can maintain recent momentum in scaling up production of the mass market Model 3 — a product that’s critical to the Silicon Valley electric automaker’s future. 

The big picture: The company repeatedly missed initial targets set when it rolled out the car in 2017, and now hopes to reach 5,000 per week by mid-year. Tesla is also planning new products. An electric semi-truck is supposed to begin production in 2019, and the company is also planning to produce a crossover vehicle.

The intrigue: Musk asked Field last year to lead both the engineering and production departments, he detailed in a tweet adding that "[Field] agreed that Tesla needed eng[ineering] & prod[uction] better aligned, so we don’t design cars that are crazy hard to build."

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