Friday Math Fun with the Tesla Model 3.

Model 3I’m not going to bash the Tesla Model 3. I like the idea of the electric car, and I like the innovation that Tesla is doing with their vehicles. I am going to do a little math though. Why? Because it’s Friday and everyone loves math on Friday’s.

So Telsa has 325,000 pre-orders for the Model 3. That is 325,000,000 dollars given them to hopeful buyers that are willing to wait for a new car, and wait they will and here is why. “Time.”

There is only so many hours in the day, and you can only assemble a car so fast. With a launch date set for “Late 2017” the first cars won’t start rolling off the assembly line for 19 months from now at the soonest. Now, let’s look at that 325,000 order number and divide it out over time.

Say Tesla sets a moderate time frame of 48 months to build all 325,000 Model 3’s.

325,000 divided by 48 months equals 6,770 a month. 6770 divided by 30 equals 225 a day. Which is about 9.5 cars an hour.

The Ford F150 is one of the most popular vehicles in America. In comparison Ford’s Dearborn Truck Plant produces about 1,250 of these trucks every day it operates. or roughly 62.5 trucks assembled by 1000 people over a 20 hour shift. (I see Tesla hiring a boat load of assembly line workers. Don’t forget Tesla will have to train them all and that adds even more time to the problem)

Now let’s revise our numbers a bit. Let’s say half of the 325 thousand drop out of the race to get a Model 3. How many would Tesla still have to crank out and at what rate? So, 162,500 Model 3’s over 48 months.

162, 500 divided by 48 months equals 3,385 a month. 3,385 or about 112 cars a day, if Tesla works 30 days a month, 24 hours a day. so 4.75 cars an hour every month for 48 months non stop to reach total demand. And that doesn’t include production of the Model S and Model X. That folks is a tall order, and remember they do not have a dedicated plant to built the Model 3 in yet.

I’m not saying Tesla can’t do it, or won’t do it. I’m just thinking it’s going to be a while after late 2017 before some people see their Model 3 and quite a bit can change in the next 3 to 4 years. I wonder if we’ll have flying electric cars by 2020?


The Beauty of Math

Math visualized by French design team Parachutes. This is a wonderful visualization of how math intersects our lives every single day. A split screen construct shows the math formula, the visualization, and the related object that the math represents. Simple, clean and elegant. Math as its own language knows no boundaries. Because of this, the film is instantly understandable by any viewer, in any country.

“Mathematics, rightly viewed, possesses not only truth, but supreme beauty — a beauty cold and austere, without the gorgeous trappings of painting or music.” —Bertrand Russell

Dezigners, 2 + 2 Meanz Noin’ How To Spell Reel Gud.

Yesterday while walking back to my office from lunch, I was trailing two individuals and couldn’t help but overhear part of their conversation. I wasn’t trying to eves drop, we were in a narrow hallway and they were talking loudly. Since I was about 10 feet behind them, I overheard what they were saying.

The conversation was basically about corporate culture and how “Creatives” are misunderstood by “Suits”, and so on. At one point one of the two said, “I don’t have to know how to spell, or be good at math, I’m on the creative staff. That is what the suits are for”. I couldn’t tell if he was joking or not, but as the two continued talking it became rather apparent that this guy was serious about what he said. At this point the hallway opened up by the corporate cafe and the two trailed off in a different direction so I no longer could hear them. In hind sight I wish I would have spoken up, and asked them to explain their point of view in a bit more detail. As someone who has been both on the boards and in design management, I have to say I don’t get this point of view at all.

I have been in the design industry since the age of 16. One of my first jobs was doing paste up, and cutting Rubylith for a small family owned graphic design shop that lived in someone’s basement studio. Maybe because I started my career in a time before computers spell checked everything, and calculators eliminated the need for basic math skills is why I don’t get this. All I know is, if you want to be taken seriously by your peers, coworkers, and clients, spelling, grammar and math, should be part of your “Design Toolkit”.

As a designer part of your job it to cohesively express your ideas to clients. This could be through a verbal pitch or a written brief. It could be to an internal department or an external client. Who ever it is, you are judged as much by your ability to verbalize as your ability to design. If you can’t articulate the reasoning behind the choices you make as a designer, why should your client trust you? This is part of being a professional, and whether you like it or not, it is part of your job as a designer. Saying you don’t have to have these basic skills is to a point arrogant. It is a dismissive act that reads like, “I’m such a good designer I don’t have to do that anymore”.

I am fully aware that advanced English and Math are not required for a degree in Design or Fine Art. I am also aware that English 101 is, and so is Math. I am also aware that many people loath, or are intimidated by both the subjects for what ever reason, but at the end of the day failing to have a basic comprehension of these skills is a detriment to your career in the long run. I don’t care how good your skills are as a designer. If you can’t put a sentence together with correct grammar and spelling, or do basic math, success is going to be an uphill battle.

At the end of the day, you are a professional designer. That means you must have professional skills, and that is more than knowing color theory, typography, layout, composition, balance, etc. It means knowing how to spell, punctuate, add, subtract, divide and multiply.