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Published on May 1st, 2014 | by Christopher DeMorro

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Tesla Now Occupies 50% of Its Fremont Factory

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May 1st, 2014 by
 

Originally published on Gas2.

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When Tesla first started, it used just 10% of the 5.4 million square-feet of factory space it purchased. Today, Tesla occupies at least half that space. With production of the Tesla Model X gearing up to begin next year. and the entry-level Model E in the pipeline for 2016, it won’t be long before Tesla needs to find even more factory space.

When it announced its lease partnership at the NUMMI factory in Fremont, California, some questioned why such a boutique automaker would need so much space. Indeed, Tesla used only about 500,000 square feet when it first moved in, though expansion has been rapid in the past year.

First, there was the purchase of adjacent land to serve as a test track. Tesla also signed a lease on another California facility that could serve as a secret skunkworks facility for new projects or concepts, prompting speculation that California could still be in the running for the vaunted Gigafactory. With Tesla already looking like it will outgrow its first factory before the end of the decade, the only real question is where the next Tesla factory will be.

My guess? China. Heck, Elon even said as much, and if demand for the Model S is really as high as Musk has hinted, then Tesla will need a Chinese factory just to keep up with all the orders. Fremont might run out of room even sooner than we thought.

Source: InsideEVs

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About the Author

A writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to HEMIs, can be found wrenching or writing- or esle, he's running, because he's one of those crazy people who gets enjoyment from running insane distances.



  • Zzzz

    Factory in China plus R&D facility there would be an excellent choice.

  • CaptD

    I believe that the Tesla battery factory will be the most important manufacturing facility Tesla owns, since it will literally power the Tesla brand. There would be no reason to risk losing control of their advanced battery manufacturing technology by building batteries in more than one location, since shipping finished batteries would only be a tiny fraction of their cost. We may even see Tesla start to offer long term leases on all its batteries so that they can recycle them as needed while offering their customers a battery upgrade option that would be yet another reason to own a Tesla instead of any other eVehicles. This option might provide an upgraded battery every so many years, which would tend to increase both the range that Tesla’s can be driven and also their resale value, since Tesla will last far longer than ICE vehicles!

    • Bob_Wallace

      Nissan decided that it made more sense to manufacture their North American market batteries in Tennessee.

      • CaptD

        Bob – I think Tesla will be very interested in CA, unless the State poses some weird environmental regulations upon them, I don’t think it will be located “back East”…

        • Otis11

          I think his point is that it’s cheaper to manufacture the batteries here than ship them in from the previous point of manufacturing…

          • Bob_Wallace

            Yep. Notice that most car companies have plants spread around the world, they manufacture close to the market, in general, and avoid long distance shipping costs.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Way off topic follows…

            Otis – you asked about adding bold/initial ability to comments. Something along that line.

            Can’t find the appropriate thread, so I’m posting here.

            Apparently Disqus doesn’t give sites the ability to include shortcut keys for html. But here’s a list of the html that Disqus enables…

            http://help.disqus.com/customer/portal/articles/466253-what-html-tags-are-allowed-within-comments

          • Otis11

            Thanks Bob – but that must be a minimum, because I know from experience it also allows Bold, and I believe italics works as well…

            Come to think of it, idk any html markups that haven’t worked… that could be dangerous if someone decided to be malicious…

          • Bob_Wallace

            I linked to a page with about a dozen usable markups.

            Trying out caption

            1 223 34523
            4 5 6

            and another

            Caption does not let one format a table and keep columns aligned. Alas….

          • Otis11

            Right, right. Those markups are great, but from the way that comment was written I thought you were implying that those were the only ones supported. This doesn’t seem to be the case as I regularly use other markups that aren’t on the list… but I could have mis-understood.

            My other comment was referring to the fact that it doesn’t appear to limit the markups you can use, which could have potential security implications, but I could be mistaken. I’m rusty on my HTML/Security knowledge, and more than a bit tired at the moment…

    • LookingForward

      it might be a small cost, but transportation over the Atlantic or Pacific cost is still big enough for a compagny to have multiple factories.

      • CaptD

        Boeing does not allow their aircraft wings to be built overseas because that is the holy grail of aircraft construction, likewise Tesla would be smart not to build its batteries except in one very controlled environment, so that their technology does not get copied,because like the aircrafts wing, the battery will be the holy grail of eVehicles.

        • Bob_Wallace

          All someone has to do is to buy a Tesla, snatch out the battery, and reverse engineer it.

          Tesla can patent anything that they invent that makes it a better battery. That is their protection, not where the battery is manufactured.

          • CaptD

            Bob – Yes they can do that and I am sure other manufacturers will, but Tesla’s overall battery manufacturing process is what will be Tesla’s greatest secret.

            I also believe that they will design them from the begining so that Tesla can recycle them, in order to maintain control of them by perhaps leasing them instead of selling them.

          • Bob_Wallace

            I don’t think there’s any great secret to Tesla’s battery manufacturing. What they are doing is greatly expanding the scale so that they can benefit from economies of scale.

            This is what Ghosen of Nissan was saying years ago. Get production levels up and battery prices will rapidly drop. Tesla is being bold and going for it.

          • CaptD

            Bob – We are very lucky to have Tesla/SolarCity pushing eVehicles and Solar PV installations, without this Leadership eVehicles adoption would have been delayed for years.

  • CaptD

    I’d love to see Tesla partner with XYZ to market a Tesla eMotorcycle and/or a Tesla eBicycle that use Tesla batteries and allows their owners to plug in to supercharging stations. This would dramatically increase the number of people that will consider buying into the “Tesla” brand. This would be the next logical step for Tesla, since once a person owns a Tesla, why would they consider owning anything else; much like people choose to own a Mac instead of a PC.

  • Bob

    S and X in California. E in China to reduce costs.

  • LookingForward

    US for the American sales and China for the Eurasia and Australian markets, will be a smart move if does this, maybe another factory in France or Germany? Tesla is gonna huge in a decade or so.

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