Space is at a premium at the 5 million square foot Tesla factory in Fremont, California. Things are so tight that the third Tesla Model 3 assembly line is housed outside the main factory in a large tent. The new line will build dual-motor high-performance versions of the Model 3 first. Elon Musk says the tent went up and the assembly line was completed in just 3 weeks time — an extraordinary achievement previously unheard of in the automobile industry.
Amazing work by Tesla team. Built entire new general assembly line in 3 weeks w minimal resources. Love u guys so much! Pic of 1st Model 3 dual motor performance coming off the line … pic.twitter.com/Xr55P3fmGd
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) June 16, 2018
Notice the red brake calipers in the front. Those are the hallmark of all Tesla high-performance models. It is well known that cars with red brake calipers stop 5% faster than cars with ordinary calipers. It’s a scientific fact! The folks at Jalopnik were greatly amused by the news. “Allegedly, the factory also houses an indoor test track. With these considerations in mind, it’s possible the company wasn’t able to fit another assembly line inside the 5 million square foot facility, but if that is true, it seems absurd.”
Over at the Tesla Motors Club forum, people noticed the car in the photo seems to have an unusually high ride height. The consensus is that the 75 kWh battery has not yet been fitted into the car. The weight of the long-range battery should bring the ride height down a few inches. The dual-motor performance Model 3 will have a 0–60 mph time of 3.5 seconds and a top speed of 155 miles per hour. Range is listed at 310 miles. Price without Autopilot is $78,000 — about the same as the base price of the larger Model S sedan.
There are no details about how many cars per week will be built on the new line, but if it was put together in just 3 weeks, there may be some quality control and registration issues that need to be addressed before it starts spitting out new cars at a high rate.
At its peak in 2006, when the factory was home to a joint venture between GM and Toyota, the Fremont factory was cranking out over 8,000 cars a week. Tesla isn’t quite there yet, but it is making up ground fast. Adding a third production line for the Model 3 surely will help it get closer to the 5,000 car per week level. Elon seems confident. In response to a question about Tesla [TSLA] shorts hyperventilating about the tent, Elon tweeted:
Tesla has not indicated whether the tent in the parking lot is to be a permanent fixture or whether a new factory building is planned at the already overcrowded facility. Either way, a car’s a car, and Tesla is producing more and more by the week.