Tesla Motors Fremont Factory Usage Now Almost At 50%

4 months ago by Eric Loveday 25

Tesla's Fremont Factory

Tesla’s Fremont Factory

Tesla's Fremont Assembly - Test Track In Upper Left

Tesla’s Fremont Assembly – Test Track In Upper Left

The 380-acre former NUMMI site, which contains approximately 5.4 million square feet of industrial space, is the production home of Tesla Motors.

When Tesla initially purchased the site, some were concerned over the sheer size of the facility and doubted Tesla’s need for such a massive factory.

Initially, Tesla utilized approximately 10% of the factory, which is why industry analysts questioned Tesla’s decision to purchase the 5.4 million square-foot facility.

Those early days are well behind Tesla now.

As most of us know, Tesla purchased an adjacent track of land next to the Fremont factory.  That became Tesla’s official test track for development of the Model S and upcoming Model X.

Tesla Model S

InsideEVs: Tesla Model S Doing Some Stress Testing On Fremont Test Track

But inside the Fremont factory there’s been considerable expansion too.

From an on-the-scene experience, we report that Tesla Motors is now utilizing nearly 50% of the 5.4 million square feet within the Fremont factory.  This increased usage is mostly due to Model S production increases and gearing up for Tesla Model X production.  Of course, some of the increased usage is from research and development of future products (Gen 3), but those areas of the facility are not accessible to the media or general public.

Regardless, it’s clear Tesla made a wise choice in purchasing such a sizable facility.  In fact, someday Tesla might even outgrow the 5.4 million square-foot site.  Maybe Tesla is beginning to outgrow Fremont already.

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25 responses to "Tesla Motors Fremont Factory Usage Now Almost At 50%"

  1. Anthony says:

    Wow, buying that Lathrop facility makes a lot more sense now that it did previously. We always heard about the “500,000″ vehicle capacity of NUMMI, but clearly that was on a much more space efficient FAL, rather than all the space needed to manufacture the thousands of parts that go into the Model S and X.

    1. MJ says:

      “but clearly that was on a much more space efficient FAL”

      Pardon my ignorance. What does “FAL” stand for?

      1. Frank Clark says:

        Final Assembly Line?

  2. Rob Stark says:

    They are using half the site but make only 700 cars a week?

    Does Tesla plant to move the non-manufacturing capacity to Lanthrop?

    Like development of Model E and future products?

    1. pjwood says:

      +1 There is a big difference between making use of available space and being space efficient.

      1. kdawg says:

        They probably have a roller-hockey rink set up. :)

    2. Joeviocoe says:

      Every other automaker can afford to have separate $Billion Dollar facilities for R&D And manufacturing of components.
      Like GM has in Detroit, and Toyota has in Japan… they utilized NUMMI solely for assembly of the final vehicles.
      Tesla has everything in one location.

  3. TSLA says:

    website isnt working….. Again…….

    1. Alan says:

      Try F5 a few times, it worked for me !

  4. Ocean Railroader says:

    I think the reason why Tesla is using up so much of the factory’s space is that they have to have room for the hundreds of machines that make the custom electric car parts. In that I remember Elon Musk making comments that a lot of the regular car part makers wanted nothing to do with Tesla when they were first starting out so they had to make a lot of things in house.

    What could be going on is they are planning on moving some of the machines that do nothing but stamp parts out of raw metal to the new 400,000 square foot factory. It would make sense in that I bet having 50 to 100 different production lines making new parts must take up a lot of space.

    1. Anthony says:

      Ideally, you’d have all the parts made off site, and only the large parts (chassis, battery pack) would be made on-site and the smaller parts would be trucked in from the new facility.

      You’d have the chassis fabrication, pack assembly, and final assembly line at the NUMMI plant, and everything else off-site.

      1. Ocean Railroader says:

        That sounds like a good idea in that I think right now they have a lot of small parts being built at the factory.

        It could be that all these small parts being made at the big factory could be slowing down production in that you waste a lot of room for the small parts and not the big ones.

  5. Anon says:

    I guess all those other companies that didn’t want anything to do with Tesla, are kicking themselves now…

    1. David Stone says:

      I doubt it.

      They realise that hinsight is always 20/20, but at the time, it was not clear how good tm-mangagement and strategy, and of course, luck, would be.

      TM is the only new car maker that is sucessful.
      If they had worked fully with them all, they would have lost out.

      1. Anon says:

        Continued contracts + new models and high demand = losing out?

        I don’t understand your logic…

        1. i3 fan says:

          Tesla is selling 35,000 cars.
          Volkswagen is selling 10mm this year
          GM is selling 8mm
          Ford is selling 6mm
          Fiat Chrysler is selling 4.5mm
          BMW is selling 2mm

          I don’t think the suppliers really think about Tesla. Volumes are too light and its too niche of a product so really not relevant to their overall business. That’s why tesla had to vertically integrate.

          1. kdawg says:

            My company is trying to be a Tesla supplier, not car parts but automation. I’d love to work some equipment for them.

            1. Anon says:

              +1

              Some execs need to see further than to just the next quarter…

        2. David Stone says:

          If they had worked fully with all the new car makers, most of which failed, they would have lost out.
          No-one could have known in advance who was going to suceed.

          Tesla did almost fail, which Musk openly stated.

    2. Dr. Kenneth Noisewater says:

      Tesla still buys components, such as Mercedes switchgear and shifters.

      However, AFAIK Tesla is the only EV maker that’s using AC induction motors, and presumably their volumes aren’t worth tooling up for suppliers, at the prices Tesla would be expecting to pay.

      Interesting article on the Spark EV motor, AC but using permanent magnets: http://blog.caranddriver.com/we-build-the-chevy-spark-ev%E2%80%99s-ac-permanent-magnet-motor/

      1. TomArt says:

        Does anybody know why AC induction motors are not commonly used in other BEVs? Aren’t they supposed to be efficient, as well as lighter-weight and cheaper (no rare earths, just steel and copper).

        1. ModernMarvelFan says:

          AC Induction motor is cheaper.

          However to achieve flatter torque control and regen, the control circuits will be slightly more complex.

          The permanent magnet motors are much easier to control at low RPM and high torque applications. But its top RPM is more limited in a comparable design due to magnetic saturation (AC induction can have that issue as well but generally, it can go higher). For most BEVs, the top speed is limited anyway, so that is NOT an issue. Tesla has much higher top speed.

          So, these days, they are combining the characteristics of the two to create AC synchronous motors which has permanent magnet and AC induction plates in the rotor as well. Spark EV motor is a good example of that.

  6. scott franco says:

    Ditto that. The old Fremont plant was just a final assembly plant. The engines were made offsite, as well as most of the parts. The only significant fabrication onsite was the huge press they had to stamp out body panels.

  7. Frank Clark says:

    I visited that “track of land” Eric. Very punny!!
    It was eerie watching three Teslas racing around the track at high speed. When I visited Fremont eight months ago it did not look like they were approaching 50%. Go Tesla! Nice article, Eric.

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