Tesla seems to be constantly improving and expanding its factories, and it has two new factories that will begin producing customer cars soon. Does it need all these factories, as well as the ability to expand at the properties further? According to CEO Elon Musk, Tesla is considering expanding the Fremont, California factory significantly.
There's not much room at Tesla's Fremont site. In fact, it expanded the facility somewhat recently, though it was with a "Sprung Structure," which is basically a glorified tent. The tent was seemingly temporary, but Tesla eventually made it more permanent via local filings.
At any rate, Musk's comments about the California factory came, once again, in replies to tweets related to President Biden's failure to give Tesla proper credit for its successes as a US automaker.
As you can see, Musk was replying to a quote tweet from Gene Simmons, singer of the rock band Kiss. Simmons quoted a Musk tweet that was originally in reply to Biden, though Musk used his reply to Simmons' tweet to elaborate further.
Musk notes that Tesla's Fremont factory is the largest automotive factory in North America, and has been the place of production for some two-thirds of all EVs on the continent, which is double the number of all other brands combined. Despite Tesla moving its headquarters to Texas, Fremont is still operating as usual. Musk also points out that it's currently at full capacity, and Tesla is "considering expanding it significantly."
While Tesla's new factories, one in Austin, Texas, and the other near Berlin, Germany, should work to help the automaker catch up with demand, there are issues with relying on that as the primary plan. We're already well aware of this since it has been reported that the automaker plans to expand its factory in China. In fact, those potential plans recently went from Tesla expanding the factory to reach an annual production goal of 1 million EVs to the addition of a second factory at the Shanghai site, which would double production.
That said, the reason Fremont is still so important, and the reason Tesla may not be able to simply rely on new factories and expansion at other sites is because the California plant is the only location where Tesla makes all four of its current vehicles. Texas will start with the Model Y crossover and graduate to the Cybertruck, Berlin will also start with the Model Y, and the Shanghai factory – which is Tesla's primary export hub – produces the Model 3 and Model Y.
While Tesla's Model S and Model X aren't nearly as popular as its other EVs, there's still demand for them, and it's clear Tesla can't keep up. Essentially, anyone in the world who orders a Model S or Model X is getting a vehicle from Fremont, which is at capacity.
Tesla currently manufactures some 600,000 EVs in Fremont. According to Teslarati, 500,000 of those are Model 3 and Y vehicles, and 100,000 are Model S and X. However, the publication also notes that even though Fremont is still Tesla's primary factory in the US, it produced fewer vehicles in 2021 than Gigafactory Shanghai, but only marginally. The China factory accounted for some 51.7 percent of Tesla's total 2021 output.
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