Tesla's original factory in Fremont, California, seemed over capacity years ago when we visited for the Model 3 delivery event. Since then, the company has opened several new factories. However, it seems the goal is still to upgrade Fremont and make more space, if possible.
There's very little room for expansion at Tesla's Fremont factory. Perhaps it could build up, by adding more floors or freeing up the upper floor space for better use. Tesla has also acquired some other nearby buildings and properties, but it's clearly out of space, as it has resorted to putting up tents over the years.
With that said, we've been keeping you apprised of a number of recent filings that suggest the upgrade process at the Tesla factory is ongoing, and probably more substantial than many folks might expect. It seems at this point, Tesla could just focus its finances and energy on the new factories and not be so concerned with Fremont. However, that's certainly not the case.
According to Teslarati, several new filings point to Tesla continuing with improvements at the California factory and also opening up more space for manufacturing. While the automaker has plans to move forward with upgrades and tool installations on the first floor, it's also freeing up second-floor space, near the areas where its new battery production lines are being installed.
Two filings from April 21, 2023, reveal new electrical receptacles and tools going in on the first floor. Meanwhile, the filings have listings for “Equipment Space Moves,” which pertain to moving things like chargers and industrial vehicles to different locations to open up more space on the factory's second floor.
It's not clear whether the newly available space will be used to expand the battery production operations on the second floor or add additional areas for EV production. Tesla's Fremont factory is the company's only factory that produces all four of its current models, the Model 3, Model Y, Model S, and Model X. Tesla's other factories are heavily focused on the Model Y, though the Model 3 is also built in China.
Tesla's battery production plans on Fremont's second floor apply to a new battery line project underway that we've known about for some time, in addition to a more recently revealed Cybertruck battery pack line. It's been clear in filings that these two lines are located on the second floor, but that they're not the same.
After adding the tents (sprung structures) years ago, Tesla did talk about trying to expand the Fremont factory, but there really just isn't enough space to grow much. As shared by Teslarati, Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Jonas noted after a Tesla factory tour last year:
“The plant was never designed to produce 450k units (at its peak produced ~300k units before Tesla took it over from Toyota) which was immediately apparent at the tour. Tesla does not shy away from the fact the plant is inefficiently designed with 4 assembly buildings, one of which is a tent that cars are assembled in.”
Nonetheless, Tesla appears to be doing everything it can to upgrade the space and make it workable as it continues to grow exponentially.