Tesla’s New Fremont Factory Plan To Double Its Size In Preparation For Model 3

1 year ago by Eric Loveday 34

Tesla's Expansion Plans Via SF Chronicle

Tesla’s Expansion Plans Via SF Chronicle

Aerial Footage Of Tesla's Fremont Factory

Aerial Footage Of Tesla’s Fremont Factory

San Francisco Chronicle posted a highly insightful article title “Tesla’s new long-range plan could double size of Fremont factory” in which a team of Chron writers dug deep into Tesla’s future plans for its Fremont factory.

In city planning records, the Chronicle discovered lots of details linked to Tesla’s future plans for the site.

We’re not going to detract from the work done by David R. Baker of the SF Chronicle. As a business reporter for the site, Baker dug deep into Tesla’s city filings and he truly deserves the credit here, so we’ll simply present a bulleted rundown of his finding and suggest you read the article in full here for all the details.

  • Tesla Motors’ Fremont factory could roughly double in size
  • New buildings could be added near the paint shop, in its parking lot and on land next to the test track
  • Tesla purchased a 25-acre lot just north of the factory
  • Tesla could add 4.6 million square feet of space to the facility that’s now 4.5 million square feet
  • Expansion plans could add 3,100 jobs

Much of the expansion efforts would be to support expected high demand for the upcoming Tesla Model 3.

Tesla issued an emailed statement to the Chronicle regarding the automaker’s expansion efforts:

“We are pleased to work with the City of Fremont on a plan that reaffirms our commitment to California and to eventually maximize the potential of our Fremont factory site, California continues to be the epicenter of Tesla’s manufacturing capabilities, and we are proud to be the state’s largest manufacturing employer.”

Once approved, the plans would have to be resubmitted with specifics regarding building size, use of buildings, costs, and so forth. At that point in time we’ll likely find out more in regards to what Tesla actually plans to do with the various new buildings it hopes to add to its Fremont factory.

Hat tip to ffbj!

Source: SF Chronicle

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34 responses to "Tesla’s New Fremont Factory Plan To Double Its Size In Preparation For Model 3"

  1. Murrysville EV says:

    Time to give Thermo Fisher Scientific the boot, so I can get my Model 3 even sooner.

  2. Four Electrics says:

    Why is it that, at the height of NUMMI’s production, they were making more than 400,000 cars per year at this plant, but Tesla needs to double its size in order to hit the same number of cars? Were cars just simpler way back in the olden days?

    1. RexxSee says:

      Because the goal is +1,000,000 ?

      1. Four Electrics says:

        I would have expected additional factories in Europe and China, as Elon has said that pushing a million cars through Fremont “may not be optimal.” Of course, he’s entitled to change his mind.

        1. Four Electrics says:

          Here’s the quote:

          “Well, I think it is actually feasible, maybe not advisable, but feasible to do it with just Fremont and the Gigafactory. We actually believe that Fremont and the Gigafactory could scale to a million vehicles. Whether that’s actually wise is a separate question…”

          1. Heisenberghtbacktotherootsandnuts says:

            My fifty cents: it is not wise to have one single location.

            Would any silicon valley business fully rely on one single server?

            Never ever…

            Here are some scenarios (some may contain paranoid thinking, but if you are fighting against big oil a bit of paranoidity should be acceptable…)

            Major disaster. Earthquake, storm, fire, “sponsored” terrorist attack, heavy rain, major blackout, local problems leading to logistic problems, a milead satelite “accidently” falling on a factory….

            Well I guess there are endless reasons why a certain minimum of spatial diversification should never ever be dismissed even if that adds cost and complexity to the system of factories.

            I am quite sure that there are enough “players” out there who would be happy to get rid of TESLA.

            Just make usa parkway a bit longer and build assembly factory 2 slightly closer to all your base 😉 we all believe that the aliens will protect us, don’t we?

        2. RexxSee says:

          Who told you there wont be any in China and Europe?

      2. Terawatt says:

        If they can hit 500,000 by 2018 using the existing facility, as they’ve been telling investors and everyone else, now is hardly the time to expand it. Buying or otherwise securing access to the land however may be a good idea.

        If they really do this now I’ll read it as a clear sign they can’t make half a million in the existing space.

    2. Ocean Railroader says:

      The reality is that unlike the gas cars that were made their. Tesla themselves even said that no one took them seriously so they had to make the bulk of their parts in house.

      I really think that this factory expansion makes logical sense considering how specialized Tesla’s cars are.

      1. Terawatt says:

        That makes sense. But it does put Tesla’s claims, made numerous times, that they could make as many or more cars there as NUMMI ever did, in a grim light.

    3. speculawyer says:

      Well, one of the things is that NUMMI was heavily reliant on so many parts from outside manufacturers. And I believe many of the car company components like engines and transmissions were manufactured at other facilities and shipped in for final assembly.

      Tesla builds the motors at their factory. And they build the battery packs there. But the battery manufacturing will eventually move to Gigafactory 1 in Sparks, Nevada.

    4. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      Four Electrics said:

      “Why is it that, at the height of NUMMI’s production, they were making more than 400,000 cars per year at this plant, but Tesla needs to double its size in order to hit the same number of cars?”

      I certainly don’t have inside knowledge, but surely at least part of the equation is that Tesla does significantly more in-house manufacturing and assembly than most if not all other auto makers. This means they have more workers per car, as well as more production machinery and assembly lines per car, all under one roof.

      But it seems to me that much of the parts manufacturing and subassembly work could be moved to outlying buildings, without significantly impacting production efficiency… despite what Elon keeps saying about distance traveled during manufacturing being part of what he sees as the “physics equation” for manufacturing efficiency.

      1. Terawatt says:

        What then about their repeated claims that they could make that many cars in the facility? If this is why they can’t, they definitely must have known. Telling investors the opposite would be not just immoral but also illegal.

        1. Justme says:

          Maybe they need the original space to ACTUAL assembly… So the creation of the parts that they do inhouse, will move to the other new buildings?

          Just a guess

          1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

            Seems like a reasonable guess. In fact, I’d call it more than a guess. There are reports that Tesla has already moved some operations to nearby buildings.

        2. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

          Terawatt said:

          “Telling investors the opposite would be not just immoral but also illegal.”

          You’re pretty judgemental, Terawatt. You might consider toning that down if you want to influence others’ opinions.

          If it was actually a crime for a company to make claims which turn out to be more optimistic than realistic, then about 99% of all companies bigger than mom-and-pop operations would be guilty of such crimes.

          I personally am appalled at the level of dishonesty by corporations. They routinely lie to the public, to their customers, and even to their own employees. But much as I wish that was considered unacceptable business practice, it’s not.

          As for what actually is illegal for a company to tell its investors, at least in the USA, I suggest you read up on the legal definition of “fraud”. It’s actually a very restrictive definition under U.S. law, and difficult to prosecute. I am not a lawyer, but I’m fairly certain that Tesla telling investors that they can make 400k-500k cars at the existing Fremont plant is quite far from meeting the criteria for fraud.

    5. Alonso Perez says:

      It takes a really long time to go through planning, permitting, environmental impact, land purchases, and so on. Yet, these things are comparatively cheap. So if you do them ahead of time you give yourself options later. If you don’t, you are stuck. So let’s say Model III (and platform derivatives) demand explodes. If so, Tesla will have completed the ground work, quite literally, to quickly expand facilities.

  3. Thomassen says:

    + model S and X production

  4. Ocean Railroader says:

    They should rename the proposed Metro station and call it the Tesla station.

    But I’m really pleased with how big the new Tesla factory will be.

    1. VazzedUp says:

      They will need to build a bridge over the rails, or its going to be a long walk to get to work.

  5. speculawyer says:

    As a Bay Area resident, this is such a nice accident of history to have a growing manufacturing biz over in the East bay. It is so expensive here that manufacturing is pretty much dead. But getting that plant for a song and having a high-end product has made is possible for Tesla to manufacture here.

    That factory was pretty much ready to rot away due to disuse. Now it is alive and making the most talked about car on the planet.

    1. ffbj says:

      Yeah and if think of it as a video game Musk rolled a 20, or a double 00, in rpg parlance, when they got the factory, and all the equipment inside and on the grounds for a song.

      1. Timmy says:

        When I heard the news of the sale in May of 2010, I thought I felt a shift in the space-time continuum. 🙂

        1. Terawatt says:

          Your psychic power experience would have been slightly more convincing – and only slightly – if you’d felt space-time shift FIRST, and then read about it. ?

          1. ffbj says:

            True, but he heard about it. He did not read about it. We are lost in space, and our time is our own. According to Steve Miller.
            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QkrLmeeCrhY

        2. ffbj says:

          I think the disk was definitely warped that day.

  6. Scott Franco says:

    The answer is clear:

    Start issuing the model 3 optionally as a kit.

    Yep, build it yourself in your garage.

  7. Anthony says:

    Sounds like Tesla is using my old university’s method of expansion – build on top of the existing parking lots and tell the complainers to use mass transit (they even built a small bus terminal on campus).

    Hopefully the plans also include a parking garage for staff so they have a place to park!

    1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      Yeah, that sounds rather problematic or at least optimistic, to depend on a great portion of Tesla employees switching to commuting by light rail.

      A better plan would be to use some of the expansion space for a high-rise parking garage… with every parking space equipped with a L2 charge point, of course!

  8. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

    Interesting to see that Tesla has plans for significantly expanding the manufacturing space at its Fremont plant. That certainly appears to be a much more workable plan than trying to cram that many production lines and sub-assembly lines into the existing space, especially given the recent report published here at InsideEVs that all the space inside the old NUMMI plant is now being used, with much of the space being used for storage of production equipment for the Model ≡, which is yet to be installed.

    But so far as I can see from the report, this is just a plan. Tesla might decide to build a second auto assembly plant in another State, or even in China. The State of California is far from the most ideal place for an auto assembly plant, due to strong pro-union laws and environmental regulations.

    (Not that I’m opposed to unions in principal; rather the opposite. But there’s no question that auto makers tend to make a better profit margin in States which lack strong State support for unions.)

    1. QCO says:

      Yes, the more Tesla grows, the less immune it will be from the realities of large scale globalised manufacturing. Eventually Tesla will end up manufacturing in the same places as everyone else for the same economic reasons.

      The “home factory” in Fremont could continue to make high margin and low volume vehicles, and pilot builds, but the high volume production would have to end up in a lower cost location.

      Mazda, at 1.3m annual production, might provide the most applicable example. They can build all their models in Hiroshima, where design engineers sit next to the line, but the highest volume cars are built in low cost regional factories in places like Mexico and Thailand.

  9. Mister G says:

    GO TESLA GO tell all the haters and naysayers to kiss your arse. Can’t wait for model 3.

  10. leafowner says:

    How about building a plant in the South East where there is a large established supplier base and workforce???