Tesla’s New Tilburg Factory Now Open
Tesla Motors launched its new, nearly 50,000-square meter Tilburg Factory in the Netherlands, announced about year ago as expansion from its previous assembly facility in Tilburg.
180 workers support an assembly line for Tesla cars for European consumers (now up to 20,000 annually). This new capacity is basically double what was available before, a necessary addition for the upcoming arrival of the Model X.
“The single story hangar, around the size of 11 football pitches, doesn’t press steel, weld sections, or paint bodies. Indeed, the Model S cars arrive four to a container, looking pretty much fully formed from the mothership factory in Fremont, California. The interior is completely trimmed, but the rear subframe is a dummy unit, and the battery pack and drivetrain aren’t installed – they’re in a separate container, for safety reasons.
Each Tesla is placed on an automated dolly, which gentely glides around the factory like Dr Who’s robot dog K9, following a magnetic path under the floor. Each Tesla’s wheels come off, the actual subframe complete with drive motor goes in, followed by the battery pack. Separate stations then fill the car with fluids, test the AC and DC charging systems and check the suspension is aligned. After the headlamps, forward facing camera and radar system are verified and a brake and roll test completed on a rolling road, the car is released for a road test like no other.”
Editor’s Note: We should add this is a ‘final assembly‘ facility, meaning they are mostly just re-assembled after leaving Tesla’s Fremont factory in California in order to meet domestic manufacturing/regulatory standards and to avoid extra EU taxation/import tariff rules.
The ‘final assembly‘ process reportedly takes about 2-3 hours per vehicle, but saves about ~10% worth of fees added to the EVs’ pricing. Countries such as Norway and Switzerland do not have these hurdles in place, and thus those vehicles are efficiently shipped complete from the US.
There is also a test track under the roof.
Battery manufacturing plant in the future? That’s what some politicians would like to see:
“In addition to the unveiling in Tilburg, Musk also met with political leaders in northern Belgium. Politicians are lobbying for a battery manufacturing plant in their region, which Musk listed in his top five preferred European locales for expansion.
“We currently have a lot of capacity in our factory in California, but in due time we will explore the possibilities for local production in Europe,” he said according to De Morgen.”