Tesla’s Tent City Set To Expand: Should Speed Model 3 Prep

OCT 2 2018 BY VANJA KLJAIC 31

The California-based carmaker is eyeing more room to finish electric vehicles

For Tesla, there are seemingly three obstacles the company has faced for the last several years: production issues, delivery issues and ultimately, the room to operate. While the Gigafactory posed a big boost in overall production volume, the Fremont facility still couldn’t keep up with the demand. In turn, Elon Musk and his team decided to bring in an unorthodox solution to a growing problem: build a tent. While many have ridiculed both Musk and Tesla for such a solution, it clearly worked.

The tent is an easy to build, cost-effective and easy to maintain solution for what was and still is a growing problem for the U.S based carmaker. However, it helped Tesla to churn out Model 3’s at an astonishing rate, building these cars like there’s no tomorrow. The company even managed to hit over 5,000 Model 3 vehicles produced per week, proving all the naysayers wrong. However, it seems that the carmaker has outgrown even this solution, as a brand new tent is underway for their outbound logistics yard. In a building permit issued by the City of Fremont, Tesla is set to erect a south lot vehicle wrap tent: Install 50′ wide x 80′ long tent for wrapping vehicles to protect in transit.

Hopefully, this means that Tesla will (at least somewhat) be out of delivery hell to an extent. More vehicles wrapped means more vehicles on flatbeds, getting delivered to their customers. Just recently, Tesla confirmed a whopping 80,000 vehicles and 83,500 deliveries in Q3, pushing their stock to new highs. Even with the whole Elon Musk and FTC drama unfolding for the past few days. Overall, good days are ahead for Tesla it seems, and we’re thrilled by that.

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31 Comments on "Tesla’s Tent City Set To Expand: Should Speed Model 3 Prep"

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TJKR

I am wondering if this is going to be for the Standard Battery config. My delivery estimator shows 3-6 mos.

David

Should free up space in the factory.

Viking79

Neat, that means the cut a month off in the last month? That is good that plans might be staying on track.

Clive

Good because I might go for a rwd standard battery.

Miggy

Hope it is for the RHD models.

Jedi2155

This seems like its simply for protecting cars during transit due to the many owners who complain of issues during delivery that occured during transit.

Andy

If they don’t have enough factory space to produce 5,000+ cars without resorting to creating more space in tents then where are the other 5,000 cars a week coming from? Are these tents short term solutions to deal with space while proper permits for permanent buildings go through the system? Or are they afterthoughts because they didn’t realist they needed this much space to produce this many vehicles (The lines are slower than anticipated, extra processes that they didn’t anticipated were needed are)? Or something else?

Or is there a lot of work going on inside the buildings, producing new lines and production areas, with the tents being short term solutions until they are up and running?

Mark.ca

Maybe they are short term solutions…or maybe they just found the cheapest way of fast expanding production floor…or maybe it’s both.

Windbourne

second one. Those tents are very likely permanent.

antrik

Well, the analysts who visited the factory said 8,000 per week should be possible with little additional CapEx — which I think implies little additional space use… Further expansion might need larger additions, though.

The original expansion plans for the Fremont plant included several more buildings that haven’t been constructed yet. I think it’s pretty clear that creating the “tent” assembly line, rather than erecting the further planned buildings, was an ad-hoc solution, when they realised the existing lines won’t be sufficient to reach 5,000 before the end of Q2. Whether they will keep it long-term, or move the line to a traditional building at some point, hasn’t been clarified yet.

Pushmi-Pullyu

I presume that construction is proceeding apace in areas near the existing assembly plant, according to reports that Tesla has filed for construction permits nearby. We haven’t seen reports of such construction, but that doesn’t mean it’s not happening.

I presume that the tents are only intended as a temporary solution… altho I have been wrong on this subject before, so take my opinion with a pinch of salt!

Windbourne

Sorry, but in this case, I really think that these are permanent. There is NO reason to switch to regular buildings. I mean none. Those tents actually do a better job than a regular building.

Windbourne

there is nothing wrong with ‘tent’ architecture.
In fact, based on various places, it is by far the BEST solution:
For example, large structures where you have loads of ppl at, such as
Denver International Airport (DIA)
comment image

Northridge in Highlands Ranch, CO
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King Abdulaziz International Airport’s Hajj Terminal in Jeddah.
comment image

Not only are these cheaper to put up, but actually more durable and more efficient than regular roofs esp in the mild to hot temps.

So, for China, these would be Ideal. For most of America, again, ideal. Once you get into say Northern America, Canada, Scandinavian nations, etc, then no. Other architecture will do better.

Scott Franco

Next step: get the end users to unwrap the cars themselves.

Scott Franco

Actually, a real thing, and its funny. A lot of people don’t realize that the plastic wrap they put on new stereos and other equipment, usually the screens, comes off. I have gone to friends houses and seen the decaying plastic wrap there that you can hardly see through, and they are quite surprised when I rip it off and their stereo suddenly looks brand new.

antrik

I know a lot of people who keep the wrap on intentionally, because they want to keep their gadgets “pristine”… Who cares that it’s filthy ugly on the outside, as long as they know it’s perfect underneath, right? 😉

I’m trying to remember whether I encountered people who actually didn’t realise they could take the wrap off… I have a vague recollection of such things; but I can’t say for sure.

Clive

Just like when you buy any Apple products.

I love the idea of perfect paint with a plastic cover over it keeping it perfect until removed.

antrik

The “tents” aren’t about saving space. A traditional multi-story building would in fact allow for better space utilisation. It’s all about speed.

(Possibly also cost — though it’s questionable whether that’s a gain long-term: otherwise, we would have to assume others should have discovered that too…)

Pushmi-Pullyu

It’s about insufficient space on the factory floor. Before the tent was erected, there were multiple comments from Elon and possibly others about the assembly plant bursting at the seams, and about moving as many operations as possible to outlying buildings.

Nobody, and I do mean nobody, puts an auto assembly plant on multiple floors. Tesla did do assembly of the battery packs on the 2nd floor of the Fremont plant, before that was moved to Gigafactory 1, but that didn’t involve moving car bodies above the ground floor!

Not that I’m an expert on the subject by any means, but common sense says that they would need to, at the very least, heavily reinforce the ceiling to put in an auto assembly line on the 2nd floor.

Some Guy

Correct. Super-heavy machinery with moving parts is rarely set-up above ground floor (with no basement underneath), otherwise one needs a structure that is basically just massive walls and pillars. Weight is only one issue, vibrations is the main reason. Can be done in buildings constructed on purpose for such endeavours, but is a nightmare to retrofit into existing structures. Another reason is that all movements that require lifting up and down rather than moving around in one level is usually slowing down the speed of an assembly line.

Windbourne

Tesla is a constant case of ‘Nobody, and I do mean nobody,’ ….
If Tesla followed the idiots at Toyota, etc, then they could NOT compete. So, they have to have lower CapEx, lower Labor, lower part costs, and higher quality. Right now, they are focused on lower costs, but quality IS improving.

And it makes perfectly good sense to use tents since this is not meant to be multi stories.
In fact, a factory with a hub/spoke arch with the spokes being the final assembly lines, would make good sense.
They might even build small spokes between the assembly lines that are nothing but part lines.
Or use the small spokes for things like paint. In fact, rather than switch paints all around, they might have multiple small spokes, say 6, which are the paints. 4 of those would be rigged for just 1 paint type. The other 2 would then be for the smaller quantities.

Rolando

The main bottleneck is still the paint-shop, discontinue 2 colors and make multi-layer paint more expensive didn’t solve the “paint hell”. But most likely a hazardous paint storage room and exhaust filtering system of an additional paint-shop requires a solid concrete building not a tent.

Pushmi-Pullyu

Yeah, the tents obviously are not air-tight, just by looking at photos. It doesn’t seem practical to put a second paint shop in a tent. More like, Tesla is going to have to clear out some factory floor space for a 2nd paint shop, or else convert an outlying building for that purpose, and figure out some way to carry the unpainted car “bodies in white” to that shop, and somehow get them back again without exposing them to dust and airborne debris.

Maybe a Boring Co. solution? 😉

Windbourne

some of the tents actually are tighter than regular buildings.
it depends on construction.

ffbj

A little theme music, Maestro, please:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1D5Sa2Yq-2g

Speculawyer

Intensity in tent city.

elmechdesign

“…pushing their stock to new highs.” ? Ummm, how do you come up with this? Did the stock market fail to show an ~80 point rise in Tesla’s stock today? Maybe my reading comprehension is off at the moment.

Pushmi-Pullyu

I must admit, the “production line inside a tent” now looks a lot like a successful business move for Tesla, and not the desperation “Hail Mary” ploy that I thought it was at first.

Kudos to Tesla for “thinking outside the box” — in this case somewhat literally, if the 4 walls, ceiling and floor of the factory are a “box”! And in this case I’m happy to have been proven wrong. 🙂

“‘When the facts change, I change my mind,’ John Maynard Keynes once observed in a debate. ‘What do you do, sir?’ Why, sir, they take no notice of changed facts and so are untroubled by such questions.” — Rex Murphy

Windbourne

Now, you are thinking and talking correctly.

Alex

I know they’re achieving great numbers, but that tent and surroundings look like a big mess with stuff all over.

Peter

Same as any auto construction anywhere. There’s going to be a mess when your manufacturing lots of vehicles in any plant. Do you think GM or V Dub are any different, except the actual tent of course.