Tesla's Fremont Factory Could Build as Many as 1,000,000 Units per Year

Tesla Model S on the Fremont production line 1 photo
Photo: Steve Jurvetson via
Yesterday, Musk revealed a lot about his company's plans regarding production. The most important bits were connected to the recently previewed Model 3, stating that the new electric sedan should be built starting July 1, 2017.
Musk also said that he expects up to 200,000 Model 3s to be ready for delivery by the end of next year, a feat that would require a significant increase in production capabilities. That number spread over half a year (since it starts with July 1) means that Tesla would be able to build up to 400,000 units annually. The company's CEO went even further, announcing that the target production rate of 500,000 cars a year initially scheduled for 2020 will be moved forward two years.

This important news made some people wonder how exactly Tesla will be able to meet the new deadlines since it's currently operating in just one car assembly plant (the one in Fremont). Musk made it very clear he intends to expand with new locations, but we're nearing the mid-point of 2016 and no concrete options have emerged so far.

A plant in China sounds like the most logical solution (it was recently revealed that China has the second most Model 3 registrations, only trailing the USA), but even if things were to move very quickly, it would still be a stretch to imagine it will be ready in time for 2018.

To clear up the waters, Elon Musk held a conference call with a number of financial analysts, and not only did he answer their questions but he even went as far as saying that he could see a way for the Fremont plant alone to churn out up to one million cars a year, with help from the Gigafactory in Nevada where the batteries would be built.

However, he quickly goes on to dismiss the idea as not being "advisable," which means it could have been nothing more than just the usual Musk-talk where he exaggerates something just to prove a point. EV specialist website Electrek quotes Tesla Motors' CEO: “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…

The Fremont plant was previously owned by both Toyota and GM, and its maximum production value then was around the 500,000 units per year announced by Tesla yesterday. Currently, the facility hasn't been extended, but Tesla has bought several plots of land in its vicinity, plus leasing one million square feet worth of warehouse space in the Bay Area.

All these signs could point towards a decision to move certain production processes out of Fremont and focus on car assembly there. Would this be enough to reach that one million cars figure? We only have two options: either trust Musk on it, or wait until time proves him right or wrong.
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About the author: Vlad Mitrache
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"Boy meets car, boy loves car, boy gets journalism degree and starts job writing and editing at a car magazine" - 5/5. (Vlad Mitrache if he was a movie)
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