Tesla Continues Growth to Double its Fremont Plant in Size
The reasons behind Tesla's expansion is unfolding.
Tesla is in full swing with its push to grow in order to support the large demand of Model 3s already reserved since the initial announcement. Despite the Gigafactory being readied to complete the bulk of the work for Tesla's vehicles and their energy storage platforms, a local news source reports that the auto manufacturer still wants to upgrade its Fremont facility in order to support the increased demand. Although it plans to double the size of the factory itself, it plans to increase vehicle production nearly five-fold using these upgrades.
"Production hell" was the term that CEO Elon Musk used to describe at the Model 3 launch event regarding what his workers were about to endure during the next few months. Production would need to scale quickly in order to achieve the 5,000 units per week by December of this year, and ultimately 10,000 units by end of year 2018. After some recent unveiling by the city of Fremont, it seems that Tesla wasn't just looking to build more Gigafactories or improve efficiency at its current unfinished Gigafactory (which is already producing more batteries than another other outlet worldwide).
Instead, Tesla will streamline workflow by building additional structures at its Fremont plant. This plan, approved last December by the city, would effectively double the footprint of Tesla's Fremont factory by adding additional structures. We've known about the planned expansion for quite some time, but now everything is beginning to mesh together as the ideology behind the structure's purpose is beginning to unfold.
The above photo shows Tesla's new structures in red, surrounding the plant's existing buildings. One of the first structures being erected during the 4.6 million square foot expansion was spotted by a Reddit user last month, depicting an extremely tall structure that tower above the existing plant. While some believe it would be possible that this large facility is a vertical parking solution, an architectural engineer in the thread stated that he believes it to be an office building due to the structure type, though this has not been confirmed by Tesla. It would make sense that this type of work is being put into solving the notoriously crowded parking situation at the plant, especially with the increase in vehicle production.
Tesla may also be using a portion of the $1.8 billion in funding it was able to raise, which was $300 million more than it was initially seeking. This was a welcome and much needed number, as the company was reportedly spending in excess of $100 million per week to purchase the necessary manufacturing equipment to produce the Model 3. If plans are successful, the expansion would help to turn the company profitable by providing it with the means to scale production quickly and efficiently, allowing for more vehicles to leave the production line and fall into consumer's hands.