Tesla Motors Temporarily Shuts Down Production Line for Model X Upgrades
July 22, 2014 1:23 PM
It will also ramp up Model S production
Tesla Motors is temporarily pausing production at its Fremont, California plant in order to ramp up Model S units and prepare for the upcoming Model X. According to a new report from
, Tesla is halting production for about two weeks so it can bring in 25 robots and upgrade the factory’s body and general assembly lines.
This reconfiguration is expected to cost about $100 million USD, and increase production by 25 percent.
“This represents the single biggest investment in the plant since we really started operations and enables us for higher volumes,” said Simon Sproule, a spokesman for Tesla.
“It gets us ready to build X and to do it on the same line as the S.”
Before the pause in production -- which began yesterday -- Tesla was making nearly 800 Model S' per week. The goal is to up this number to 1,000 units weekly.
There's good reason to ramp up
Model S production
. The EV has had a good year so far with 6,457 Model S sedans sold in Q1 2014 alone. For all of 2014, Tesla is expecting global delivery of 35,000 vehicles.
The forecast for Q2 2014 calls for production of 8,500 to 9,000 Model S', with deliveries at about 7,500.
To top it off, the Model S is getting a lot of attention globally. Customers start getting their Model S' in Hong Kong next week, and
the UK government is eyeing the Model S
as a potentional purchase for UK ministers conducting official business across London (more specifically, the Model S will address current issues like crowded streets and fees for gasoline vehicles in London).
Beyond increased Model S production, the retooling will also prepare and modify the Fremont plant for the Model X later this year.
Elon Musk and the Model X [SOURCE: Best Car Blog]
The Model X -- which was introduced in February 2012 -- is Tesla's upcoming all-electric, sport-utility vehicle. The new EV will be heavier than the Model S with 10 percent higher energy consumption.
Some other Model X features we've heard about are "Falcon Doors" for rear seat occupants, all-wheel-drive as a standard (with a separate electric motor driving the front wheels), three battery capacities to choose from (40, 60, and 85 kWh), the ability to sprint from 0 to 60 mph in around 4.4 seconds and a maximum driving range between 214 to 267 miles.
The Model X was originally slated to release in 2013 for $49,900 USD, but it was delayed to 2014. Then in February of this year, it was announced that the
Model X would be delayed until 2015
because Tesla CEO Elon Musk wasn't 100 percent happy with the design quite yet.
"It's damn hard to make an SUV in particular that is beautiful and yet incredibly functional at the same time," said Musk. "It's a harder design problem than the Model S."
The Fremont plant will also make battery packs for homes and businesses to store power from solar panels while Tesla moves forward with its planned
, which aims to make batteries at lower costs. Tesla is currently looking at California, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas and Arizona for locations.
Tesla said the giant factory would create 6,500 jobs, and the company will invest around $2 billion in the plant through 2020 while investors will pay another $2-3 billion for a total $4-5 billion investment.
While the Fremont plant is going through its retooling, workers have the choice of taking vacation or sticking around for maintenance or training shifts. Tesla has over 6,000 employees total.
Tesla is expected to release Q2 2014 financial results on July 31, which will include revenue from initial sales in China and the UK.
"A politician stumbles over himself... Then they pick it out. They edit it. He runs the clip, and then he makes a funny face, and the whole audience has a Pavlovian response." -- Joe Scarborough on John Stewart over Jim Cramer
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