Tesla Motors' Fremont factory is huge. At 5.3 million square feet, you need a golf cart to get around. The manufacturing space was purchased by the electric car company in 2010 from its previous owners, General Motors and Toyota, who at one point produced half a million cars per year at the joint-production location. The plant is where Tesla now manufactures all its cars, and has long remained off limits to video cameras — until now.
A crew with CBS 5 was given a tour of a space, and spoke with company spokesperson Alexis Georgeson about the many ways that Tesla broke the standard car-manufacturing mold — beginning with how the company makes a sizable chunk of components in house.
"We start with these 20,000 pound rolls of aluminum," explained Georgeson. "We stamp them into body panels. From the very beginning all the way through the production process.”
Speaking of the huge touch screens the Tesla Model S is known to sport, Georgeson noted that those are made in house as well.
“It’s really kind of a computer factory inside a car factory."
In another break from tradition, all the cars being manufactured in the Fremont plant have already been purchased. That is to say, the company can't seem to pump them off the assembly line fast enough as future owners are willing to fork over cash before the cars even have been made.
While continuing to grow the company (Tesla plans to open a massive lithium ion battery plant in Nevada next near), Musk continues to throw out ideas that could fundamentally change the way we move. Just last week, BGR reported Musk discussing his latest idea: An electric jet that can take off and land vertically.
“I do like the idea of an electric aircraft company,” Musk told those gathered at a SpaceX Hyperloop Pod Award Ceremony. “I think one could do a pretty cool supersonic, vertical, take-off and landing electric jet. That would be really fun. I have a design in mind for that.”
While you'll likely have to wait years to see Musk's electric jet (if he ever builds one, that is), the video tour of Tesla Motors' Fremont plant gives you a little taste of the future of manufacturing, today.