Tesla reported its worst-ever quarterly loss and said its Model 3 production target remains on track. Aleksandra Michalska reports. Newslook
Electric-vehicle maker Tesla, with CEO Elon Musk saying its current plants are “jammed to the gills,” plans to announce the location of a new SUV factory by the end of the year.
The announcement could set off another gold rush among cities and states vying to become the location of the plant that would not only produce the Model Y, Tesla’s first mass-market priced SUV, but also likely include a battery plant. The lure would be thousands of new jobs, not only from the main plant but at supplier facilities that would surely locate near it.
Musk said production of the long-range electric vehicle would begin in about two years. It would be the brand’s fourth, joining the Model S and X luxury vehicles and Model 3 mass-market electric sedan already in production.
Musk, in a call with analysts and reporters to announce the company’s first-quarter financial results, said the location of the new plant will be announced as soon as this summer or, at the latest, by the end of the year. He also said the company will announce the location of its second battery plant, which it calls a Gigafactory, in China.
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Currently, Tesla has only one auto factory, a former Toyota and General Motors joint facility south of San Francisco in Fremont, Calif. And Tesla also has a giant battery plant, its Gigafactory outside Reno.
He said that both are so “crazy packed” that there is no space for additional production. He said he believes the Fremont production plant is the largest in the world, but that it will be eclipsed in scope by the Gigafactory. The production plant is hitting production levels of more than 4,000 vehicles a week between all three of Tesla’s models, and Musk hopes for a dramatic increase by summer.
“We can’t fit Model Y production at Fremont,” he said. “We are crazy packed.”
Tesla’s production plant is separated from the battery Gigafactory by more than 200 miles. Going forward, Musk said all Tesla plants will make both cars and battery packs in the same facility. That raises the question of whether the battery Gigafactory in China will also produce the Model Y, an issue he didn’t address.
Until now, all Tesla production has been in the U.S., a big selling point for some buyers. But China’s government has become among the world’s most aggressive in promoting electric vehicles and also recently dropped a requirement that foreign automakers team with Chinese companies, making investment far more attractive there.
For now, Musk isn’t saying a lot about the Model Y other than it will be really cool. “Model Y will be amazing,” he promised.