The electric automaker has moved to idle its only manufacturing facility. The move allows the company to add additional robots to the production line as well as prepare it to build its second model, the Model X crossover.
The production halt is the first since Tesla started producing cars, signaling the company’s decision to accelerate its Model S sedan production as well, as it caters for increased demand – with projected sales for 2014 rising 56% to 35,000 units.
“This represents the single biggest investment in the plant since we really started operations and enables us for higher volumes,” said a company spokesman. “It gets us ready to build X and to do it on the same line as the S.”
“I’m sure with the popularity of the vehicle and need for production and the fact that it’s the sole production facility, they are laser-focused on changing over and revamping it as quickly as they can,” said Michael Robinet, a managing director at IHS Automotive
Simon Sproule, the carmaker’s voice, said Tesla started work on the plant’s production floor on July 21, with car assembly scheduled to restart within two weeks. The goal of the retooling is to increase production by 25%, as the $100 million refresh will add 25 new robots, besides reconstructing the facility’s body and general assembly lines. The Fremont, California plant had a weekly production capacity of around 800 units before the scheduled upgrade.