Fremont? Tesla Motors snubs Downey, takes factory to Northern California

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tesla factory model s fremontAfter long and public negotiations with the Southern California cities of Long Beach and Downey, Tesla Motors has gone in a completely new direction. The auto manufacturer says it will build its Model S sedan and future Tesla vehicles at the former NUMMI factory in Fremont, California.

Tesla began discussions to acquire the former Toyota site this spring, when it was also evaluating opportunities in Downey and Long Beach.

One of the largest and cleanest automotive production plants in the world, the factory was in use producing the Corolla and Tacoma vehicles for Toyota as recently as April of this year. Toyota produced its last car there just last month.

Tesla representatives said that the turnkey nature of the Fremont facility, along with its recent vehicle production and considerable room for expansion made it stand out from other sites. Capable of producing half a million vehicles per year, the award-winning plant was the first of a widely copied system that lead to dramatic quality improvements, manufacturing flexibility and worker satisfaction.

“The Tesla Factory effectively leverages an ideal combination of hardcore Silicon Valley engineering talent, traditional automotive engineering talent and the proven Toyota production system,” said Tesla CEO Elon Musk. “The new Tesla Factory will give us plenty of room to grow.”

The Fremont factory is located near Tesla’s Palo Alto headquarters, another point which influenced the company’s decision.

Tesla’s Model S is expected to be the first pure electric premium sedan and is designed from the ground up to take full advantage of the electric vehicle architecture. The sedan, unveiled by Tesla in March 2009, is expected to travel over 300 miles per charge when operated with an optional extended-range battery pack. The Model S has an anticipated base price of $49,900.

Tesla designs and manufactures EVs and EV powertrain components. It is currently the only automaker in the U.S. that builds and sells highway-capable EVs in serial production.

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