In the past few months, we’ve seen plenty of high resolution drone videos pop up on sites like Vimeo and YouTube detailing the progress being made at Tesla Motors’ massive Gigafactory construction site in Reno, Nevada.
Due to be completed some time next year, the Tesla Gigafactory is estimated to churn out somewhere between 50 and 100 gigawatt-hours of lithium-ion battery packs per year, and when complete will be the world’s biggest lithium-ion manufacturing and reprocessing facility.
But amidst all of the excitement surrounding the Tesla gigafactory, it’s all too easy to forget the Fremont facility where Tesla Motors [NASDAQ:TSLA] builds its Model S electric car and will soon built its Model X crossover SUV is pretty impressive in its own right.
Filmed earlier this month using a Phantom 3 drone, the video does a great job in illustrating just how gargantuan the former NUMMI facility in Fremont California really is, and helps remind us just how quickly Tesla has grown in size in recent years.
Indeed, when we first visited the Fremont facility back in October 2011, only a small proportion of the facility was being used by the Californian automaker, with much of the facility lying dormant for use at a later time.
Now, as the done video shows, hundreds of Tesla cars can be seen neatly parked in the attached parking lots around the Tesla facility, while rows of trailers sit at loading bays, presumably supplying the facility with all the raw materials needed to build the 2,000+ cars per week that Tesla says it is currently producing.
Originally built as the New United Motor Manufacturing, Inc. facility (NUMMI for short), the automotive plant now home to Tesla opened in 1984 under a joint venture between General Motors and Toyota. The former used it as a way to learn about Toyota’s efficient Japanese production methods, while the later used it as a facility where it could make U.S.-market cars.
During that time, many different models were produced at NUMMI, including the Chevrolet Nova, Geo Prizm, Chevrolet Prizm, Toyota Hilux, Toyota Voltz, Toyota Corolla and Pontiac Vibe. But whenGM announced that it would be discontinuing its partnership with Toyota in June 2009, the future for the facility looked bleak.
By November 2009, a decision was made by Toyota to close the facility, with the last vehicle rolling off the projection line on April 1, 2010.
Less than a month later, Tesla Motors purchased the facility and much of the equipment contained therein at a massively discounted price, securing itself a partially equipped facility where it could build its first mass-produced electric sedan.
During its former life, the Tesla Fremont facility churned out an average of 6,000 vehicles per week under the NUMMI partnership. Today, Tesla is producing around one third of that number, leaving it plenty of room for the Tesla Model X, which is due to enter production this fall.
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