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Rumor: Tesla Temporarily Shutters Fremont Factory, Stops Tours to Prepare for Model X Production

When an automaker introduces a new vehicle to market or comes out with a next-generation version of a popular model, there’s a lot of behind-the-scenes preparation which goes on before the vehicle can roll off the production line.

Tesla Model X sightings have been on the rise lately, as Tesla pushes its prototypes through their final testing.

Tesla Model X sightings have been on the rise lately, as Tesla pushes its prototypes through their final testing.

Long after the final design has been agreed upon, the factory where the vehicle will be made needs to undergo a series of upgrades or tweaks to ensure it can produce the new vehicle. Usually requiring a partial or full shut-down of production, these changes can include the installation of new manufacturing equipment, reprogramming of existing machinery, or adding an entirely new auxiliary production line to handle all or part of the new vehicle’s manufacturing.

More importantly, when an automaker shutters its production facility for such upgrades, it generally means the new vehicle is a few months from hitting the road.

Given that fact, we’d guess news that Tesla’s Fremont production facility has closed to allow retooling for the Model X is very welcome news to any prospective Tesla Model X customers and Tesla shareholders.

For as long as we can remember, Tesla Motors [NASDAQ:TSLA] has offered customers and Tesla fans guided tours of the former NUMMI facility where the Tesla Model S is made. But as members of the TeslaMotorsClub forum reported last week,the Californian automaker shut its doors last week for a ‘change in machinery‘ at the facility, allegedly to ready the facility for the Model X.

The Tesla Model X has evolved since Tesla unveiled the prototype Model X several years ago. But the overall design remains fairly similar.

The Tesla Model X has evolved since Tesla unveiled the prototype Model X several years ago. But the overall design remains fairly similar.

We note however that this claim has not yet been officially substantiated by Tesla.

As those who have been following the Tesla Model X and Tesla’s Fremont production facility will note, Tesla has spent considerable money in the past six months or so installing an entirely new production line and a new paint facility at the Fremont site.

But while those improvements will help Tesla ensure it can meet the production goals for the Tesla Model X while continuing to produce an average of 2,000 Tesla Model S cars per week, the final prat of pre-production preparation does require a complete plant shutdown.

During that time, things which can’t be done to a live production line — like reprogramming the factory’s many robots to handle both the Model X and Model S — will be undertaken.

After that, the Tesla production facility will resume its Model S production as before while simultaneously producing Tesla Model X production intent vehicles.

Shutting down the Fremont facility is part of final of pre-production Model X preparation for Tesla.

Shutting down the Fremont facility is part of final of pre-production Model X preparation for Tesla.

These vehicles, essentially the last generation of Model X vehicles to be made before official Model X production starts, will be used by Tesla to ensure that the production line is operating within the correct parameters and the vehicles which are being produced meet all of Tesla’s exacting standards. They will also be used to ensure that Tesla’s staff are familiar with how the new model is produced.

If any faults are detected, Tesla’s production team will make the necessary last-minute tweaks to the production process, repeating it as many times as required to ensure Model X production processes are perfect before the start of official production this fall.

Due to launch at the end of Q3, the Tesla Model X’s final specifications and price are still a closely-guarded secret. Expected to include the same autonomous-drive ‘auto-pilot’ hardware as all Tesla Model S cars made from October 2014 onwards, the Tesla Model X will also feature seating for 7, over-the-air update functionality, all-wheel drive as standard and towing capability.

Additionally, it’s expected the high-end Tesla Model X — most likely with a 90 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack — will come with the same ‘Ludicrous’ acceleration mode as the Tesla Model S P90D. That said, acceleration is likely to be a tad slower, due to the Model X’s less aerodynamic shape and heavier curb weight.

We’ll surely find out more in the coming weeks however, so be sure to come back soon for the latest Model X news as we have it.


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  • CDspeed

    Sounds exciting, I can’t wait to see a Model X in person.

    • Mark Benjamin David

      me too, I’m not into sedans at all, I like sporty cars, hatchbacks, SUVs/CUVs, small/mid-size off road vehicles.

      • CDspeed

        If a car doesn’t have a hatch of some kind I loose interest pretty quick.

  • jeffsongster

    I am still trying to commit to buying one… It’s a boatload of money… but having gotten used to not stopping at gas stations for the last 2 years… and using quick chargers to make longer local trips… I really like the idea of a car that can take long road trips as part of our family fleet. I just love driving electrics rather than smelly, noisy, gassers. Especially when they help me pay off my home’s solar panels that much faster. Originally had a 6 year payback scenario using home energy bill… now that they additionally replaced auto fuel bill… the panels are paid back in under 3 years.

    • vdiv

      Some have made a not so wise leap over the unknown and just went for it.
      What could possibly go wrong?! 😉

      The more puzzling questions were if that is the right car regardless of the money (i.e. too big, or too delicate, or too much attention grabbing), and should you wait until there is more choice. If you are serious about EVs the answer is no to the second one. At some point you just get tired of wondering, maybe a friend or two nudge you along a bit, and you make all these doubts irrelevant. You click on a website, you get a couple of odd-ball emails, and then the phone rings telling you to go and get your shiny new Model S. The rest is history.

      Speaking of history to quote, ahem, GM:

      “How does it go without gas and air?
      How does it go without sparks and explosions?
      How does it go without gears or transmissions?
      How does it go, you will ask yourself.

      And then you will ask, how did we go so long without it?
      The electric car. It isn’t coming, it’s here.”

      • Chris O

        One has to see the creepy EV 1 commercial in which a voice from the grave pronounced these words to understand GM’s real message at the time: The EV is here: run for the hills!


        • vdiv

          I love the message of that commercial. It narrates the type of introspection that people go through to accept driving electric. Change can be scary, but it is necessary.

        • Mark Benjamin David

          I didn’t live in California, so I don’t recall ever seeing this. I only found out about the EV-1 when I came across Who Killed The Electric Car in 2009…and I was livid…electric cars were on the road and killed in california and I never even knew about it, yet, I remember in middle school in the 1970s that battery electric cars were the future, (and solar energy).

        • D. Harrower

          That’s actually pretty good.

          Of course, it doesn’t actually talk about the car itself at all, only the new drive type.

          • Chris O

            The car is in there, featured from it’s least attractive angle. Clever stuff….

            No doubt what the real message is here.

      • jeffsongster

        Yeah… then they crushed them all away. I already have 2 LEAFs which my family and I really like. So essentially almost 200 miles ( 90+ each) of range in 2 different directions. Now I wanna finish out our family fleet with an EV that can replace our big cruiser Ford Flex. 5 big comfy seats w/2 mid size seats in cargo area. skylights everywhere… looks like Model X is really close. But I have never even seriously entertained spending that kind of money on a car. Any car. To me they mostly have never been worth that kind of cash. So… I’ve waited for them to get through the 1.0 phase… and with the 70/90 plus auto features they seem to be in a much better place than where they started out…
        Then there is the waiting for them to iron out the kinks in a new model… If I order one soon… I still won’t be on the bleeding edge… It will take them 3 to 6 months to deliver it… and that time will be spent watching for potential gotchas with the newer features. I can always give up on the extra 2 seats and go for a Model S. Waiting and seeing. Watching the jump rope… pacing it… gonna jump soon.

  • vdiv

    Didn’t Tesla build a second assembly line that was supposed to be able to produce both the Model S and the Model X? If that is the case then why shut down the first one for retrofitting before the second one is online?

    • Joe Viocoe

      No, sharing the same platform means Tesla will be using the same assembly line. In the future, as they ramp up production, more lines in parallel will be needed. But at such low volumes currently, it would be too costly to duplicate the whole line… much more cost effective to shutdown for a few weeks.

  • Many people expect that the production cars will be even better than the one presented a few years before.

  • Mark Benjamin David

    I’m sure they shut down the entire facility also to make changes to the Model S for 2016 model year, which they will begin producing after they start it up. Most carmakers do this, and typically this time of year, next year’s models begin to show up in showrooms in September.

    So, back when I first heard about the Model X, I thought they might switch from making the S to the X, like they did the Roadster, but, the Roadster was not ever meant for mass production. And, I’ve seen a video from 2012 or 2013 on the plant where they make the Model S, and they were using only a small part of the plant, so, there is plenty of room to make the S, the X and, probably the 3 all at the same time. (The plant produced several cars for GM & Toyota, so, BEVs having far fewer parts, they could produce more vehicles in the same plant.)

    The Model S and X will likely have the same battery pack design and similarities in drivetrain, so, some of the production lines will be shared.

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