In order to achieve production goals, Tesla started up a third production line this weekend. The two existing lines must take up quite a lot of space inside the former GM/Toyota facility, as the third line was built not in the factory, but in a temporary tent structure outside. The tent and the assembly line it houses were allegedly built in the span of three weeks.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted out on Saturday afternoon that the makeshift assembly line had just produced the first Model 3 Dual Motor Performance.
Tesla’s Fremont, California facility was once the home of the NUMMI joint-venture between GM and Toyota. From 1984 until the plant was shuttered in 2010, an average of 6,000 vehicles rolled off of the assembly line every week. At its peak, in 2006, more than 8,200 cars were assembled per week. Tesla, owner of the factory since Toyota left in 2010, has thus far struggled to reach production targets of 5,000 units per week.
Tesla itself proudly touts the plant’s combined 5.3 million square feet of manufacturing and office space, with plans to expand that to nearly 10 million square feet. When you add in the 4.9 million square feet of operational space that Tesla claims for the Sparks, Nevada Gigafactory, they already have nearly as much factory space as Ford’s famously large River Rouge plant.
Tesla is no fan of lean production, using a huge team of assembly workers, and warehousing many of their own production components on site. Allegedly, the factory also houses an indoor test track. With these considerations in mind, it’s possible the company wasn’t able to fit another assembly line inside the 5 million square foot facility, but if that is true, it seems absurd.
To everyone who ordered a new Tesla Model 3, there’s every chance it will be built in this temporary structure that was probably designed to house an Oktoberfest beer hall.