In addition to visiting the Gigafactory site in Reno, we went on a tour of Tesla’s car factory in Fremont, Calif. this week. While there, we were told we weren’t allowed to take photos of certain things. Some of that was related to customer privacy rules, but some of it wasn’t. And one area we weren’t allowed to photograph contained a sign that said “Top Secret: Project Goldfinger.”
It’s a bit of a mystery as to what it is. The paper sign was attached to a temporary wall sealing off an area from prying eyes near a stamping section of the factory, and everyone I asked didn’t know what I was talking about.
Tesla spokespeople had no idea, Tesla employees had no idea, even Elon Musk himself claimed to have no clue as to what I was talking about when I asked him at a press conference. He laughed, dismissed it as “probably a joke,” and moved on.
But here’s what little we do know. A source told us that in the past, project names inspired by Bond movies were used for major product updates. The front fascia update of the Model S, for instance, was internally known as “Project Spectre.” Musk himself is also known for his affinity for the Bond films, with an easter egg in the Model S turning the car’s internal image into the Lotus submarine from The Spy Who Loved Me—a car Elon purchased for $866,000.
Musk has also never personally confirmed nor denied to me whether or not he maintains any form of secret volcano lair.
So Project Goldfinger could be something, or it could be nothing. Do you know what it might be?
If so, shoot me an email at ballaban [at] jalopnik [dot] com.