Since the very first Tesla factory, Tesla has completely dominated the electric car market in the U.S. It is an incredible feat for a company that is just over 15 years old.
Tesla began as an electric car company in 2007. From 2007 to 2011 Tesla only managed to make 2,450 vehicles. That figure is a mere rounding error to car manufacturing giants like Ford or Volkswagen.
Nevertheless, Tesla persevered and continued to increase and improve their electric car offerings. From 2012 to 2020, Tesla managed to launch four electric vehicles (EVs). Two of these, the Model 3 and Model Y, began instant hits with demand higher than ever before.
Shortly before the end of the decade, Tesla realized that if it was going to meet the demand of its customers as well as provide for future ones, it would need to greatly expand its manufacturing footprint.
As such, Tesla decided to expand further into foreign markets by building factories around the world. As of 2021, Tesla has six factories, five of which produce electric cars.
Tesla Factory Review
The very first Tesla, the Roadster, was produced in a final assembly plant in Menlo Park. This vehicle shared many parts with a Lotus. While only 2,450 Roadsters sold between 2008 and 2012, it proved electric cars were ready to take on the vehicle market at a larger scale.
Tesla purchased an old factory in Fremont, California from a Toyota-GM joint venture in 2010. Now known as the Fremont Factory, this became the first official Tesla factory. Fremont Factory first produced the first high volume electric car, the Model S, in 2012.
With instant success, the Model S was followed up by an SUV variant, the Model X, in 2015. Sharing the same platform, the Model S and Model X quickly placed Tesla on the spotlight for innovative design and technology.
Riding on the heels of the luxury sedan and SUV, Tesla aimed its attention to a more affordable market. In 2017, Tesla released the Model 3 with an eventual starting price of $35,000.
Room at the Fremont Factory became sparse with the Model S, X, and 3 in full production. Tesla erected an assembly line tent structure in the parking to cope with the crowded factory floor.
However, Tesla still had plans for one more model at the factory in California. In 2020, Tesla launched the Model Y, a near-luxury crossover.
Fremont Factory Stats
|Construction Completion:||1962 (original)|
|Factory Footprint:||5.4 Million SF.|
|Models Produced:||Model S, Model X, Model 3, Model Y|
|Annual Vehicle Production:||590,000|
With the lofty goals of the Model 3 and Model Y program, Tesla desperately needed more batteries. Per Tesla:
Tesla’s mission is to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy through increasingly affordable electric vehicles and energy products. To ramp production to 500,000 cars per year, Tesla alone will require today’s entire worldwide supply of lithium-ion batteries. The Tesla Gigafactory was born out of necessity and will supply enough batteries to support Tesla’s projected vehicle demand.
As a result, Tesla began construction in Sparks, Nevada for the world’s largest battery factory. Known as Gigafactory Nevada (or Giga Nevada for short), the battery manufacturing plant supplies batteries to all of Tesla’s vehicle programs (except China) with a partnership with Panasonic.
Giga Nevada, the first Tesla factory built from the ground up, began construction in early 2014. Construction activities continue through 2021 as the building is constantly expanding per plan. When finally completed, Tesla aims the building will have the largest footprint in the world.
In addition to batteries for vehicles, Giga Nevada supplies batteries for stationary storage applications such as the Tesla Powerpack and Powerwall.
Gigafactory Nevada Stats
|Factory Footprint:||15 Million SF.|
|Products Produced:||Batteries for vehicles and stationary storage|
|Annual Battery Production:||35+ GWh|
Gigafactory New York
Originally operated by SolarCity, Gigafactory New York (Giga New York), is the second gigafactory, and third Tesla factory, in the arsenal. The factory is called a Gigafactory since it produces over 1 Gigawatt-hour of energy per year.
The building is owned by the State of New York and leased to Tesla. Tesla acquired SolarCity in 2016 as part of their energy product proliferation.
Giga New York initially produced solar photovoltaic (PV) panels through a partnership with Panasonic and SolarCity/Tesla. Later on, Tesla turned its attention to manufacturing its own solar panels and solar roof tiles.
Additionally, Giga New York produces Tesla’s EV charging equipment such as the Supercharger.
Gigafactory New York Stats
|Factory Footprint:||1.2 Million SF.|
|Products Produced:||Solar PV panels, Solar roof tiles, EV charging equipment|
|Annual Battery Production:||1 GWh|
In 2018, Tesla negotiated a deal with the Chinese government to build a factory near Shanghai. At that moment, Tesla was exporting EVs to the European and Chinese markets as well as supplying domestic U.S. demand all from their Fremont Factory.
Eventually, Tesla realized that it needed to expand its manufacturing efforts internationally if it wanted to achieve its goals. As such, Gigafactory Shanghai (Giga Shanghai) was announced for construction.
Construction quickly began in 2018 and, surprisingly, Tesla managed to start producing Model 3s just a year later.
Model 3s for the Chinese market quickly ramped up in 2019 and in late 2020 Model Y production began.
Tesla CEO, Elon Musk, announced in 2020 that Giga Shanghai would later include a design center for China-only models.
Gigafactory Shanghai Stats
|Construction Completion:||Estimated 2021|
|Factory Footprint:||9.3 Million SF.|
|Models Produced:||Model Y, Model S|
|Annual Vehicle Production:||500,000|
|Employees:||10,000+ (when completed)|
In late 2019, Elon Musk announced in Germany that Tesla would build a factory for the European market. This concluded Tesla plans to supply the Chinese and European markets with factories of their own.
Shortly later, it was announced that Berlin would be the destination of the fourth gigafactory.
Known as Gigafactory Berlin (Giga Berlin), Tesla quickly broke ground in early 2020.
In addition to the Model 3 and Model Y, Tesla plans to produce battery packs at the new European factory.
Lastly, like Giga Shanghai, Giga Berlin will include a design center for future European-focused models.
Gigafactory Berlin Stats
|Construction Completion:||Estimated 2022|
|Models Produced:||Model Y, Model 3|
|Annual Vehicle Production:||500,000|
|Employees:||10,000+ (when completed)|
With four vehicles in full production at the Fremont Factory, Tesla needed to look for a new factory if it wanted to produce and sell additional EVs in the United States. With plans for an all-electric truck, semi-truck, and revamped Roadster, the search began for a new U.S. factory.
After a finale between Oklahoma and Texas, Tesla eventually decided to build their third U.S. factory near Austin, Texas. Systematically named Gigafactory Texas (Giga Texas), the sixth Tesla factory began construction in the middle of 2020.
When the factory is complete, it will quickly focus on building the highly anticipated Cybertruck. Later on, Giga Texas will also build the semi-truck, among a few other models to support Central and Eastern U.S. areas.
Gigafactory Texas Stats
|Construction Completion:||Estimated 2023|
|Models Produced:||Cybertruck, Semi-Truck, Model Y, Model 3, Roadster|
|Annual Vehicle Production:||840,000|
Potential Future Locations
Looking forward, it is clear Tesla will continue to build additional factories to support new markets and new models. Specifically, Tesla recently announced it will begin sales in India. It is yet to be seen how and where Tesla will produce EVs for India. In particular, India’s car market is around 3.5 million sales per year.
There has also been rumor of a second European Tesla factory to amplify the capacity on the Eastern front. Combined with Giga Berlin, a second factory in Europe will allow Tesla to claim a bigger stake in the automotive industry. Possible locations could include England, France, or Belgium.
It is also reasonable to suspect a Tesla factory in Central or South America to support those respective markets. At the moment, Tesla has very limited deliveries in Central and South America. A factory in that region will enable Tesla to further expand its reach.
How Many Vehicles Does Tesla Produce Every Year?
As of 2020, Tesla produced a record 500,000 vehicles. Mostly made up of Model 3s and Model Ys, Tesla made more electrical cars than all other manufacturers combined in the U.S.
By the time all of the aforementioned factories are completed, Tesla will have the capacity to produce around 2.5 million vehicles.
And if any future factories open in Europe, India, Central America, or South America the annual production will, of course, be even higher.
By 2020, Tesla has managed to produce and sell cars around the world. From a total of six factories in three continents, Tesla has managed to significantly increase the number of electric cars it sells every year. In the first four years, Tesla only managed to produce 2,400 vehicles. In just 2020 alone, Tesla produced 500,000.
In just under 15 years, Tesla has scaled their business to selling over half a million cars from seven different models. It is an impressive feat not many other car makers can say they have achieved so quickly.
Though with challenges, the future certaintly looks bright for Tesla as the world begins the transition to electric transportation. And it all started with the first Tesla factory in Fremont.
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