Tesla Motors shut down its production line Monday as part of a long-scheduled plan to retool the factory to increase production of the Model S sedan and prepare for the introduction of the Model X crossover SUV. “We’ll be back at regular production Aug. 4,” Simon Sproule, Tesla’s vice president of communications, said in an interview. “We’ll be down for 128 hours of regularly scheduled production time.” The new production line, which will cost roughly $100 million, is on the ground floor of the factory off Interstate 880 and will be used for both the Model S and forthcoming Model X.
Tesla purchased the Fremont plant in 2010 and began Model S production in 2012. It describes the upcoming Model X as blending “the best of an SUV with the benefits of a minivan, as only an electric car can.” Tesla’s Fremont workforce, which includes more than 3,500 employees, will be largely unaffected by the stoppage and workers will still earn their paychecks. “Employees can come to work as normal and do training and maintenance, or they can take paid time off,” Sproule said. In a May earnings call, Tesla CEO Elon Musk told analysts that the factory was likely to be idled sometime this summer to enable a substantial increase in production capacity.
A lot of people have been waiting for the Model X electric crossover SUV for a long time, and we’re now one step closer to the day when deliveries can start. The company is currently taking reservations. It’s a $5,000 deposit for the regular version, and the sold out Signature model was a $40,000 deposit. The latest news are that there are at least 13,000 reservations, so if you want one, better get in line soon because the wait will only get longer.
Tesla expects to sell around 35,000 Model S in 2014, an increase of over 50% compared to 2013 numbers. Tesla says it wants to make about 1,000 EVs per week at the end of this year, which would mean that it would make at least 50,000 next year if all goes well. The Model X will be roomier than the already spacious Model S, will have two electric motors driving the front and rear wheels, and it’ll have ‘falcon’ doors that open vertically in such a way that they take little space and don’t bump into things thanks to their clever hinges and proximity sensors. Read more about the story here.