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Tesla Seeks an Expansion as Musk Cranks Up the Speculation Machine

Elon Musk + Tesla Model S Circa 2011

To help make its promise of producing 500,000 vehicles per year a reality, Tesla Motors wants the city of Fremont’s approval to nearly double the size of its assembly plant.

The expansion plan comes as the electric automaker’s CEO promises something unexpected next week.

Tesla hopes to add 11 new buildings totaling 4.5 million square feet to its already existing 5.3 million square foot Fremont facility, CBS reports. Expanding the plant’s footprint would create 3,100 new jobs, the automaker claims, earning it the enthusiastic support of mayor Bill Harris (who has already mapped out where to spend the new tax revenue).

The plant currently employs about 6,200 people.

There’s no timeline attached to the project, but the growth is needed to increase production. Tesla starts production of the lower-priced Model 3 late next year and aims to reach a 500,000 vehicle-per-year target in 2018. Annual production could eventually hit one million vehicles, or so the automaker hopes.

Are those figures feasible with just the Fremont plant? According to the Los Angeles Times, CEO Elon Musk thinks it could be, telling analysts earlier this year, “I think it is actually feasible, maybe not advisable, but feasible to do it with just Fremont and the Gigafactory.�

A plant expansion of that size would carry a steep price tag. Meanwhile, Musk is pouring money into the Gigafactory and existing Freemont plant to get the Model 3 out on time. Until this week, it was assumed Musk would launch another round of fundraising before the end of the year, but the CEO has now kiboshed those plans.

“Would also like to correct expectations that Tesla/SolarCity will need to raise equity or corp (sic) debt in Q4,â€� Musk tweeted on Sunday. “Won’t be necessary for either.â€�

How solid is Tesla’s financial ground? We’ll wait until the company releases Q3 figures later this month.

Cash isn’t the only thing Musk is tweeting about. As he’s known to do, Musk took to Twitter to tease an October 17 product unveiling, leaving his fans overjoyed and tingling with feverish anticipation. Meanwhile, his detractors roll their eyes at the hype-generating tactic.

Musk claims the product to be unveiled is “unexpected by most,” but we’ll leave the speculation up to you.

 

 

 

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