Tesla stops Model S output to prepare its factory for electric SUV production

Article by Christian A., on July 23, 2014

Tesla Motors Inc. has stopped output at its Fremont site to pave for a reconfiguration of the production floor with an aim to accelerate assembly of the Model S by 25 percent and to get it ready for building electric crossovers. Vehicle assembly at the site resumes Aug. 4, Tesla spokesman Simon Sproule told Bloomberg in an interview.

He said major upgrades include modifications to the body and general assembly lines, with an overall cost of around $100 million.

Sproule said the upgrade represents the single biggest investment in the site since Tesla commenced operations, adding that the work in progress will enable the carmaker to churn out higher volumes.

He said the upgrade will allow Tesla to build Model X on the same line as the Model S. Tesla chief executive Elon Musk has remarked that he targets deliveries of at least 35,000 Model S sedans to customers around the world this year, representing a 56-percent climb over 2013.

Tesla’s global push was jumpstarted by commencement of shipments to China and the United Kingdom in the second quarter. The carmaker is set to commence deliveries to Hong Kong, Japan and Australia in the second half.

Tesla’s weekly production was pegged at nearly 700 units at the end of the first quarter. Musk said in a May 7 letter to investors the carmaker aims to produce around 1,000 units weekly later this year.

Sproule disclosed that the site’s weekly output was nearing 800 units ahead of the current project. Musk disclosed in May that upgrades at the site would idle production for around 10 days this month.

Michael Robinet, a managing director at IHS Automotive, remarked that Tesla is bent on revamping the plant as quickly as they can as it needs to produce the heavily popular vehicle, referring to the Model S.

Seen as an evolution in automotive engineering, the new Tesla Model S is an all-electric sedan that combines high levels of performance, efficiency and safety, as proven by the fact that it has earned the highest possible safety ratings from respectable agencies. In addition to having the longest range among electric vehicles, the Model S keeps continuously ahead with its over-the-air software updates.

Tesla’s unique architecture allows the battery to be located on the floor of the Tesla Model S and its distinct electric powertrain to be placed beneath. This layout allows the new Model S to have a very low center of gravity that benefits both handling and performance. In addition, a low center of gravity means a minimal risk of rollover, which translates to higher levels of safety. This position is enhanced by the fact that the crumple zone of the Model S is larger than other performance sedans, as made possible by the absence of an engine.

The nature of the Model S as one of the safest cars on the road is proven by the highest possible ratings it earned from the NHTSA and Euro NCAP, as well as by its record of lowest likelihood of injury to occupants, as tested in the United States. This nature is supported by a number of standard active safety elements – such as collision warning, automatic emergency braking, blind spot detection and lane departure warning systems -- and optional convenience features – like traffic-aware cruise control, summon, autosteer and autopark.

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