You may have read reports a little while ago that electric future-car company, Tesla, was scaling down production operations at its Freemont factory to focus on gearing up for future models. It doesn't mean that Tesla is halting production for good, it just meant it had to build some different stuff for a while. Today the company has shown off what the renovated, expanded and shiny spanking new factory looks like on the inside, and it's impressive.
The Tesla Freemont factory is already pretty impressive. We've take a look at it in brief before.
The factory went into pause mode a few months ago so expansion could take place.
As part of the work, Tesla upgraded its assembly line, added "capacity to the body shop", expanded its powertrain facilities and given staff a few more amenities.
Tesla says that the changes now allows it to produce cars more quickly and efficiently, and given the fact that the waiting list for a Model S is about as long as your arm, that's only going to be a good thing.
Previously, the auto maker used to use overhead steel contraptions to move cars about. No more in the revamped factory: it's now using robots that can lift, move and adjust cars all over the shop to save the precious backs of fleshy humans. Because they now have superpowers, the robots are being given X-Men names:
Rather than refer to these robots by technical descriptions, we named them after X-Men characters. Xavier stands at the entrance to the trim line, lifting cars down to the floor from an electrified rail, while Iceman, Wolverine, and Beast do more heavy lifting nearby. Storm and Colossus can be found at the end of the chassis line, and Vulcan and Havok work as a team to lift cars back onto the rail. To us, these robots are like superheroes, so we figured they deserved superhero names.
The whole place now has better support for automation activities, with expanded sections for new models now completed. For example, the station for building the Model S P85D's dual motor is now in place.
The upgrade took two weeks, and in that period they used 342 people to install 10 of the world's largest auto-making robots, used over 100km of ethernet cable to connect them all together; went through 45,000 litres of paint and laid down 200,000 square feet of epoxy flooring.
Take a look at the full Tesla blog post on the expansion for more amazing photos.