When Tesla first started, it used just 10% of the 5.4 million square-feet of factory space it purchased. Today, Tesla occupies at least half that space. With production of the Tesla Model X gearing up to begin next year. and the entry-level Model E in the pipeline for 2016, it won’t be long before Tesla needs to find even more factory space.
When it announced its lease partnership at the NUMMI factory in Fremont, California, some questioned why such a boutique automaker would need so much space. Indeed, Tesla used only about 500,000 square feet when it first moved in, though expansion has been rapid in the past year.
First, there was the purchase of adjacent land to serve as a test track. Tesla also signed a lease on another California facility that could serve as a secret skunkworks facility for new projects or concepts, prompting speculation that California could still be in the running for the vaunted Gigafactory. With Tesla already looking like it will outgrow its first factory before the end of the decade, the only real question is where the next Tesla factory will be.
My guess? China. Heck, Elon even said as much, and if demand for the Model S is really as high as Musk has hinted, then Tesla will need a Chinese factory just to keep up with all the orders. Fremont might run out of room even sooner than we thought.