Tesla Gets Back $157K From Electric Utility For Energy-Efficient Tooling

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You only need to listen to Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk chat for a while to understand that there's more to Tesla than just electric cars--efficiency permeates through the company.

That extends to the manufacturing process, and as production of the 2012 Tesla Model S continues, Telsa has just received a $156,900 check as part of an energy efficiency incentive.

Handed over by Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E), the money is an incentive for the purchase of three plastic injection-molding machines, which will be used to create more than 80 different parts in the Model S.

Naturally, Tesla has already been producing these parts for the S, but the new machines are replacing less efficient hydraulic units that currently churn out the components. PG&E says the machines will account for a 1.1 million kWh saving over the course of a year, and peak electric demand will be more than 550 kW lower than with the current machines.

While Tesla's main focus is on ramping up production to meet strong demand for the Model S, the company still intends to make the factory as efficient as possible.

That doesn't just mean improving the machines, but reducing energy in other areas too--Tesla's vice president of manufacturing, Gilbert Passin, says Tesla has even installed more windows and skylights to reduce the need for artificial lighting in the factory.

That also meant buying an old factory, refurbishing old machinery and buying inexpensive IKEA furniture, allowing Tesla to save money for other aspects of production.

Last week, Tesla released details of its production so far, with 50 cars built and 29 deliveries. Production is being stepped up at the Fremont plant, and the company wants to expand from ten cars per week, through 20, and eventually to 100--reaching its target of 20,000 units in 2013.


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