Tesla hasn’t yet decided on a production location for its Model Y crossover that it plans to deliver in fall 2020.
In Wednesday’s quarterly financial call, CEO Elon Musk revealed that it was considering building the Model Y at the one place that he’d previously ruled out: the company’s Fremont, California plant that already assembles all of its other vehicles, including the Model 3, which shares many components with the Model Y.
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“We are right now trying to decide whether Model Y vehicle production should be in California or Nevada, and we expect to make a final decision on that very soon,” Musk said. “But in the meantime we’ve ordered all the tooling and equipment required for Model Y, so we don’t expect this to in any way delay production of Model Y.”
Tesla had previously reported in its Q4 2018 financial letter Model Y "volume production by the end of 2020, most likely at Gigafactory 1.” And Musk had said that Fremont was packed to the gills and not viable for another vehicle.
Tesla Model Y
Tesla has now found the space, however. After some playful talk about production tents—”real hardcore tents, not like, you know, Cub Scout tents”—Musk talked through a plan that involves using some of the space that’s currently used for warehousing.
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“And so we believe it actually can be done with minimal disruption, to add Model Y to Fremont,” he said, in a somewhat resolute tone.
Tesla’s president of automotive (and project lead for the Semi), Jerome Guillen, provided a further hint and said that Tesla Semi production will start next year. “The location is not yet set, but it’s pretty clear that we make all the batteries and drive units in Reno,” Guillen said—referring to the Gigafactory in Sparks, Nevada.
2017 Tesla Model 3 and Model S in Tesla assembly plant parking lot, Fremont, CA, November 2017
With that line ramping up, there may actually be fewer logistical challenges with Model Y at Fremont. It may also prove easier to ramp up a skilled labor force as needed in the San Francisco Bay Area.
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Musk said it’s currently a close call between the two places, however, and that the company would be making a decision in the next few weeks.
Meanwhile, at the Shanghai Gigafactory (Giga 3) that will also produce the Model Y, construction is “going incredibly well,” Musk reported, and that the company expects volume production of Model 3 there by the end of this year, with 1,000 to 2,000 cars per week at that time.