Tesla is using an aging factory and second-hand equipment. With the going price to build a North American auto plant averaging $1 billion, Tesla may have spent less than a third that much to buy, renovate and equip its factory. It paid $42 million for the plant in 2010, spent $17 million for some of its presses and machinery, and got other used equipment at a “fraction” of the original cost from parts suppliers including Tower Automotive Inc., said Passin, 51.
Tesla is on schedule to build about 5,000 cars this year in Fremont and 20,000 in 2013, Passin said. Output may grow to about 40,000 vehicles annually after that with the addition of the Model X electric sport-utility vehicle and other projects.
Tesla said it still had $189 million remaining on the federal loan in February. That same month, Fisker said access to its $529 million loan was suspended last year after it failed to meet the timetable for bringing its Karma sedan to market. The Anaheim, California-based company has said it’s in talks with the Energy Department to regain access to the funds and restart work on its plant.
Tesla’s timing was fortunate, said Michael Robinet , managing director for industry consultant IHS Automotive, in Northville, Michigan.
“Nummi had a relatively new paint shop, and that alone is a huge amount of cost for any factory,” Robinet said.
Tesla’s decision to design an assembly floor that can be quickly reconfigured as production patterns change is smart for the company’s relatively low production volume, Robinet said.
Porsche was worth about $10 to 14 billion as a stand alone company and had about $2 billion in profit while selling 80000 to 120000 cars each year.
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
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