Tesla Motors to Revive a California Auto Plant for its Model S EV

May 26, 2010

Photo of a buoy-like device floating in the ocean, with a shoreline in the distance and mountains rising behind the shoreline.

The all-electric Tesla Model S, with a range of options that allow it to travel 160 to 300 miles on a single battery charge, will be built at the NUMMI plant,
Credit:Tesla Motors

Tesla Motors, Inc. announced on May 20 that it has acquired the recently-shuttered New United Motor Manufacturing, Inc. (NUMMI) vehicle manufacturing plant in Fremont, California, and will begin production of its Model S electric vehicle (EV) there in 2012. NUMMI had been operated by Toyota Motor Corporation in partnership with General Motors Corporation, and it ceased production of the Toyota Corolla sedan and the Toyota Tacoma truck in early April. The facility is capable of producing half a million vehicles per year, or about 1% of worldwide car production. Tesla, which currently makes the all-electric, two-seat Tesla Roadster, will use the new facility to produce the Model S, a premium electric sedan, as well as other future Tesla vehicles. Tesla will partly finance the new facility with a $465 million loan from DOE, which will also support the construction of a manufacturing facility for electric powertrains in Palo Alto, California. See the Tesla press release and an article on the DOE loan from the January 27 edition of the EERE Network News.

The four-door Tesla Model S is designed to carry five adults and two children, and will be available at a base price of $57,400. A federal tax credit of $7,500 will effectively reduce that price to $49,900, and state incentives may also be available. The vehicle will have a range of up to 300 miles with the largest available lithium-ion battery pack (versus 160 or 230 miles with the two smaller packs) and will accelerate from zero to 60 miles per hour (mph) in 5.6 seconds, with a top speed of 120 mph. The vehicle can be recharged from a 120-volt or 240-volt circuit. See Tesla's Model S Web page.

As Tesla takes over the former Toyota plant, Toyota announced that it will invest $50 million in Tesla and will partner with Tesla to develop EVs. The two companies intend to cooperate on the development of vehicles, parts, production systems, and engineering support, and they intend to form a team of specialists to further those efforts. Toyota has agreed to purchase $50 million of Tesla's common stock, which will be issued in a private placement right after Tesla closes on its initial public offering (IPO). Tesla filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission in January for its proposed IPO. See the press releases from Toyota and Tesla.