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Automotive News

Tesla preps to build a string of EVs at NUMMI

Automotive News reports on how Tesla is ramping up to production of its Model S at the NUMMI plant.

Automotive News
Tesla Model S
Tesla plans to begin building prototypes of the Model S in the third quarter at the NUMMI plant. Automotive News

SAN JOSE, Calif.--Tesla Motors will begin building prototypes of its Model S electric sedan in the third quarter at the NUMMI plant in Fremont, Calif., that it acquired from Toyota.

The Model S, which is expected to achieve a 0-to-60 time of 6 seconds and a range of up to 300 miles, is on target for a mid-2012 launch, the company said.

The project involves a $500 million investment, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said at the first annual shareholders meeting since Tesla went public last July. He said the Model X crossover, scheduled to go on sale in late 2013, will require only $150 million because of substantial parts sharing with the Model S.

Tesla said it already has 4,600 reservations for the Model S, which Musk said should take care of the first year of production. Both the Model S and Model X eventually are expected to generate about 20,000 sales a year. Each will be priced at around $50,000.

For the longer term, Tesla is planning its so-called Gen III vehicle that will sell for about $30,000. Musk expects the car to debut in four to five years. A second edition of the current Roadster may come before that.

Tesla buys a chassis for the current Roadster from British sports car maker Lotus. Production of the Roadster will end at the end of this year because Lotus' assembly line will be overhauled. Musk said a new version, which will be produced by Tesla at NUMMI, could arrive three years from now.

At the hour-long meeting last week, Musk detailed the progress of transforming the giant NUMMI facility into a Tesla plant. He said installation of a $50 million SMG Shuler hydraulic stamping press has been completed.

Tesla acquired the press from "a company in Detroit," which he would not identify, for $6 million, including the cost of shipping the tooling on 70 trucks.

(Source: Automotive News)