Global Equities Research analyst, Trip Chowdhry, takes a look behind the doors of the Tesla Motors Factory
In a rare opportunity, Global Equities Research analyst Trip Chowdry dives into the heart of the Tesla Motors Factory in Feemont, CA and accounts seeing an expansive two story production facility – enough to power the upcoming Model X and Model 3 – staffed with a deeply motivated and passionate workforce that’s thriving within a silicon valley-like culture.
Turn of the Tide
Chowdhry first took note of the high activity volume within the lobby floor, much different than just one year ago when activity was virtually non-existent. He compares the hustle to that of Silicon Valley’s Google and Facebook – known for its fast-paced and highly driven culture.
Much of the activity is from European and Asian suppliers looking to court Tesla in hopes to become a manufacturer for parts and modules for Tesla’s fleet of vehicles. Chowdry accounts there being a complete reversal in supplier equation than just one year ago.
- Before: Tesla was searching for Suppliers and had zero leverage with them
- Today: Suppliers are eager to work with Tesla and willing to agree to Tesla’s stringent quality and customization requirements
Having this upper hand not only creates more favorable Supplier economics, but also ensures top-notch engineering quality. The tides have definitely turned in all areas of Tesla Motors including its state selection of the Gigafactory.
Factory Expansion for Model X, Model 3 and Batteries
The Tesla Motors factory recently expanded to support the increase in production volume from the Model X, arriving later this year, and Musk's affordable mass market electric vehicle, the Model 3, to hit markets in 2017. The new second floor space is used for manufacturing of the drivetrain, electric motor, gearbox and inverter for the Model S. The 60kWh and 85kWh batteries are also assembled on the same floor.
However, the biggest revelation was that assembly of 400 kWh residential and commercial grade batteries were spotted on the very same floor - likely to support Musk's long time vision of living off the grid through renewable solar energy.
Chowdry also noted that the new production line will soon be ramping up to produce 1,000 cars per week, although it has a capacity of 3,000 vehicles per week.
Other Factory Highlights
- None of the cafeterias have cash registers presumably because lunch is catered on a daily basis, much like that of Silicon Valley startups.
- An area on the factory floor was labeled "Driver Assist" which makes us believe that Tesla is in active R&D for their rumored self-driving car.
- Ample factory floor space - enough to support the production of the Tesla Model 3