The morning after Elon made his debut on Stephen Colbert’s Late Show, one Tesla enthusiast got his wish by taking a Tesla factory tour which included a big bonus in the form of a Model X.
Michael Brown accounts what he saw during the Tesla factory tour on his YouTube channel.
According to Michael:
The tour started with a walk through of the enormous administrative and engineering departments just outside the production area. Program Manager of the Tesla Factory Tour, Adam Slusser, introduced the tour group to the rolled sheet aluminum and ingots from which the body of the car and its components are made. He learned that the total weight of the aluminum Model S chassis is only 410 lbs.
What amazed Michael is the bounty of production equipment left behind by Toyota after the Fremont factory was closed. Tesla bid on the empty factory building itself, but was surprised to learn that millions of dollars of equipment was being left behind and could be purchased for pennies on the dollar, including the largest stamping machine in North America valued at $72,000,000. It is driven by an 8,000 hp hydraulic pump and is 7 stories high — 3 underground and 4 above. The first time Tesla started it up, it triggered seismic warnings in Berkeley, 30 miles away.
The stamping line begins with 6 foot wide rolls of aluminum weighing 20,000 pounds each. Each piece takes 3-5 stamps to get it into the proper shape. A run of 600 pieces (enough for 600 cars) takes 2 days to complete. The factory floor utilizes more than 1,000 6 axis robots that are accurate to within 0.25 mm. The flexibility of these robots means Tesla can build left and right hand drive versions, as well as the Model X, from the same production line, greatly increasing production efficiency. Cars are built simultaneously for delivery to the same parts of the world, further promoting delivery efficiency.
Michael caught sight of three Model X cars during his tour — one just the bare chassis, one a well used testing mule and one a recently completed production car. His tour guide told him only about 20 people within the factory have ever seen a completed Model X in final form and ready for delivery to a customer.
For more of Michael’s insights from his factory tour, check out the full 20 minute video. You are bound to find out something about the company and its cars you didn’t know before.