Tesla shed some light on its Model Y production plans during the recently-held first-quarter earnings call, with the company stating that it will likely establish the upcoming all-electric SUV’s production lines either in California or Nevada.
The update on the company’s plans for Model Y production was related by Elon Musk, who noted that a final decision on the vehicle’s production site will be decided within the next few weeks. Musk notes that so far, the Model Y site is a close call between Fremont and Reno. The CEO also noted that Model Y tooling and equipment are already being ordered.
Considering that Tesla’s Fremont factory is already quite full with the Model S, 3, and X lines, adding the Model Y to the facility will require the company to adopt some unorthodox strategies. Musk teased an option for the Model Y line in the call, hinting that Tesla might use sprung structures for the vehicle’s production. “I’m a fan of tents, like real, hardcore tents,” Musk said during the Q1 2019 earnings call.
Elon Musk did not necessarily confirm that the Model Y will be built in a sprung structure in Fremont, though he did note that he is confident Tesla will find a space for the vehicle’s production lines in the site. Sprung structures are pretty much a tried-and-tested solution for Tesla, considering the success of its tent-based GA4 line for the Model 3, which played a key role in the company’s ramp for the electric sedan in 2018.
While a sprung structure-based line for the Model Y at Fremont will enable the company to start the production of the all-electric SUV quickly, there are notable advantages if the company opts to manufacture the vehicle in a Reno-based site. Having the vehicle’s production in Gigafactory 1 will definitely be a key advantage for Tesla, since the company could essentially produce both vehicle and its batteries in the same areas. Such a system will help foster a streamlined, efficient manufacturing ramp.
The Model Y is expected to be Tesla’s highest-volume vehicle, exceeding even the Model 3. Elon Musk has noted that the vehicle could see a demand of up to 1 million per year considering the popularity of the SUV segment. Fortunately for the vehicle, the lessons that Tesla learned in the Model 3 ramp will be applied to the Model Y. With this in mind, Tesla’s Model Y ramp could very well be the company’s least painful production ramp yet.
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Author: Simon Alvarez