Following on SolarCity’s recent move snapping up the former headquarters of the defunct solar panel manufacturer Solyndra, Tesla Motors has followed suit and signed an agreement to lease a 500,000 square feet facility that was formerly used by Solyndra.
The new facility is — as is very much worth noting — just a couple of minutes away from Tesla’s Fremont manufacturing facility, and thus represents a means of greatly expanding the company’s production capacity if need be, while still keeping production within a concentrated area.
That may still be awhile off, though, as the manufacturing facility currently in use has a production capacity of around 500,000 vehicles a year. Things can change fairly rapidly, though, so you can’t blame Tesla for setting up the option of rapid expansion.
Of course, it should also be noted here that the plant could be used for operations relating to the company’s new battery pack (energy storage) division.
In an email reply to to the Business Journal, Tesla representatives noted: “901 Page, located conveniently down the road from the Tesla Factory, gives us the space to expand our manufacturing and build more engineering labs as we build up production.”
A rather generic statement, I suppose, but somewhat telling nonetheless — there’s an open-ended quality to the new facility’s future use, from the sounds of it.
Electrek provides a bit more commentary:
There’s some irony to Tesla securing a former Solyndra location. Both companies received loans from the Department of Energy under different programs, and after Solyndra went under and Tesla was in financial difficulties, the Obama administration was criticized by then presidential candidate Mitt Romney for picking “losers.” Musk took the statement personally and even tried to contact the Romney clan.
Now a few years later, Tesla Motors is arguably in the best financial shape it has ever been in and they are picking up the last vestige of the defunct Solyndra just a few months after SolarCity, a company Musk is also chairman of, bought the former headquarters of the defunct solar panel-maker. SolarCity is using the building to house Silevo, a solar-panel maker they acquired last year.
That reality certainly does say something about the media, doesn’t it — when a company goes bust and there’s a good angle to the story, it ends up all over the place, but when steady improvements and growth are occurring, there’s not much attention on the matter, is there?