Electric-car maker Tesla is at a pivotal time in the 13-year-old company’s history as production of its mass-market Model 3 ramps up and ambitious plans to roll out additional vehicles loom.
Coinciding with the production start of the Tesla Model 3 are plans for a major expansion the Silicon Valley automaker’s assembly plant in Fremont, California.
If all goes according to plan, the facility would double in size from its current proportions and would be a major factor in Tesla’s efforts to increase production of its lower-priced electric cars.
The Fremont City Council approved plans for Tesla’s 4.6 million-square-foot expansion last December, which includes 12 “growth zones” around the site.
Notably, another automated facility will be added at the south end of the production facility and is to measure 45,000 square feet, according to The East Bay Times.
While work is underway, Tesla did not offer specifics as to when the full expansion would actually be completed.
The company says it hopes to produce 500,000 cars in 2018, with plans to be making 5,000 Model 3s a week by the end of this year.
Before those kinds of mass-production volumes can be achieved, Tesla must first get out of the “production hell” described by CEO Elon Musk in reference to the very fast increase in production rates for the Model 3.
To support that car’s production and expansion, Tesla wrapped up its first traditional bond offering last week, raising $1.8 billion, according to CNBC.
Before the offering, it was estimated the company would only net $1.5 billion, but the offering emerged slightly larger than expected.
With additional financing in hand, Tesla investors expect the Model 3 to turn the company profitable for the first time in its history.