Check Out Tesla's Hot New European Factory
Tesla has a shiny new work space. This 11-acre facility is where cars will be assembled and tested before delivery across Europe. The new plant, in Tilburg, Netherlands, is a major expansion of an assembly space Tesla opened just two years ago. Tesla needs the extra room as it launches the new Model X SUV and tries to expand from about 50,000 deliveries worldwide this year to 500,000 by 2020. When the new digs are fully up and running, about 450 cars will roll off the line each week.
While Tesla is famous for its factory robots, humans are still responsible for many finishing touches. The factory even has a 750-meter (half-mile) indoor driving track at which former race-car drivers put new cars to the test.
This light tunnel isn't just a work of art. It's one of the quality-control stations each car must pass through before being released into the wild.
Employees fit a drive unit above the rear axle of a Tesla Model S. These all-electric cars have no engine, transmission, or other junk in the front. This is it.
Assembly is finished, and another European is about to become a Tesla owner. Tesla now has 69 stores and service centers in 12 European countries.
Teslas ride on hydraulic platforms during wheel fittings. The white factory walls and radiant epoxy floors are an Elon Musk signature.
It's not a car wash. This is rain testing. The water used in this all-glass testing booth is cleaned and reused. The new factory received the highest sustainability rank by rating agency BREEAM: "Outstanding."
A Model S is cradled aloft during final assembly. The Tilburg, Netherlands, factory assembles the shell, battery pack, power train, and rear axle. Cars also get a European firmware upload.
Time to charge. Each new Model S powers up before it is shipped.
This particular vehicle has been green-lighted.
Super-villain headlights illuminate before shipping. Tesla's Supercharger network now has more than 1,000 high-speed chargers installed in Europe.
The Next Phase
A corner of Tesla's new factory in Tilburg. The Dutch have the second-highest rate of electric-vehicle adoption in the world (after Norway). Even most airport taxis in Amsterdam are Teslas.
Source: Bloomberg Business