Last night, the city of Fremont approved important expansion plans submitted by Tesla, which the automaker refers to as ‘Tesla Master Plan’, back in October. The plan includes the addition of several new buildings that will almost double the size of the already giant electric vehicle factory – 5.3 million square feet to 9.9 million square feet.
The expansion is, of course, to support the planned production increase at the factory due to the upcoming Tesla Model 3. After receiving around 400,000 reservations for the Model 3 earlier this year, Tesla announced its plans to achieve a production rate of 500,000 cars per year at the factory by 2018 and that a path to 1 million cars per year could be possible by 2020.
After an environmental review, the city approved the plans Monday, and yesterday Mayor Harrison signed the resolution so that Tesla could move forward with the expansion.
The city was encouraged by the fact that the plan includes an expansion of Tesla’s workforce in Fremont. As of this summer, there were 6,210 Tesla employees working in Fremont on two shifts, that number is expected to increase to 9,315 after the expansion.
The expansion also accounts for better management of traffic and parking solutions around the plant. Tesla already has parking problems, as extensively covered by a funny Instagram account managed by an employee, and the 11 new buildings planned in the expansion will remove some of the existing parking spaces.
Tesla plans to compensate with better access to public transport with the new BART station near the factory and bike/pedestrian paths linking the two.
It’s not clear when construction will start now that Tesla has the green light, but we anticipate it will be soon considering the pace at which Tesla has been moving ahead of the Model 3 introduction next year. You should take a good look at these high-resolution shots of the plant recently taken by Lance Neveu. It’s probably the last time you will see the factory look like this :