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Tesla is working on 5th assembly line at Fremont factory ahead of Model Y production

Tesla is preparing a fifth assembly line at its Fremont, California, factory as it prepares to add Model Y production to the already very busy plant.

There have been a lot of talks about how many cars Tesla could produce at the Fremont factory.

When it was operated by Toyota and GM, the plant had a capacity of about 500,000 vehicles per year.

Tesla has achieved an annualized production rate of about 300,000 cars at the factory, and it has talked about raising the capacity to 500,000 units per year.

But CEO Elon Musk previously mentioned that he sees potential for Tesla making up to 1 million cars per year at the Fremont factory.

With this potential for higher output, Tesla considered the Fremont factory as a location to produce the new Model Y.

After about a year of debating it, the automaker confirmed in July that it will build Model Y in Fremont.

Tesla commented on the Model Y production program:

Preparations for Model Y production in Fremont began in Q2. Due to a significant overlap of components between Model 3 and Model Y, we are able to leverage existing manufacturing designs in the development of the Model Y production facilities. Additionally, we are making progress managing Model Y cost with only a minimal cost premium expected over Model 3. Due to the large market size for SUVs, as well as higher ASPs, we believe Model Y will be a more profitable product than the Model 3.

Now we learn that these preparations are involving the installation of a new general assembly line at the factory.

Tesla filed a new building permit application with the city of Fremont, and the project description talks about setting things up for a “GA5”:

“GA” refers to a general assembly line. For example, Tesla’s now-famous assembly line inside a “tent” was called “GA4.”

It’s unclear whether GA5 will produce the new Model Y, which is set to enter production in the fall of 2020, but even if it’s not, the new assembly line is likely meant to enable Tesla to fit the higher production volume at the factory.

Model 3 and Model Y are expected to share a lot of production capacity and processes.

However, Tesla is going to have to significantly increase the volume, as they claim Model Y is going to be an even higher-volume program than Model 3.

Some other parts are also going to be produced at Tesla’s Gigafactory 1 in Nevada, including the drivetrain and battery pack.

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