Tesla has released a blog post and video with some details about what was accomplished during the recent factory shutdown.
The main goal was to increase capacity – Tesla expects to build about 35,000 cars this year, and to scale that up to 50,000 per year by the end of 2015. During the production pause, the company “upgraded the assembly line, added capacity to the body shop, enhanced powertrain assembly, and revamped facilities for our employees.”
Tesla installed several new robots (named after X-Men characters) that can lift and maneuver entire cars, and even install battery packs, relieving humans of the most labor-intensive operation in the factory.
An entire new section of the factory was built to handle production of the new Dual Motor Model S.
In the powertrain department, new conveyors and robots have increased capacity from 800,000 battery cells per day to one million. In body-in-white, Tesla added new welding equipment and improved production uptime by 5-10 percent. 24 new tire and export docks were added, increasing the speed of overseas deliveries.
This being Tesla, they decided to add a few fun touches as well. Climbing plants add a dash of greenery, huge comic-book-style panels depict the manufacturing process, and a wall of framed photos shows the factory building in its different incarnations, from its days as a Toyota/GM plant to the present.