Tesla To Build Model S Sedan Plant In Downey, California

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Regardless of what Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger may or may not have said between the lines to California assemblyman Tom Ammiano, his message is clear when it comes to Tesla Motors: a break on the sales tax on $320 million worth of equipment has enticed Tesla to build its new Model S sedan plant within the state's borders. The final selection of Downey, California was leaked today by two local newspapers, and uncovered by High Gear Media's John Voelcker.

Long Beach was also considered a front runner in the race for the plant, but in the Downey won out, with the Tesla factory to be located on an 80-acre ex-NASA plot. For those not intimately familiar with L.A. Basin geography, this would put the new plant--where Tesla will build its 2012 Model S Sedan--just south of Los Angeles, between Compton and Whittier, and about 7 hours south of Tesla's Menlo Park headquarters.

Roughly $238 million will be spent on the plant itself, while another $59 million will go to upgrade the existing Palo Alto powertrain production facility. All of these funds come from the U.S. Department of Energy loan secured earlier this year, worth $465 million.

The 2012 Tesla Model S sedan, in addition to being seriously good-looking, is expected to be one of the first all-electric sedans to market. It will also carry forward some of the perform legacy built by the Tesla Roadster, with an expected 0-60 mph time of 5.5 seconds in the running with many gasoline sports sedans. In some configurations the sedan will also be capable of a 300 to 600-mile range.

Starting price for the Model S will be $57,500, though a $7,500 tax credit will help bring its total cost down to about $50,000. It's expected to go into production by mid-to-late 2011, reaching retail sale by early 2012.

[District Weekly, Downey Patriot, via TheCarConnection]

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Comments (10)
  1. Why build a new plant?
    The NUMMI plant in Fremont is gonna be abandoned soon...

  2. Ahhh bepsf you are forgetting something about electric and hybrid cars. They are not any greener than an SUV but they do give the owner of one the perception of being someone who is green..... Don't forget the juice these things run on comes from coal!!!!
    You are right in that using an existing building would be about the greenest thing you can do. Lets not forget the greenest building ever constructed in the U.S. came from an existing building and today it builds full size pick-up trucks... way to go Ford for getting green right. Its a cradle to grave thing and not about perception and just the bit the end consumer uses!

  3. Well, sort of. The electricity we use comes from a nuclear plant, but that's not entirely "green" either, is it?
    My only beef with a car like this is my beef with any other electric only car. What happens when you run out of juice miles from home?
    My other beef (I guess I have 2) is that, as an apartment dweller, I have nowhere to plug it in...

  4. The Nummi plant, while convenient, is about 100x too large for Tesla. It's also Unionized. Why would Tesla want any part of a plant that's completelye the wrong size, and would mean increased labor and production costs?

  5. Model S looks incredibly beautiful.

  6. I just don't see the point to these cars. They are all about ego, not eco. Electric - great, but exotic cars don't burn a lot of gas. They sit in the garage. Somebody please make a minivan or low-priced sedan. This is a ridiculous waste of everything involved.

  7. "The Nummi plant, while convenient, is about 100x too large for Tesla. It's also Unionized."
    It would still be cheaper to take a larger than necessary building with space to expand than start from scratch.
    A building is not unionized - A workforce is.
    Just because a former owner/tenant of a building might have had a unionized workforce doesn't mean that a new employer taking over the space for a similar purpose would be forced to hire the same people - in fact they might prefer to start with a different group of people so that they wouldn't have to untrain them in the ways of the old employer.

  8. when i first see that car i tought it was a Maserati Gran Turismo(front)

  9. That is very cool,I defiantly want one of these Tesla's

  10. This is a time to celebrate, regardless of the negative facts these automobiles may have. This is small step to the right direction. Just like gasoline powered automobile was an experiment during the early 1900, we made it worked by building so much gas stations, which further worsens out dependence on foreign oil and the countries that produces them. This automobile may not be 100% environmentally friendly but it will drastically impact and slow down the damage that these gas powered cars have done to out planet. Let's give this technology a chance, and slowly free ourselves hostage of middle east oil. God Bless America.

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