In a surprising turn of events, Tesla Motors announced that they would be teaming with Toyota to produce electric cars at the recently shuttered NUMMI (New United Motor Manufacturing Inc.) facility in Fremont, California.
A convergence of events appears to have presented an ideal situation for both workers and employers: auto workers who lost their jobs when the joint General Motors - Toyota venture locked their gates in April, 2010 will provide Tesla with a pool of highly skilled and eager to get back to work employees. In addition, future development of Tesla's electric vehicle can draw upon the expertise of the built-in engineering and technological force present in Silicon Valley -- many of whom are likewise seeking employment.
The Tesla Model S Sedan, with an anticipated base price of $49,000 that includes a federal tax credit, will be the initial electric automobile to roll off the production line [Model S Video]. The facility, which will utilize the Toyota Production System is capable of manufacturing half a million cars per year.
While the 1000 expected to be hired when the Tesla Factory [New Sign] comes into operation in 2012 will not totally make up for the 4700 jobs that were lost at NUMMI during the recession, it certainly paints a bright spot on the horizon. "In a great big hurry, our fortunes have changed" said Fremont Mayor, Bob Wasserman. "This is a great day for Fremont, the beginning of a new industry and a new chapter in our history".
On June 22nd, 2012, Tesla Motors began delivery of their Model S. In an invitation-only event, several customers took possession of their electric vehicle. Delivered ahead of schedule, the company is in an excellent position of reaching its production goal of 5,000 cars by the end of 2012, followed by 20,000 cars in 2013. The Model S hitting the road brought to fruition CEO and Chief Product Architect Elon Musk's game plan:
"In 2006 our plan was to build an electric sports car followed by an affordable electric sedan, and reduce our dependence on oil".
"Delivering Model S is a key part of that plan and represents Tesla's transition to a mass-production automaker and the most compelling car company of the 21st century."