Finance We took a tour of the factory where Tesla is building its new Model 3 (TSLA)

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The large robots building Tesla's Model S, Model 3, and Model X are named after characters from Marvel's X-Men.

The Tesla Factory in Fremont, California. play

The Tesla Factory in Fremont, California.

(Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider)
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With the launch of the Model 3, Tesla is on the precipice of a move from ambitious niche upstart to a mass market carmaker.

Over the past decade, Tesla has become a global leader in electric vehicles. At the same time, its Model S sedan and Model X SUV have become the performance benchmarks for competitors looking to enter their respective segments.

Both cars are made at its factory in Fremont, California. As you might expect from an Elon Musk-run company, Tesla's factory is one of the most advanced automotive production facility in the world. It's equipped with more than a hundred robots.

Ahead of the launch of its Model X SUV in late 2015, Tesla gave Business Insider a peek inside its modern factory.

With the new mass production Model 3 now in the fold, the Tesla is reportedly making modifications to the facility to accommodate the vehicle. However, production of the Model S and X remain as is.

With the unveiling of the production Model 3 just around the corner, here's a look inside the Tesla Factory:

The Tesla Factory is situated on 370 acres of land in Fremont, California.

The Tesla Factory is situated on 370 acres of land in Fremont, California. play

The Tesla Factory is situated on 370 acres of land in Fremont, California.

(Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider)


The Tesla Factory spent the first 20 years of its life as a General Motors assembly plant until it was shut down in 1982. In 1984, the plant reopened as NUMMI or New United Motor Manufacturing Inc.

The Tesla Factory spent the first 20 years of its life as a General Motors assembly plant until it was shut down in 1982. In 1984, the plant reopened as NUMMI or New United Motor Manufacturing Inc. play

The Tesla Factory spent the first 20 years of its life as a General Motors assembly plant until it was shut down in 1982. In 1984, the plant reopened as NUMMI or New United Motor Manufacturing Inc.

(REUTERS/Robert Galbraith)


NUMMI was a joint venture between GM And Toyota that assembled vehicles for both automakers. It also allowed GM to study Toyota's legendary "lean manufacturing" methods.

NUMMI was a joint venture between GM And Toyota that assembled vehicles for both automakers. It also allowed GM to study Toyota's legendary "lean manufacturing" methods. play

NUMMI was a joint venture between GM And Toyota that assembled vehicles for both automakers. It also allowed GM to study Toyota's legendary "lean manufacturing" methods.

(REUTERS/Kimimasa Mayama)


The NUMMI joint venture ended 2009 which allowed Tesla to swoop in and purchase the plant in 2010.

The NUMMI joint venture ended 2009 which allowed Tesla to swoop in and purchase the plant in 2010. play

The NUMMI joint venture ended 2009 which allowed Tesla to swoop in and purchase the plant in 2010.

(Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider)


Believe it or not, this is the last remaining major car factory in the state of California.

Believe it or not, this is the last remaining major car factory in the state of California. play

Believe it or not, this is the last remaining major car factory in the state of California.

(Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider)


As we pulled up to the Tesla Factory, we were greeted by a row of the company's Model S electric sedans having their batteries topped off at SuperCharger stations.

As we pulled up to the Tesla Factory, we were greeted by a row of the company's Model S electric sedans having their batteries topped off at SuperCharger stations. play

As we pulled up to the Tesla Factory, we were greeted by a row of the company's Model S electric sedans having their batteries topped off at SuperCharger stations.

(Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider)


Nearby, brand new Model S cars sit outside the Customer Delivery center.

Nearby, brand new Model S cars sit outside the Customer Delivery center. play

Nearby, brand new Model S cars sit outside the Customer Delivery center.

(Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider)


Eventually, we make our way inside the massive production facility. It occupies 5.3 million sq. ft. of manufacturing space.

Eventually, we make our way inside the massive production facility. It occupies 5.3 million sq. ft. of manufacturing space. play

Eventually, we make our way inside the massive production facility. It occupies 5.3 million sq. ft. of manufacturing space.

(Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider)


How do people get around the massive factory floor? Bicycles!

How do people get around the massive factory floor? Bicycles! play

How do people get around the massive factory floor? Bicycles!

(Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider)


Just inside the factory entrance is a row of Tesla's prototypes.

Just inside the factory entrance is a row of Tesla's prototypes. play

Just inside the factory entrance is a row of Tesla's prototypes.

(Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider)


They range from this wood composite mockup of the Tesla Roadster used for wind tunnel testing to...

They range from this wood composite mockup of the Tesla Roadster used for wind tunnel testing to... play

They range from this wood composite mockup of the Tesla Roadster used for wind tunnel testing to...

(Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider)


... the first mockups of the Model S.

... the first mockups of the Model S. play

... the first mockups of the Model S.

(Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider)


Here's "Red Alpha." It was the first drivable Model S prototype. Tesla says they spent roughly $2.2 million on the prototype.

Here's "Red Alpha." It was the first drivable Model S prototype. Tesla says they spent roughly $2.2 million on the prototype. play

Here's "Red Alpha." It was the first drivable Model S prototype. Tesla says they spent roughly $2.2 million on the prototype.

(Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider)


Ever wonder what a Tesla Model S looks like without its body? Well here it is.

Ever wonder what a Tesla Model S looks like without its body? Well here it is. play

Ever wonder what a Tesla Model S looks like without its body? Well here it is.

(Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider)


Here's the front motor.

Here's the front motor. play

Here's the front motor.

(Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider)


Entering the production portion of the factory, the immediate impression any visitor gets is that everything is very clean and neatly organized.

Entering the production portion of the factory, the immediate impression any visitor gets is that everything is very clean and neatly organized. play

Entering the production portion of the factory, the immediate impression any visitor gets is that everything is very clean and neatly organized.

(Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider)


As the tour continued we made our way to Tesla's massive Schuler press. It's seven stories tall and is responsible for stamping out Tesla's aluminum body panels.

As the tour continued we made our way to Tesla's massive Schuler press. It's seven stories tall and is responsible for stamping out Tesla's aluminum body panels. play

As the tour continued we made our way to Tesla's massive Schuler press. It's seven stories tall and is responsible for stamping out Tesla's aluminum body panels.

(Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider)


Tesla claims the press is the largest machine of its kind in North America.

Tesla claims the press is the largest machine of its kind in North America. play

Tesla claims the press is the largest machine of its kind in North America.

(Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider)


There are racks upon racks of panels awaiting assembly.

There are racks upon racks of panels awaiting assembly. play

There are racks upon racks of panels awaiting assembly.

(Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider)


The Tesla Factory was comprised of two main production lines. At the time, Line One was dedicated to the Model S, while Line Two is responsible for the Model X.

The Tesla Factory was comprised of two main production lines. At the time, Line One was dedicated to the Model S, while Line Two is responsible for the Model X. play

The Tesla Factory was comprised of two main production lines. At the time, Line One was dedicated to the Model S, while Line Two is responsible for the Model X.



This Model S is beginning to take shape.

This Model S is beginning to take shape. play

This Model S is beginning to take shape.

(Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider)


While this one just went through a quality control inspection of its welds.

While this one just went through a quality control inspection of its welds. play

While this one just went through a quality control inspection of its welds.

(Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider)


These cars are fresh out of the paint shop.

These cars are fresh out of the paint shop. play

These cars are fresh out of the paint shop.

(Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider)


Battery packs!

Battery packs! play

Battery packs!

(Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider)


These robots are putting together Tesla's electric powertrain.

These robots are putting together Tesla's electric powertrain. play

These robots are putting together Tesla's electric powertrain.

(Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider)


A sea of electric motors.

A sea of electric motors. play

A sea of electric motors.

(Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider)


These are the smaller of the two motors Tesla offers.

These are the smaller of the two motors Tesla offers. play

These are the smaller of the two motors Tesla offers.

(Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider)


This one is headed for a Model X.

This one is headed for a Model X. play

This one is headed for a Model X.

(Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider)


I spy a Model X under wraps.

I spy a Model X under wraps. play

I spy a Model X under wraps.

(Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider)


Here, a robot called Mystique is picking up a Model S. The factory's large robots are named after characters from Marvel's X-Men.

Here, a robot called Mystique is picking up a Model S. The factory's large robots are named after characters from Marvel's X-Men. play

Here, a robot called Mystique is picking up a Model S. The factory's large robots are named after characters from Marvel's X-Men.

(Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider)


Two of the coolest robots in the factory work in tandem with each other. They are called Wolverine and Iceman.

Two of the coolest robots in the factory work in tandem with each other. They are called Wolverine and Iceman. play

Two of the coolest robots in the factory work in tandem with each other. They are called Wolverine and Iceman.

(Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider)


Here's how they work. As this Model S approaches the robots...

Here's how they work. As this Model S approaches the robots... play

Here's how they work. As this Model S approaches the robots...

(Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider)


Wolverine activates.

Wolverine activates. play

Wolverine activates.

(Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider)


It lifts the car up and rotates it 180 degrees.

It lifts the car up and rotates it 180 degrees. play

It lifts the car up and rotates it 180 degrees.

(Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider)


At which point Iceman activates and receives the car from Wolverine.

At which point Iceman activates and receives the car from Wolverine. play

At which point Iceman activates and receives the car from Wolverine.

(Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider)


Iceman then turns the car another 180 degrees — allowing it to continue down the production line.

Iceman then turns the car another 180 degrees — allowing it to continue down the production line. play

Iceman then turns the car another 180 degrees — allowing it to continue down the production line.

(Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider)


At the time of our visit, the Tesla production line deployed more than 150 robots.

At the time of our visit, the Tesla production line deployed more than 150 robots. play

At the time of our visit, the Tesla production line deployed more than 150 robots.

(Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider)


However, not all of the of a Tesla is made by robots. The plant actually employs a few thousand people.

However, not all of the of a Tesla is made by robots. The plant actually employs a few thousand people. play

However, not all of the of a Tesla is made by robots. The plant actually employs a few thousand people.

(Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider)


Many parts of the car, such as the interior trim, must be installed by hand.

Many parts of the car, such as the interior trim, must be installed by hand. play

Many parts of the car, such as the interior trim, must be installed by hand.



This Model S is awaiting its interior.

This Model S is awaiting its interior. play

This Model S is awaiting its interior.

(Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider)


There's nowhere to sit!

There's nowhere to sit! play

There's nowhere to sit!

(Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider)


And Voila! A complete Model S.

And Voila! A complete Model S. play

And Voila! A complete Model S.

(Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider)


However, the work is not done for the factory. The completed cars have to be sent to the dynamometer to gauge power output and then be prepped for delivery.

However, the work is not done for the factory. The completed cars have to be sent to the dynamometer to gauge power output and then be prepped for delivery. play

However, the work is not done for the factory. The completed cars have to be sent to the dynamometer to gauge power output and then be prepped for delivery.

(Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider)


In 2016, Tesla produced roughly 80,000 cars.

In 2016, Tesla produced roughly 80,000 cars. play

In 2016, Tesla produced roughly 80,000 cars.

(Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider)