A friend of mine works at Tesla, and invited me to their holiday party yesterday. (Yes, their holiday party was held on January 19th.)
The Tesla factory is out in Freemont, and is easily the biggest building I’ve ever been inside of. The party was right out on the factory floor, where they make the cars. It was decorated nicely, with little white picket fences separating the areas you can go from the areas you can’t go. There was also a table that was literally about 100m long serving free beer.
Here’s the first thing you see when you walk in:
That’s the acclaimed Tesla Model S, with some award that it won off in the corner of the shot. It’s a gorgeous car.
Here are some unfinished ones:
Ok, technically these will never be “finished”. These are actually test cars they use to train new people. I guess they expect new hires to make a few mistakes, so they reserved a few frames specifically for that purpose.
There were also car parts everywhere:
This is a shelf of sheet metal used for the floor of the driver’s side of the front cab. There were tons of these shelves, all clearly labelled.
There were also bigger things lying around, like doors, and row after row of seats:
Seriously. You can’t tell from that shot, but there were seats as far as the eye could see.
Being there with a Tesla employee was nice, because he could answer my constant questions. For example, I asked what this weird computer area was:
He explained that these workstations are used to control giant presses that stamp out car parts. The presses were off in some unrestricted area, but by the way he described them, I pictured the kind of enormous robots that inevitably “turn evil” in sci-fi movies and try to destroy the world.
I also asked why these walls are red:
It turns out this is a welding station, and the walls are red so that people walking by that aren’t wearing welding masks won’t go blind if they happen to look towards the welders.
Probably my favourite part of the factory was the inspection area:
Every time they finish assembling a car, it gets sent to this floor for final inspection. It rolls slowly down the floor via those conveyer belts, and engineers inspect all aspects of the car. If they find any blemishes, the car is returned for fixing up.
Sometimes they’ll drive-test a car, and because Telsa cars are all 100% electric and have literally zero emissions, Tesla is the only car company in the world with an indoor test track.
Speaking of being good for the environment, I had to take a picture of these awesome recycling bins:
That’s Tesla for you. Beautiful design in every aspect of the factory; from the floor itself to the cars it produces, right down to the waste bins.
I had a great time, and I heard I can go back for a formal tour someday — just don’t expect a post about that one, because I also heard I’d have to sign an NDA :)