Tesla Inc. will likely build its Model Y crossover SUV at its current production facility in Fremont, Calif., Chief Executive Elon Musk said during a podcast interview released Sunday.
Appearing on the “Ride the Lightning” podcast hosted by Ryan McCaffrey, Musk said that Fremont is the “default plan” because it would be quicker than starting an assembly facility at Tesla’s gigafactory in Sparks, Nev. The gigafactory currently produces battery packs, electric motors and energy storage systems.
“Right now our default plan actually is to produce the Y at Fremont,” Musk said on the podcast. “I was skeptical about whether this made sense at first but my team convinced me the fastest way to get to volume production is to do the Y at Fremont.”
In April, Musk said the choice between Fremont and Sparks was a “tough call.” Advantages to the Nevada site include more room to expand and lower labor costs. Last week, CNBC reported Tesla was “rejigging” the Fremont auto plant to accommodate Model Y production.
The Model Y — which will share most of its components with the Model 3 — was unveiled earlier this year and is expected to start production in late 2020. The vehicle’s starting price is expected to be around $47,000.
It’s been a rough year for Tesla, and the company got more bad publicity over the weekend when a Model S reportedly caught fire at a Supercharger station in Belgium. According to the blog Electrek, firefighters had to submerge the burning car in a pool of water to put out the flames. The cause of the blaze is not yet known, but Electrek noted it’s at least the fourth Model S to catch fire with recharging in the past two months.
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