Go Inside The Factory Where Robots Build The Tesla Model S

A few months after Tessa Motors turned its first profit, analysts are expecting the electric car company to post a big loss in its Q2 earnings.
One key to Tesla’s business is making and selling enough cars to keep itself in business.

In July, CEO Elon Musk said Model S production rate is ahead of schedule, and the company is now rolling out more than 400 new cars each week.

To see how it’s hitting that rate, Wired went behind the scenes at Tesla’s factory in Fremont, Calif., where it takes three to five days to build a Model S, according to VP of Manufacturing Gilbert Passin.

The process is smooth, efficient, and packed with robots.

You can watch the Wired video here, or click through to see how it’s done.

To create a Model S, Tesla starts out with 50 to 60 coils of various types of aluminium, with each coil weighing up to 20,000 pounds.

The coils are unwound and the aluminium is flattened, then fed into a blanking machine.

The blanking machine processes the pieces and cuts them into flat, even pieces. Sometimes a laser is also used to cut the blanks, as seen here.

The new blanks are fed into press lines and 'stamped' into different shapes that will later form the panels of the car. A part is stamped every 6 seconds in the factory.

Next, the newly stamped panels are brought to the body shop, where they are put together to create the body of the Model S.

Tesla uses one of five different methods to join parts: industrial-strength adhesive, self-piercing rivets, cold metal transfer welding, new delta spot welding, or conventional resistance welding as seen here.

The body leaves the framing area as a full shell and travels down a conveyor belt where it is primed and prepped for painting.

The paint shop is an incredibly clean environment - no dirt, dust or other noticeable particles are allowed to affect the car's finish.

The painted body is then sent to General Assembly, where it is carried down an assembly line by robots that follow a magnetic pattern inlaid in the floor.

Tesla has 160 multi-tasking robots at their Fremont factory. Here you can see an advanced robot installing a seat in the Model S at a precise angle.

The same robot that installs the seats is able to pick up a windshield, put glue on it, and attach it to the car in a matter of seconds.

Of course, robots can't do everything. In this photo, a design engineer inspects a new Model S before it is sent out.

The Fremont Tesla factory employs about 3,000 people.

The Model S can be completed in as few as three days thanks to hardworking employees and the help of sophisticated robots.

Now learn about the man behind the Model S.

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