Jason M. Hendler
07-19-2009, 04:23 PM
With GM and Toyota pulling out of NUMMI, should Tesla Motors step in?
Of course, the current union contract is about to expire at NUMMI, so Tesla Motors might be able to make some demands regarding the new contract's terms, but would Tesla Motors really want to take that risk? I would definitely demand a no-strike clause like the US government currently has with the UAW for the next few years.
I dunno. Tesla Motors has been creating a completely fresh business model - avoiding the dealership trap by owning their own "stores", so why accept the other Achilles heel of the US auto industry - the unions?
The only upside is a fully staffed and running auto plant, so that they could hit the ground running. Perhaps they could start at NUMMI and move the manufacturing to a new plant that they build later.
07-19-2009, 06:50 PM
I feel the timing is wrong for Tesla, they should not consider this. They need more rubber time on the road. Just my 2cents.
Jason M. Hendler
07-19-2009, 06:59 PM
Actually, to start shipping the Model S, Tesla has to select a plant site immediately, if they are starting from scratch.
Using NUMMI might allow them to contract the assembly of the Roadster on a trial basis, then add the Model S when it is ready.
07-19-2009, 08:42 PM
I recommend starting from scratch using the funding to build the most advanced and automated automobile factory on earth and start to bring home our manufacturing base. It's now possible due to advances in robotics and the coming increases in transportation costs due to peak oil.
I would also suggest that as soon as the batteries are ready to start thinking about a new design-for-automated-manufacture platform. GM's skateboard concept is brilliant. Using this common chassis / drivetrain you can easily attach many different body styles. The potential cost and weight savings could be amazing.
Because an all-electric drivetrain could easily last for millions of miles this makes good sense. Only the battery needs to be changed (swap-out design is needed).
So stay away from unions for automobile manufacturing unless the rest of the world agrees to the same working rules (this would be a disaster that would prevent manufacturing advances). The loss of operational decision making is like having your hands tied behind your back. It's almost impossible to compete against a similar-sized non-unionized competitor.
07-19-2009, 09:10 PM
Ultimately, the capacity at that facility is far more than Tesla will probably ever need. It's just too big for a start up. Throw into the mix that the UAW will want back in and I say skip it. I think Tesla is insane and very foolish to even consider building cars in quantity in California. The state is very manufacturing unfriendly and the cost of living is way too high in the Bay Area. They need to follow the proven example of the foreign transplants (this goes for the big domestics too) and get their butts down to the southern states. When Tesla said that it wanted to start building a new factory for the Model S in San Jose, CA, I knew they weren't serious about mass production of automobiles.
Jason M. Hendler
07-19-2009, 09:33 PM
Given the simplicity of an EV, I don't know what state of the art equipment is really needed. A standard compliment of electric or pneumatic tools and lifts - what else?
07-19-2009, 09:47 PM
are they stamping their own sheet metal or subcontracting it out also? .. I think Tesla wants a new way of building cars, subcontract everything out except final assembly, no massive factories.. with an exception for assembling the battery packs, perhaps.
07-19-2009, 10:49 PM
I think Tesla wants a new way of building cars, subcontract everything out except final assembly, no massive factories..
Isn't that pretty much what GM does? They spun off Delphi and just outsource the bulk of the vehicle parts. As far as manufacturing, aren't they pretty much just engineering parts and assembling?
It seems like GM is starting to learn that although it can be a headache, they need to figure out a way to do as much of the work themselves. That's why they're building their own battery testing facility, their own battery pack assembly plant, etc. They learned the hard way when they were the top selling auto maker in the world in 2007 and still lost over $3,000 per vehicle.
07-19-2009, 11:03 PM
If Tesla is serious they will find a new Henry Ford; let the gravestones rest.