Tesla has hit the pause button on production of its electric Model S sedan, opening a two-week window for assembly line upgrades.
Marking the “single biggest investment” in its California plant since the company began, the upgrades will allow for the new Model X SUV to be built alongside its sedan sibling.
Totalling around US$100 million, the plant’s enhancements will include the addition of 25 robots, along with modifications to its body and general assembly lines.
The company expects the upgrades to boost production by around 25 percent, which would see around 1000 cars roll out of the factory each week - up from 700 per week at the end of the first quarter in 2014.
The Model X, which utilises the same platform and systems as the Model S, is scheduled to enter production in early 2015.
Tesla is California’s largest automotive employer, with more than 6000 people working at facilities that accommodate manufacture, administration, design, parts and service.
Tesla outlined plans earlier this year for a future new US$5 billion ‘Gigafactory’ battery plant. It hopes that this new facility will reduce the cost of battery production by around 30 percent.
Those savings are expected to flow through to lower pricing for the company’s Model S and Model X. Tesla concedes that cheaper battery production is crucial to keeping the upcoming Model III sedan affordable.
The plant won’t just make batteries for Tesla’s cars though, with plans in place for battery packs to store power from solar panels in homes and businesses.
The company is still in the planning stage for the new battery plant, with sites in Arizona, California, Nevada, New Mexico and Texas under consideration.
Note: Tesla's Model S sedan has been confirmed for an Australian launch and customer models are arriving over the coming weeks.