In order to produce the Tesla Model S(edan) a.k.a. WhiteStar, Tesla Motors will need greatly expanded manufacturing capabilities. While they had previously planned on opening a new San Diego plant, they scrapped that idea on account of “we have no money.” They would have required more than USD $350 million in venture capital in order to open the new site. They didn’t get it. The back-up plan was to beg the US government’s Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing Program (ATVMP) for money. ATVMP doesn’t like to fund “greenfield” sites. They instead prefer that companies use “brownfields” which are old facilities that can be refurbished. More after the jump.
Now Tesla Motors claims that it is in “late stage” negotiations regarding their acquisition of a new “brownfield” site which they can use to produce the Model S. In their own words, “We cannot do anything that may jeopardize securing the federal loan.” ATVMP loans are rather hard to come by, as the program’s funds are limited and alot of people want in with their own green designs (Fisker Karma, for example). Tesla wants $400 million in order to develop the Model S as well as open a new battery and powertrain facility.
“Our thinking is now we want to keep the headquarters Silicon Valley and the Model S assembly plant wherever it is most cost effective and most expedient to get the car to market as fast as possible for the lowest cost.” Thankfully they added that last phrase, since we all know what happened with their last car. They say that with the negotiations underway the Model S should be available in 2011.
Perhaps it will even be profitable.