Tesla is currently using the old General Motors/Toyota NUMMI facility in California for Model S production, and despite the brand's rapid growth, it's still not coming close to approaching the full 500,000-unit production capacity of that former facility. Still, the EV manufacturer is shopping around for both European and Asian production facilities in anticipation of bountiful increases in sales.
While we'd caution that this counting of chickens isn't the best idea, Tesla has just cause for planning ahead. According to Automotive News, Model S production should crest at 21,000 units by the end of 2013, and 40,000 units by the end of 2014. It'll soon be joined at the Fremont, California factory by the Model X SUV, along with the rumored Model E, which will occupy a volume position for the brand below the Model S. And while the old NUMMI facility might have production capacity for far more vehicles than Tesla can build, churning three separate vehicles out of the same factory might not be as economically viable as just picking up a new factory altogether.
While Musk won't come out and say it, if his logistical predictions are any indication, it's a safe bet that he sees Model E becoming the big-selling model for Tesla. Speaking to Bloomberg, he said, "We'll try to locate those close to where people are, close to where the customers are, to minimize the logistics costs of getting the car to them."
It remains unclear if, or more likely, when Tesla will make any acquisitions in Europe or Asia. It's already operating a small facility in the Netherlands that's completing Model S models using parts shipped over from California, but a larger-scale facility for the Model E probably won't happen for another few years, which is in line with Musk's prediction that the new vehicle would hit the market "within five years." Stay tuned.