Tesla to Park New HQ in Palo Alto

Company using govt. loan to expand

By Jessica Greene
|  Tuesday, Aug 18, 2009  |  Updated 7:25 AM PDT
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Tesla Roadster Unveiled


Tesla Motors Chairman, CEO and Product Architect Elon Musk, at the wheel, right, and chief designer Franz von Holzhausen take the prototype Tesla Model S all-electric 5-door sedan for a spin after its unveiling in Hawthorne, Calif., Thursday, March 26, 2009. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)

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Tesla Motors will open a new power train production facility and corporate headquarters in Palo Alto, Calif., as the electric-car maker moves to expand production after a recent award of government loans, the company said Tuesday.

The three-building facility at the Stanford Research Park, which was previously home to Agilent Technologies, will build components for Tesla's electric vehicles as well as parts for other automakers. The facility will employ some 350 people with space for up to 650 and become the comany's headquarters.

Operations will eventually be shifted from their current home in San Carlos, which is actually spread across a handful of locations a few blocks apart.

The new facility's proximity to Stanford University will be an asset to Tesla, as they will be tapping in the school's engineering talent, Tesla's chief technology officer, JB Straubel told the Mercury News.

The carmaker, which builds the $109,000 Roadster sports car, is working on additional vehicles to target more mainstream drivers. In March, it unveiled the Model S electric sedan, a seven-seater that it hopes to price under $50,000 after government rebates. Production is slated to begin in 2011.

Even with the high price tag, Tesla says they have delivered almost 700 Roadsters and has filled orders for hundreds more. July brought the company's first month of profitability, as they pulled in about $1 million in earnings, the company said.

The Palo Alto facility takes the place of the one that was earlier slated to open in San Jose. That real estate deal fell apart last year.

The company said it is still in negotiations over a site for its Model S assembly facility. The Palo Alto facility will not be used to build the vehicle.

Tesla said it will finance the power train facility using part of the $465 million in low-interest loans it received from the U.S. Energy Department in June.

The loans come from a $25 billion pool to help automakers develop more fuel-efficient vehicle technology.

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