Electric car maker Tesla Motors Inc. has unveiled its retooled factory in Fremont where it plans to produce its next-generation electric sedan in partnership with Toyota.
U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, Tesla CEO Elon Musk and local officials were on hand Wednesday as the company showed off changes to the New United Motor Manufacturing Inc. factory, known as Nummi.
"It says that we can have a blue-collar manufacturing base, but it says if we're smart, that manufacturing base is green. It's green energy. That's the future," Feinstein said during a ceremony at the sprawling plant that Tesla bought in May.
Although production of the Model S sedan is not expected to begin until 2012, Tesla spokeswoman Khobi Brooklyn said new equipment needed to make electric cars has already been brought in. She said about 70 workers have been hired.
The work force is expected to be around 1,200 when production reaches its peak.
"This plant was really the one that we always hoped we could get but really didn't think we could ever afford," said Musk.
Nummi was a joint venture between General Motors Co. and Toyota until the Detroit auto giant filed for bankruptcy last year. Tesla is now in a partnership with Toyota.
The Model S is designed to travel more than 300 miles on a three- to five-hour charge. Tesla plans to sell the electric sedan for $49,900, including federal tax credits.
"Model S is blazing a new trail for the industry, and it will all happen right here," Musk said. "This is a momentous day in Tesla history, turning our advanced electric vehicle technology into a mass manufacturing reality."