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Tesla unveils new-look factory

Published:Sunday | October 31, 2010 | 12:00 AM

Fremont, California (AP): 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.

US Sen. Dianne Feinstein, Telsa 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 Tesla bought in May.

Hired

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 (480 kilometres) on a three to five hour charge.  Tesla plans to sell the electric sedan for US$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.