Tesla Shutters Production to Make Way for Its First SUV

Tesla Model X

Fremont, California-based Tesla Motors (NASDAQ:TSLA) has officially idled its factory for retooling purposes to get it ready for the production of the Model X crossover SUV, its second mass-market vehicle that’s expected to begin deliveries next year. It’s the first time the plant — Tesla’s only — has ceased production since coming online.

Tesla spokesperson Simon Sproule told Bloomberg in an interview on Monday that the reconfiguration efforts were a critical factor in Tesla’s jacking up production figures by 25 percent. He told the site that the upgrades mainly involve modifications to the factory’s body and general assembly lines, and will cost roughly $100 million.

“This represents the single biggest investment in the plant since we really started operations and enables us for higher volumes,” Sproule went on. “It gets us ready to build X and to do it on the same line as the S.”

Tesla is hoping to nail deliveries of 35,000 Model S sedans this year. That’s a 56 percent leap over the deliveries last year, but more impressively, it also comes as Tesla — for the first time — begins building a second vehicle, the X, at its facility. At the end of the first-quarter, Tesla was producing about 700 vehicles per week at it’s plant in Fremont.