Tesla’s New Netherlands Factory Includes Indoor Test Track

Tesla plans to double its production in Europe, opening a larger assembly plant in the Netherlands complete with an indoor test track.

“We outgrew our last facility in Tilburg very quickly,” said Tesla CEO Elon Musk at the plant’s grand opening in late September. “I suspect with everything that’s going to happen in the future, we’re going to fill this facility up and be looking for even more space.”

Tesla first opened an assembly plant in the Netherlands in August 2013. This newly opened site is a considerable upgrade, upping Tesla’s workspace from the original location’s 20,344 square feet to 52,743. In addition to providing room for 180 employees a legion of robots and, Musk said the Tilburg facility features the “longest indoor test track in Europe.”

“When we test the cars in the factory, we can take them up to 120 kph [74 mph] in the factory and we can do that twice,” he added.

Tesla factory

Tesla factory in Tilburg, Netherlands.

“Not many manufacturers have a test track inside,” commented Tesla Vice President of Manufacturing Gilbert Passin. “We have no emissions so it’s easy for us, and it gives us consistent, dry conditions.”

With the larger space, Tesla is also planning to boost production from 225 a week, to 450. This will allow Tesla to put about 23,400 new electric vehicles on European roads each year direct from the Netherlands.

Actual production capabilities will still be tied to the main factory in Fremont, Calif., though. This facility is currently tasked with the bulk of the assembly process for the Model S sedan, leaving installation of the battery pack, drivetrain and fluids among the finishing touches completed in Tilburg.

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During the opening ceremonies, Musk indicated that in addition to building cars, Tesla has a few other activities planned within the country.

“We’re going to be working on a project with the ministry to do solar panels and stationary storage, and make that a model for what others can do,” he told the audience. “We’re also going to be working with the ministry on smart charging so that we can communicate with the grid and actually adjust the charging rate proportionate to the electricity demand.”

Tesla hasn’t released any firm details about either project.