Tesla’s Project Roadrunner Gets Underway as New Facility Begins Construction

Tesla’s Fremont facility will be expanding to accommodate in-house battery R&D.

New updates for Tesla’s much anticipated Project Roadrunner revealed that the Fremont facility has recently continued its expansion and production activities. A Tesla enthusiast paid a visit to the Fremont delivery site and uploaded pictures of the new battery facility’s construction via Twitter. According to @sensarpensar, Tesla Model Y units with vehicle identification numbers (VINs) in the 24,000 range were being prepared for customer turnover, suggesting that vehicle production has remained steady despite the slowdown caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Up ahead at Kato Road and Page Avenue, construction is in full swing. City of Fremont documents indicate that Tesla intends to add additional floors to its existing building facility as it plans to ramp up its pilot battery production line. User @sensarpensar also tweeted that a crane has already been set up on the site along with multiple construction workers. Judging from the photos, it appears that the steel framework for a new floor has already been erected.

According to Tesla’s official application for expansion submitted to the City of Fremont, the second floor will be approximately 21,485 square feet, while the third floor will be a smaller at 8,260 square feet. This means that the total floor plan of the existing building will increase by 29,745 square feet, making the facility’s total floor space 156,057 square feet.

The expanded facility will reportedly house 45 research and development employees and approximately 425 manufacturing workers. Tesla has already posted job openings in recent months for positions based in Fremont, Calif., such as cell engineers, production process engineers, and controls engineers. According to the company, the workers will be spread through four shifts in light of the still rising cases of COVID-19. In the company’s expansion application to the City of Fremont, Tesla wrote:

“The remaining 400 employees will work in shifts, such that there are 100 employees working at manufacturing and production operations at any given time, all day, every day. Shifts change at 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. daily. The shifts operate such that 100 employees work day shifts in the first half of the week, 100 employees work night shifts for the first half of the week, 100 employees work day shifts during the second half of the week, and 100 employees work night shifts during the second half of the week.”

Tesla first revealed plans for Project Roadrunner in June 2019. The project highlighted Tesla’s plans to begin producing its own in-house battery cell design. However, industry reporters still consider the new undertaking as part of Tesla’s research and development efforts.

Read Tesla’s complete filings for expansion here.

For more news and stories, check out our evaluation of Tesla’s online solar design tool here.