May 3 (UPI) — During a sometimes awkward conference call Wednesday, an agitated Elon Musk said Tesla Motors will build a new factory this year to handle increased production — setting off a competition among cities and states for the site.
Musk said existing Tesla plants are “jammed to the gills,” so a new factory will produce the automaker’s first mass-market-priced SUV, the Model Y, and include a battery plant that will lure thousands of new jobs.
Musk said Model Y production will begin in about two years, joining the Model S and X luxury lines and Model 3 mass-market electric vehicle.
Tesla has one factory in Fremont, Calif., which hits production levels of 4,000 per week, and a battery plant outside of Reno, Nev.
“We can’t fit Model Y production at Fremont,” Musk said. “We are crazy packed.”
The new plant site will be announced by the end of the year, he said.
Musk said going forward, all Tesla plants will make both cars and battery packs.
During the call with analysts Wednesday — a discussion Musk wanted to keep on the company’s future — two were cut off when they attempted to steer things to other topics.
After Toni Sacconaghi of Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. asked about Tesla’s specific capital requirements, Musk interrupted.
“Boring, bonehead questions are not cool. Next,” he answered.
Joseph Spak of RBC Capital Markets then asked what percentage of Model 3 reservation holders have started configuring their orders — followed by 15 seconds of silence.
“We’re going to go to YouTube, sorry. These questions are so dry. They’re killing me,” Musk said.
The Tesla chief came under fire lately as the company halted production of its Model 3 for the second time, just days after Musk said he would try to speed up production of the long-awaited vehicle.
Last month, working conditions at the assembly plant were investigated by the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health over claims of serious injuries that went unreported.