500,000 EVs/year is not enough!Tesla Motors' Fremont factory (aka the NUMMI plant that was jointly operated by GM and Toyota before it was sold) is currently producing about 20k EV on an annualized basis, with plans to make over 40k/year by the end of 2014. That might sound like a lot, especially for an electric car, but the plant actually has capacity to make about half-a-million vehicles a year (!), so there's still lots of room for expansion.
Yet that doesn't seem to be enough to reach the ambitious goals of Elon Musk. They're already thinking - though without a firm timeline - about building new factories in Europe and Asia, as well as in other parts of the U.S.:
“We’ll try to locate those close to where people are, close to where the customers are, to minimize the logistics costs of getting the car to them,” the Tesla co-founder said in an interview with Bloomberg Television’s Betty Liu. “I think long term you can see Tesla establishing factories in Europe, in other parts of the U.S. and in Asia. Certainly, within five years we’ll have our mass-market electric car available,” Musk told Liu. “We’ll start seeing hundreds of thousands of electric cars going to market every year.”
If Tesla alone can make hundreds of thousands of electric cars based on its third, much less expensive platform (in the $30k range, which is cheap when you take into account fuel savings), it'll be interesting to see how many other carmakers can make and if they can catch up with Tesla when it comes to technology and design.