Blog Post from MEng ’14 Rie Kawauchi
Master of Engineering ‘13 Alumnus David Kalinowski, a Purchasing Specialist at Tesla, kindly arranged a site tour for current students interested in learning more about the premium electric wheels company.
On November 25th, 2013, ten MEng students and I arrived at the Tesla factory located in Fremont, California. The large, 370 acre site with a big TESLA name was not difficult to locate, even from a couple of miles away. When touring the factory, it was apparent that something was different. For example, there were no cubicle walls. David also mentioned that the CEO, Elon Musk, frequently comes down to the factory floor to discuss business with engineers. The factory was surprisingly full of light, occasionally painted in Tesla’s iconic red color, and the ambiance was relaxed and welcoming. It seemed like every engineer we passed smiled at us.
Tesla is unique in many ways. For one, every step of the manufacturing process—from design to assemblage and finished product—takes place here in California, where land and labor costs run quit high. Tesla also utilizes a touchscreen dashboard, which can be enhanced by upgrading the operating system, rather than reinstalling conventional dashboard equipment. Lastly, since the Model S is electric, Tesla makes use of the front hood—where conventional gasoline engine is usually located—as an additional storage component.
We were very impressed and it was quite an experience to see the site and meet so many passionate, proud employees. Thank you for the tour, David!