The other day I was at small green festival. While standing next to a 2010 Tesla Roadster, I heard a blogger say that Tesla was going to make an announcement the next day, but he didn’t know what it was about.
Now we all know Toyota and Tesla are collaborating, and it’s quite an exciting and uplifting development, especially during the recession. It’s also going to bring about 1,000 new jobs to a closed Toyota plant in Fremont, CA. It nearly makes me want to apply for one of those jobs, even though I haven’t worked on an assembly line.
The NUMMI plant will be reopened for the production of the Tesla sedan, an electric car with a seating capacity of five adults, and a range of 300 miles on a full battery. The sedan is slated to sell for about $50,000. Tesla’s CEO said he wants other electric cars to be built at the plant as well, and envisions there could be as many as 10,000 new jobs created eventually.
The Bay Area unemployment rate reported by the federal government is 11 percent. (It’s probably actually higher). Adding 1,000 new jobs isn’t going to make much of a dent in that number. However, building electric cars is not any old job. Adding a thousand workers who construct less polluting vehicles indicates a potential future direction for an industry. It’s one thing to talk about how great it would be, but quite another to actually get a production plant running and making a viable electric car. With so many technology workers and enthusiasts in the adjacent Silicon Valley, there could also be a strong customer base right in the neighborhood.
At the green festival in Napa, I was very disappointed to hear I wouldn’t be able to ride in, or test drive, the Tesla Roadster. A Tesla representative told us to come on down to the Menlo Park store to do those things. Now it looks likes a whole lot more people are going to be visiting the store for test drives.
Image Credit: Mark Warren