SAN FRANCISCO -- Tesla Inc., which has leveraged a single assembly plant to become one of the world's highest-valued automakers, has another one coming.
The electric-car maker's factory in Fremont, Calif., is "bursting at the seams" making Model S sedans, Model X crossovers and preparing for the upcoming Model 3 car, CEO Elon Musk told shareholders Tuesday. Tesla is deciding the location for a plant to build the Model Y, a smaller crossover scheduled to arrive as soon as late 2019.
"There's just no way we could do Model Y at Fremont," Musk said during Tesla's annual meeting in Mountain View, Calif.
"So it's going to have to be somewhere else."
Tesla on Wednesday offered no other details on the plant, or where it might be located.
"Elon’s comments yesterday are the extent of what we’re sharing at this point," a Tesla spokesman said in an e-mail.
Tesla has surpassed General Motors, Honda Motor Co. and Ford Motor Co. in market capitalization this year, driven by anticipation of strong demand for its most affordable car yet, the Model 3. While Musk's vehicles may be getting cheaper, Tesla's second assembly plant will almost certainly be more costly. The company inherited the Fremont factory from a Toyota Motor Corp. fire sale in 2010 for just $42 million.
Musk's talk of another assembly plant is the latest example of the strain ahead for Tesla's balance sheet. The company has estimated the battery gigafactory it's built near Reno, Nev., may eventually end up costing about $5 billion. Musk said Tuesday Tesla may eventually have 10 to 12 gigafactories.
Since its June 2010 debut as a public company, Tesla has conducted 10 offerings of new equity or debt, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Most recently, the company raised $1.4 billion selling stock and convertible bonds.