Tesla has given the auto industry a steady stream of competitive shocks over the past decade. But one that has probably gone unnoticed by consumers has occurred in the decidedly unglamorous world of factory construction.
Tesla has been building its auto plants at jaw-dropping speed.
Case in point: Tesla Gigafactory Texas, its $1.1 billion assembly plant now under construction in Austin.
The site was chosen in July. Construction began immediately on the project, consisting of three parallel buildings totaling 4 million square feet. Barely two months later, Tesla estimated the plant would be substantially completed by May. CEO Elon Musk said in January he expected production to start by the end of this year.
Auto plants typically take twice that long to build from raw ground to consumer sales. Tesla's pace represents a new benchmark for U.S. automakers, said Sandy Munro, a former Ford engineer who consults on manufacturing issues as CEO of Munro & Associates in Auburn Hills, Mich.