Tesla is nothing if not forward-looking, and that includes the possibility of opening a new factory — possibly in China. Granted, Tesla's nowhere near utilizing the full 500,000-car-per-year capacity of its Fremont, California, factory and is still building the battery-producing Gigafactory in Nevada. But China is big enough of a market that local production is certainly worth consideration.
The news comes from CCTV (via Electrek), who spoke to Tesla President John McNeill following the Chinese launch of the Model X:
Tesla currently assembles vehicles at their factory in Fremont. The facility was operated jointly by GM and Toyota until 2010, producing vehicles like the Chevy Nova, Geo Prizm, Pontiac Vibe, and Toyota Matrix. Tesla took over the facility following GM's bankruptcy and reorganization. Under GM and Toyota the factory was capable of producing up to 500,000 vehicles a year. Tesla is projecting to build 90,000 vehicles in 2016 at the factory.
But why China for Tesla Factory 2? Because China is a huge potential market for Tesla. The country has already surpassed the United States as the single largest auto market in the world, and with a population more than four times the size has tremendous potential for growth. The Chinese government's also keen to encourage local investment, even if from foreign firms. So a Tesla factory in China makes perfect sense, even if it's likely many years off.