Three’s Not A Crowd: Tesla + Toyota + A’s

In what can only be described as a miraculous turn of events, Tesla and Toyota have worked out a deal to build the upcoming, <$50k Model S sedan at NUMMI in Fremont. Toyota’s providing the shuttered plant and $50 million of funding, Tesla will 1,000-1,200 jobs back to the plant in South Fremont.

Strategically, it’s a great move for both. Let’s look at what each company gets. Toyota gets:

  • Some good PR back from the NUMMI closure
  • A cheap investment on all-electric technology, which is not currently in its portfolio (Toyota has bet largely on hybrid powertrains).
  • A use for the original plant that is compatible without having to pay for cleanup

Tesla gets:

  • Toyota’s legitimacy in the industry
  • An already built facility only minutes from the headquarters
  • Access to a good, capable workforce trained the right way
  • Tax breaks from the state on equipment
  • Rail access, which is important for suppliers

Of course, you’re wondering how this could affect the A’s. According to Argus scribe Matt Artz, it wouldn’t affect a ballpark project much at all. Straight from CEO/Iron-Man 2 cameo Elon Musk’s mouth:

“Tesla doesn’t have any objection as long as it doesn’t impact production of vehicles, which I don’t think a ballpark would.”

Imagine that! A ballpark and a plant may be compatible after all. Wonders never cease. As stated previously, Tesla’s space requirements are far less than what’s available at NUMMI (20k cars/yr vs. 400k cars/yr under NUMMI), it wouldn’t be surprising to see some of the unused plant facility reused as warehousing for suppliers. Tesla also operates on a build-to-order model, so you won’t expect to see large numbers of cars on the massive prep lot. It’s likely that plenty of space on the north end will be available for development, whether that’s offices, retail, or a ballpark – any or all of which could work together with the plant.

Could anyone see this coming? Probably not. It seemed that Tesla was set on a factory in Downey, but this all came together extremely quickly. Whether or not anyone at Fremont City Hall can legitimately claim credit for this, the quick change happened on its watch. A green, progressive business that has the cachet that most cities would kill for? That kind of political currency heading into the next election is, well, priceless.

In my estimation, this news does nothing but make a Fremont ballpark a much more tangible option. Whether or not Wolff/Fisher have made the same conclusion is anyone’s guess.

8 thoughts on “Three’s Not A Crowd: Tesla + Toyota + A’s

  1. looks like a lifesaver for Fremont.

  2. Not necessarily for a ballpark, but economy wise.

  3. I am very excited about this for Fremont and NUMMI. Couldn’t happen to a better plant. The situation sounds very similar to what happened when the GM plant closed down (agreement with an up-and- coming company after the plant doors had closed). Also, in the linked article, the Tesla CEO all but rules out housing on the vacant land. So that’s just one less thing to debate at city hall. The only question now is what to develop. I wonder if Tesla will remain agnostic toward a ballpark or become more active proponants of it. With the buzz this news has created, I agree that this might make Fremont more likely. Still, IMHO San Jose and Oakland are better options (in that order).

  4. Maybe Tesla can be the A’s official bullpen vehicle.

  5. Personally, a ballpark next to what is a pretty darn ugle manufacturing facilitity. Makes for a picturesque goodyear blimp picture—to me this is the Coli south now—all for Tesla and NUMMI hooking up but if I am the A’s the last thing I want to do is invest $500M of my own money to build a ballpark next to an industrial manufacturing facility–doesn’t matter if the cars are green–the materials to make them are not–

  6. Fremont leaders have no vision, they can only see a stadium that benefits only a selected few and will knock dead anything and everything between them and their stadium. Does anyone really believe that Wolff will be fooled again? If so, he is no Wolff. IMHO, San Jose, the big downtown is the best place for A’s to thrive, they need a break and Fremont needs real jobs for ordinary people, not just jobs and promotions only for the ones inside the ‘inner circle’ – rumor has it that some adamant advocate of a A’s stadium in Fremont once told others that she’d be given the VP title by the MLB if the stadium to Fremont comes true, does she care about anything else? Hell no! What a SHAME!

  7. Fremont wants the A’s for the same reason San Jose wants them-to put the city on the map and crawl out from under the auspices of San Francisco and Oakland. The problem for Fremont is that even if they got the A’s, they’d be named San Jose, thus negating much of the benefit.

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