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Tesla In Search of Workers for Leased Ex-Chrysler Facility

April 25, 2014

As part of its efforts to expand operations, Tesla Motors Inc. has leased an idled parts-distribution facility in Lathrop, California and is now looking for engineers and technicians who will work in the plant.

According to Lathrop City Manager Steve Salvatore, the luxury electric car manufacturer has been granted building permits for the 40,000-square-meter industrial facility in the city and that these permits were for “manufacturing modifications.” Salvatore said that renovations are underway, with manufacturing equipment already being put in place.

The facility Tesla is currently improving used to be a property of Daimler-Chrysler. The plant, situated at Harlan Road and facing Interstate 5, served as a Mopar parts-distribution center. Components for Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram and even Mercedes Benz vehicles were sent from the Lathrop plant to dealerships, part distributors and warehouses in the West Coast.

Chrysler’s Mopar distribution center opened in 2001 and planned to employ 225 people. When the merger between Chrysler and Mercedes Benz fell through, the plant proved too big. Much of the space were left unused. Chrysler eventually integrated its small parts distribution and shut down the facility in 2009. The plant has been vacant since then.

The move to further expand in California has yet to be confirmed by Tesla. However, the carmaker did say that it will continue to create jobs in the Golden State.

“In the last two months, we have signed leases for more than 625,000 square feet of Californian real estate, independent of sales and service centers,” Tesla said in a statement. “These recent investments reinforce our commitment to California and will help us continue to bring compelling electric vehicles to market at affordable prices.”

The company’s website also featured job openings at the northern California facility, which is about an hour’s drive away from the Fremont plant that manufactures the Model S sedans.

Manteca Bulletin, the first one to break the news, pointed out that the Elon-Musk led company has in the past succeeded in taking over an existing facility and putting it into great use. The aforementioned Fremont plant was previously the New United Motors facility. While the Lathrop site is too small to be the location of its Gigafactory, Tesla is expected to turn it around and transform it into a valuable addition to the company’s infrastructure.

In other news, Tesla has opened its 100th Supercharger station. The latest addition to the Supercharger network, which is located in Hamilton, is the very first Supercharger in New Jersey. Tesla currently has 86 Supercharger stations in North America and 14 in Europe. The company recently energized the first Superchargers in China, a market the brand just entered.

100 marks a milestone, but Tesla is just getting started. “By the end of next year, we’ll have 98 percent of the U.S. population covered,” the carmaker said in a statement.

The Palo Alto-based automaker intends to expand its Supercharger network to enable drivers to “never be more than 100 miles from a Supercharger.” The company takes pride in enabling drivers to travel long distances without having to pay for gas or even electricity. At a Supercharger station, Tesla owners can power their vehicles for free.

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