The former General Motors/Toyota joint venture factory in Fremont, California, once known as NUMMI (New United Motor Manufacturing Inc) and closed in April, is to build cars again. Tesla Motors has purchased the factory to build the Model S sedan and future vehicles. The EV maker also announced cooperation with Toyota on the development of electric vehicles, parts, and production system and engineering support.

“[NUMMI] is one of the largest, most advanced and cleanest automotive production plants in the world,” Tesla said in a statement. “It is capable of producing half a million vehicles per year or approximately 1% of total worldwide car production. The award-winning plant was the birthplace of the vaunted Toyota Production System, a widely copied system that lead to dramatic quality improvements and unprecedented manufacturing flexibility and worker satisfaction.”

The Model S, expected to be the first pure electric premium sedan and designed from the ground up to take full advantage of electric vehicle architecture, was unveiled in March 2009 and has an anticipated base price of US$49,900, including a federal tax credit. With an optional extended-range battery pack, the EV will travel over 300 miles per charge.

The Fremont factory is near Northern California’s Silicon Valley and close to Tesla’s Palo Alto headquarters.

“The location means Tesla can hire best-in-class engineers in Silicon Valley. The short distance also ensures a tight feedback loop between engineering, manufacturing and other divisions within the company,” Tesla said.

“The Tesla factory effectively leverages an ideal combination of hardcore Silicon Valley engineering talent, traditional automotive engineering talent and the proven Toyota production system,” said Tesla CEO Elon Musk. “The new Tesla factory will give us plenty of room to grow.”

Toyota produced its last car there just last month. Tesla began discussions to acquire the site in the spring when it was also evaluating opportunities in Downey and Long Beach. The turnkey nature of the facility with its recent production of top quality vehicles and its considerable room for expansion made it stand out from other sites.