Ok so it’s not the world’s biggest building just yet, but when finished, the Tesla Gigafactory will be the biggest building by footprint on the planet.
In order to ramp up its production of one of the planets trendiest cars, Elon Musk and his business partners have invested extensively into the Gigafactory which will create millions of lithium-ion batteries to fulfill the needs of Tesla’s the world over. Located at the aptly named Electric Avenue in Sparks, Nevada, the Gigafactory is a dominating presence on the landscape. I did some research and found some interesting facts about the mega-construction.
It’s a mega construction.
It’s already massive, but it gets bigger daily. It currently stretches over 126 acres of land and could easily house 100 Boeing 747’s. This is only 60% of the planned total floorspace and when finished, it could even exceed a total of 10 million square feet.
“The Gigafactory, when it’s complete, will have the biggest footprint of any building in the world. Counting multiple levels it could be as much as 15 million square feet.”
The factory will fulfill all of its own energy needs.
The roof, which has some considerable space, will be lined with solar panels probably created by another company Musk is trying to merge with; Solar City. On top of the solar energy created, the Gigafactory will also utilize geothermal and wind power to generate all of the energy needed within the complex. I imagine it will also create a surplus and put energy back into the grid.
100 Gigafactories could power the world.
But, given the cost of making these factories, Tesla isn’t going to build all of them.
“Tesla can’t build 100 Gigafactories, so the thing that is really going to make the difference is if companies much larger than Tesla do the same thing. If the big industrial companies in China, the US, and Europe, and the big car companies, if they also do this then collectively we can accelerate the transition to sustainable energy. And if government sets the rules to favor sustainable energy, we can get there really quickly.”
The production aim is a million Tesla’s per year.
Elon Musk has never been one to do things by halves, and his manufacturing aims are testimony to that. Once the Gigafactory starts churning out batteries, Tesla will rapidly ramp up its production and move from 100,000 vehicles per year to a million. The company will create more Lithium-ion batteries than anyone else in the world.
It will make Tesla’s affordable.
Anyone who has driven in a Tesla will testify that the experience is incredible. Unfortunately, due to cost and demand, the market isn’t accessible to everyone. Fortunately, when the Model 3 arrives next year at 35,000 US dollars, many more people will have access to a Tesla and this would not be possible without the batteries made at the Gigafactory. Tesla will also be able to reduce costs further as the battery costs are reduced at the factory.
The Gigafactory will complete the whole process.
Economy of scale is the number one priority. Musk wants to create the entire process, from start to finish and transport raw materials into the factory, before transporting completed battery packs out.
“What we are doing at the Gigafactory is consolidating the production of the pack all the way from the raw materials. So there’s literally cars coming in from the mines, like rail cars of raw materials from the mines, and then out come completely finished battery packs and this has actually never been done before, for batteries at least.”
It will cost a pretty penny.
Panasonic is a huge partner in the project and will invest a large chunk of the money needed for such a venture. They will stump up around $1.6 billion and Tesla will pay around $2 billion themselves. Other partners will contribute to the endeavor, which is estimated to cost around $5 billion in total.
Production will be super-fast.
Musk wants Tesla to be the best and expects the Gigafactory will outperform any other manufacturer in the world.
“Our engineering team has worked very closely with Panasonic to make dramatic improvements to the cell manufacturing efficiency. I think we’re probably approaching 3x the efficiency of the best plant in the world. I think that’s pretty good. Cells will be going through that thing like bullets from a machine gun. In fact, the exit rate of cells will be faster than bullets from a machine gun.”
The Gigafactory will create 6000 jobs.
350 people are currently working at the location, but this should increase dramatically to 6000 once production moves into full swing. Robotics will do much of the manual work, but job creation is also important to Tesla. It is already hiring on its website.
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