So what is the Tesla Gigafactory besides clearly being a factory?
As its name implies, Gigafactory is an insanely big factory (actually is going to become a lot bigger), and it will produce batteries for the electric vehicles of Tesla Motors. That is not surprising considering the massive volume of around 500 000 vehicles per year that Tesla wants to produce towards end of the decade. This ambition is steered by Tesla’s mission to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy and to achieve that goal, Tesla wants to produce electric vehicles in sufficient volume to force change in the automobile industry. This apparently was not feasible to do using existing battery manufacturers so the true entrepreneur he is, Elon Musk decided to build his own factory. In his own words Elon said: “It has to be big, because the world is big”.
And while the plan was announced in 2014, last month the first part of the factory had its grand opening! The event emerged quickly in the press but then somehow got lost in all that sports events and probably holidays rolling out. For those of you who want to enjoy the video of the grand opening, here you go. Below I have put some interesting facts announced during the event.
- The Gigafactory will be powered by renewable energy sources, with the goal of achieving net zero energy.
- The factory current size is just 14% of its planned size. This article gives a good idea of construction progress with new sites starting already.
- When complete, 93 Boeing 747 jets would fit inside, or in other terms 50 billion hamsters. 🙂
- Design improvements allowed to increase initial battery production capacity per year from 50 GWh to 150 GWh.
- When the factory is complete it will produce a higher amount of lithium-ion batteries than the world produced in 2014. And Tesla wants to build several of these factories.
- In order to fit the maximum machinery in the factory and increase production speed, the engineering teams had to reinvent the battery production process.
- The result: the factory strongly resembles a modular integrated circuit and claims a 5-10x increase in production capability. In Elon’s words: “… revitalising manufacturing”.