Already its cars are shaping the top end of EVs, once completed Tesla will be in a position to wean off the majority from the gas guzzling products of its competitors.
Tesla’s Gigafactory is clearly going to play a key role in the company’s current and future endeavours. When completed the factory will occupy 107 football fields making it the largest battery manufacturing plant in the world.
So as to manufacture this three storied gigantic complex wherein Tesla aims to produce 400,000 of its pre-ordered Model 3s by the end of 2018, Tesla is building the complex in phases. As you might imagine, it is not so much a single building, rather it is a series of connected structures which make the building.
While Section A is busy producing battery packs for PowerWalls, Sections B and C are being primed for production and have currently equipment for manufacturing battery cells. As for Section D, it has currently just its floors and one exterior wall – so yea its mostly rebar and steel girders. Section E is in the making and presently it just has a skeleton structure of steel.
This approach which has broken up the factory floor into sections is Musk’s signature design. By breaking up the factory into manageable sectors, Musk’s dream of harmoniously synthesising the manufacturing of battery packs, solar panels and luxury vehicles is gradually becoming a reality.
According to Musk, it’s all about optimisation. This joint-venture between Panasonic and Tesla plan to produce three times as many batteries as the original master plan provides for.
Although this grand purposeful plan looks and sounds amazing, it needs to move steadily and quickly so that Tesla can start building and deliver the 400,000 pre-ordered Model 3s.
“We need to get roughly a third the size of the original building to support half a million cars a year,” said Musk. The pre-orders have acted as a pressure for Tesla and forced it to ramp up the Gigafactory’s plans by two years. Tesla believes it can meet the production schedule for its entry level Teslas by the end of 2018.
According to Musk, the Gigafactory is not just a factory that produces batteries. In fact, “the factory itself is considered to be a product. It’s the machine that builds the machine and actually deserves more attention from creative problem-solving engineers than the part that it makes.”
Tesla is also set to gradually introduce the majority of its research into improving the Gigafactory’s workflow. According to Musk, once that is done, that efficiency will ensure that the price of batteries per kilowatt hour is down by at least 30% by 2020.
When the Gigafactory is completed, it will be able to produce more than enough battery packs for 1.5 million cars a year. So that you get a perspective, in 2015, Tesla sold 50,580 electric vehicles, so the Gigafactory provides plenty of room for it to grow. If demand really takes off, Musk plans on building additional Gigafactories that will build the automobiles too.
Panasonic which collaborated with Tesla, during the Gigafactory’s planning stage itself hasn’t looked back since. Although currently only 20% of the Gigafactory is complete, once the whole factory is built the effort of weaning off people from fossil fuel is going to be much easier.
Although other car manufacturers are also in the fray to launch their own EVs, “Speed is the ultimate defense,” says Musk. Not only does he plan on being the first, but also he plans on being the fastest.
With the rest of the world’s automakers playing catch up, Tesla sure seems to be on everyone’s radars.