Tesla’s mission is to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy through increasingly affordable electric vehicles and energy products. To achieve its planned production rate of 500,000 cars per year by 2018, Tesla alone will require today’s entire worldwide supply of lithium-ion batteries. The Tesla Gigafactory was born out of necessity and will supply enough batteries to support Tesla’s projected vehicle demand.
Tesla broke ground on the Gigafactory in June 2014 outside Sparks, Nevada. The name Gigafactory comes from the word “Giga,” the unit of measurement representing “billions.” The factory’s planned annual battery production capacity is 35 gigawatt-hours (GWh), with one GWh being the equivalent of generating (or consuming) 1 billion watts for one hour. This is nearly as much as the entire world’s current battery production combined.
The Gigafactory is being built in phases so that Tesla can begin manufacturing immediately inside the finished sections and continue to expand thereafter. Already, the current structure has a footprint of more than 1.9 million square feet, which houses more than 4.9 million square feet of operational space across several floors. Still, the Gigafactory is less than 30 percent done. Once complete, Tesla expects the Gigafactory to be the biggest building in the world – and entirely powered by renewable energy sources, with the goal of achieving net zero energy.
With the Gigafactory ramping up production, Tesla’s cost of battery cells will significantly decline through economies of scale, innovative manufacturing, reduction of waste, and the simple optimization of locating most manufacturing processes under one roof. By reducing the cost of batteries, Tesla can make products available to more and more people, allowing us to make the biggest possible impact on transitioning the world to sustainable energy.