Tesla lithium-ion cell Gigafactory – currently under construction just outside Reno, Nevada – would be the largest building the world. Its original size is now doubled and about to expand – Tesla Motors bought additional 1,200 acres and looking to buy even more.
8/12/15 5:00 am chumakdenis 1
You should probably familiar with the fact that Tesla Motors is building a gargantuan factory somewhere in a desert (Reno, Nevada to be more exact).
Well, it is no brainer that this factory will be huge after it is finished, but could it be the biggest in the world?
As it turns out, it could be.
According to recent reports, Tesla has purchased additional adjacent land that could dramatically expand the battery plant's footprint.
The company recently purchased 1,200 acres next to the current Gigafactory site and is looking to buy 350 more.
Tesla originally planned for a 10 million-square-foot modular factory with the first phase, the pilot plant, representing about a quarter of the total building.
The germ of that report is a presentation given by Dean Haymore of the Storey County Commission at the Tahoe Reno Industrial Center (see 30-minute video below).
Storey County includes Reno, home of the Gigafactory.
Haymore said the Gigafactory was originally supposed to consist of four modular blocks, but that Tesla is now planning to build seven.
He also said that the enlargement will bring the Gigafactory's total size up to 24 million square feet.
If that turns out to be true, the Gigafactory could become the world's largest building in terms of footprint.
Tesla planned for a total battery cell output of 35 GWh and battery pack output of 50 GWh or enough for 500,000 vehicles.
Just try to imagine even bigger numbers.
Response from Tesla
Tesla Motors hasn't confirmed any of this, although CEO Elon Musk did mention the possibility of Gigafactory expansion during the company's last quarterly earnings call.
Part of that call was devoted to what Musk termed incredible demand for the company's recently-announced home and commercial energy storage products, including the PowerWall intended for the home.
Musk suggested that deposits taken to date had already accounted for the first year's anticipated production, meaning that a much larger proportion of the lithium-ion cell fabrication at the Gigafactory could go toward energy storage than originally planned.
It's unclear whether any expansion would affect Tesla's previously-discussed plans to begin cell production in time to coincide with the launch of the Model 3 electric car.
Tesla is relying on the economies of scale afforded by such a larger factory to produce cells cheap enough to sell the 200-mile Model 3 at around $35,000, before incentives.
Workers from Panasonic – a Tesla shareholder and collaborator in the Gigafactory – project are expected to begin arriving in Nevada this fall to begin preparations for the installation of equipment.
It's expected that Tesla will also continue to buy cells from Panasonic's factories in Japan, although perhaps the expansion of the Gigafactory will change that.
Anyway, good luck with that one.
The more affordable electric vehicles, the better it is.