Elon Musk has taken a massive financial risk in building Tesla’s Gigafactory outside Sparks city, located just outside the Nevada city of Reno. It is symbolic of the grand scale of Musk’s ambitions. It is literally a gigantic risk. The completed factory will produce adequate number of batteries to make 150 gigawatt hours of the batteries per year. This is adequate for about 1.5 million Model 3s. The Tesla car company anticipates to build 35GWh of the batteries every year within 2018. This number is equivalent to about 500,000 Model 3s.
The Gigfactory building is aligned from the north to the south. Its massive size is equal to cover 107 NFL level football fields and will have about four factory floors. The workspaces will be layered on each other. If one goes by Tesla literature, the building signifies more than just a battery factory. The Gigafactory is critical to Tesla’s future and it embodies Musk’s quest to protect the world from the climate change effects. If there is no Gigafactory, the Model 3 will not exist due to the absence of batteries.
According to Musk, the factory itself is a product. It is a kind of machine which constructs another machine and if Musk is to be believed, the place needs more attention from engineers adept in problem solving compared to the products it will make. The Tesla founder says that the application of engineering efforts for redefining production process is a much better use of productive hours compared to wringing every last spark of useful electron from the cars. He is of the opinion that the task of improving the factory line is about 10 times productive compared to the same effort which is put on the product that is really being built.
The announcement of the Gigafactory was met with astonishment in the battery industry. Panasonic has invested large sums of money to construct the battery production lines inside Gigafactory. The arrangement is like a tenant and landlord situation with Panasonic being the owner of the production lines and delivering the battery cells directly to the Tesla production line.
If one goes by Musk’s words, the Gigafactory is vital to electric car production. It can be described as the electric vehicle’s version of Dell’s ground breaking Just-In-Time Personal Computer factory. Supplier production and the final assembly are placed under a single roof. This will not only save on transportation cots, but will also permit reduced inventory.