Batteries

Published on January 4th, 2017 | by Zachary Shahan

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Tesla Gigafactory Now Pumping Out Battery Cells

January 4th, 2017 by  

Moments ago, Tesla emailed that battery cell production has begun at the Gigafactory — mass production.

The press release (which is posted in full at the bottom of this article) is clear and concise enough, but here are 7 key highlights:

  • Mass production has commenced for battery cells that will be used in the Tesla Powerwall 2, and the Tesla Powerpack 2.
  • Production of battery cells to be used in the Model 3 in Q2.
  • By 2018, Tesla aims to reach annual production of “35 GWh/year of lithium-ion battery cells, nearly as much as the rest of the entire world’s battery production combined.”
  • The Gigafactory is not yet 30% completed, but it already has “a footprint of 1.9 million square feet” and “houses 4.9 million square feet of operational space across several floors.”
  • The Gigafactory will be the largest building in the world when completed.
  • “With the Gigafactory online and ramping up production, our cost of battery cells will significantly decline due to increasing automation and process design to enhance yield, lowered capital investment per Wh of production, the simple optimization of locating most manufacturing processes under one roof, and economies of scale.”
  • In 2017, “the Gigafactory will directly employ 6,500 people and indirectly create between 20,000 to 30,000 additional jobs in the surrounding regions.”

Additionally, here are a few more highlights about Gigafactory 1 that were released when it opened:

  • By the end of 2018, the Gigafactory is supposed to be producing batteries quickly enough to supply 500,000 Tesla electric cars per year.
  • The eventual target for the size of Gigafactory 1 = 10 million square feet of floor space.
  • When the Gigafactory is finally fully done, it is supposed to be producing batteries quickly enough to supply 1.5 million Tesla electric cars per year.

That’s all amazing, but as I wrote in July, none of that is really the big deal. This is the big deal.

For more details and Tesla quotes, here’s the Tesla announcement.


Battery Cell Production Begins at the Gigafactory

Tesla’s mission is to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy through increasingly affordable electric vehicles in addition to renewable energy generation and storage. At the heart of these products are batteries. Today at the Gigafactory, Tesla and Panasonic begin mass production of lithium-ion battery cells, which will be used in Tesla’s energy storage products and Model 3.

The high performance cylindrical “2170 cell” was jointly designed and engineered by Tesla and Panasonic to offer the best performance at the lowest production cost in an optimal form factor for both electric vehicles and energy products.

Production of 2170 cells for qualification started in December and today, production begins on cells that will be used in Tesla’s Powerwall 2 and Powerpack 2 energy products. Model 3 cell production will follow in Q2 and by 2018, the Gigafactory will produce 35 GWh/year of lithium-ion battery cells, nearly as much as the rest of the entire world’s battery production combined.

The Gigafactory is being built in phases so that Tesla, Panasonic, and other partners can begin manufacturing immediately inside the finished sections and continue to expand thereafter. Our phased approach also allows us to learn and continuously improve our construction and operational techniques as we continue to drive down the cost of energy storage. Already, the current structure has a footprint of 1.9 million square feet, which houses 4.9 million square feet of operational space across several floors. And we are still less than 30 percent done. Once complete, we expect the Gigafactory to be the biggest building in the world.

With the Gigafactory online and ramping up production, our cost of battery cells will significantly decline due to increasing automation and process design to enhance yield, lowered capital investment per Wh of production, the simple optimization of locating most manufacturing processes under one roof, and economies of scale. By bringing down the cost of batteries, we can make our products available to more and more people, allowing us to make the biggest possible impact on transitioning the world to sustainable energy.

Finally, bringing cell production to the U.S. allows us to create thousands of American jobs. In 2017 alone, Tesla and Panasonic will hire several thousand local employees and at peak production, the Gigafactory will directly employ 6,500 people and indirectly create between 20,000 to 30,000 additional jobs in the surrounding regions.


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About the Author

is tryin' to help society help itself (and other species) with the power of the typed word. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director and chief editor, but he's also the president of Important Media and the director/founder of EV Obsession, Solar Love, and Bikocity. Zach is recognized globally as a solar energy, electric car, and energy storage expert. Zach has long-term investments in TSLA, FSLR, SPWR, SEDG, & ABB — after years of covering solar and EVs, he simply has a lot of faith in these particular companies and feels like they are good cleantech companies to invest in.



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