Recently, Tesla opened its sixth factory, Giga Texas, which is also its new global headquarters. This speaks volumes for a company that was started with the goal of creating electric vehicles. Tesla has grown enormously since its humble beginnings in 2003, and reaching six factories indicates the beginning of a new phase, one of tremendous growth on a scale that I think we have not yet seen from any company.
During Tesla’s grand opening of Giga Texas, you might have missed the information presented in the pre-show. While I was there, I didn’t notice the words on the screen — instead, I was enjoying the music and talking with Twitter friends. Thankfully, we have the replay, which you can watch here. In the pre-show, Tesla pointed out that its products are responsibly sourced. It also gave us a brief rundown of its six factories. Before we dive into the company’s factory landscape, I want to quickly explore another statistic Tesla provided that you might have missed.
8.0 Million Metric Tons Of CO2e Avoided
Tesla stated during the event that Tesla owners avoided 8.0 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent last year. To put that into perspective, we can use the Environmental Protection Agency’s conversion table, which shows that this is equal to 19,857,644,484 miles driven by an average gasoline-powered passenger vehicle, or 1,723,754 gasoline-powered passenger vehicles driven for one year just from greenhouse gas emissions alone (based on average miles driven per year).
Tesla’s 6 Factories Worldwide
One thing Tesla has gotten really, really good at is building some of the world’s most efficient factories. Although CEO Elon Musk has said before that the factory is the product, one can look at the factory also as a foundation for Tesla’s next phase of growth. Your home is as good as its foundation. If it’s not stable, then neither is your home.
Tesla’s factories, the company said during the pre-show, reduce energy usage and water waste while making it possible for the company to make its own batteries, recycle them at the end of their lifespans, localize production, and make preparations for using the Tesla Semi, which will help Tesla further reduce its environmental impact.
Tesla opened the Fremont factory in 2010, just seven years after the company was founded, and here is where Tesla starting building its Model S, 3, X, and Y vehicles — although, not in that order. Tesla noted that its factory in Fremont is the area’s largest employer and provides over 17,000 jobs.
Tesla opened Gigafactory Nevada in 2016, and it’s now a high-volume plant for electric motors, batteries, and powertrains. Tesla added that the factory is committed to robotics and sustainability initiatives in local schools.
Gigafactory New York
Located in Buffalo, NY, this gigafactory was opened in 2017. Here, Tesla manufactures its signature Solar Roof tiles, solar panels, and Superchargers. In 2020, Tesla donated a Solar Roof to power the local Buffalo Heritage Carousel that was worth around $150,000. According to the president of the Buffalo Heritage Carousel, Tesla’s solar technology is powering the rare and historic carousel and has turned it into a new family recreational and educational attraction. You can read more about that here.
Once described as a field of mud and nonexistent by talking heads posing as reporters, this gigafactory proved many negative predictions about Tesla wrong. Not even the Covid-19 pandemic was able to put a dent in Tesla’s success.
Giga Shanghai produces made-in-China Model 3 and Model Y vehicles and is Tesla’s first international gigafactory. It should also be noted that it was opened during the time former President Trump started a trade war with China. This is especially notable since Giga Shanghai is the first foreign-owned factory in China.
Giga Berlin was opened very recently, just this year. There were a lot of challenges thanks to so-called environmental groups that didn’t want Tesla in the area. Although the nearby coal plant consumes more water than Tesla will ever need to, the issue the environmentalists had with Tesla was over its water consumption.mHowever, Tesla prevailed and Giga Berlin is now producing made-in-Germany Model Ys and batteries. Elon Musk described this gigafactory as the gemstone of the area, of Germany, and of the world. Giga Berlin is also the largest apprenticeship employer in Brandenburg.
Giga Texas is Tesla’s sixth factory and is located in the state capital, Austin. Everything is bigger in Texas, and this is true for the factory that will manufacture Tesla’s Model Y, Cybertruck, and Semi vehicles — the factory is huge and will be even bigger as it gets built out.
This is also Tesla’s new global headquarters. This factory has 10 million square feet of floor space and spans 2,500 acres along the Colorado River. Tesla noted that its equal parts form and function, and that the western windows are made from 32-foot tall glass, which is perfect for viewing the sunset. The photo below was taken just before sunset during Tesla’s Cyber Rodeo event.
The glass is designed to allow in the natural light throughout the day and gives beautiful views of downtown Austin. Tesla also noted that over 70,000 solar panels will provide the factory with power. As for water, Tesla’s paint booth dry filter technology is expected to save 2.7 million gallons of water annually.
Tesla is producing its first structural battery pack with 4680 cells at Giga Texas, and Tesla added that the position and weight of the battery pack in its vehicles can help to reduce rollover risk.
Tesla’s six factories are not only helping Tesla itself to grow exponentially, but these factories are reshaping the future and putting down the foundation for the transition to sustainability. Recall that Tesla’s core mission is to accelerate that transition.
Cars, batteries, giant factories, and Elon Musk aside, the work that Tesla and its employees are doing globally is critical for our world. Clean energy advocates, in my opinion, have a very good reason to celebrate here.
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