https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bNC5DDt5prI

Having previously introduced the new Model 3 in 2016, Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk also unveiled the Gigafactory designed specifically for the production of Lithium-ion batteries for the electric vehicle. The factory will be located in Nevada and will be the biggest in the entire world, enabling the company to achieve its goal of production scale and fulfil its famous mission to accelerate the transition to sustainable energy.

Building the giant factory will provide opportunities to build enough battery packs that could change the world.

It has to be big, cause the world is big.

Massive scale and Affordability

Already surpassing its initially planned production output by a factor of 3, Tesla’s new factory will tackle the requirements for massive production scale of the Model 3 and storage that will be affordable to people.

Tesla will be iterating and design multiple versions in the huge factory, eventually reaching a third generation of technology and the desired level of economies of scale.

Physics framework

Tesla has hired the best engineers to build the Gigafactory, resembling a giant machine that needs more innovation and technology than the product itself, in order to fit more density and equipment, as well as minimise waste space.

Analogous to the production process of a car, the factory will be built from the ground up, through intense engineering efforts which will try to reinvent the manufacturing process.

Moreover, Tesla’s engineers will use physics as the core analytical framework for the factory, structuring the construction in a three step process:

  • Imagine the Factory as a Machine
  • Design the Machine from First Principles of Physics
  • Optimise Speed and Density

When constructed, the Gigafactory will be designed as a very high density multi-layer integrated circuit, similar to an advanced CPU. It will also be super optimised for reaching speed intensity.

Revitalising manufacturing

In addition to being the biggest factory, with the highest density and speed intensity, Tesla’s giant factory will also be able to host vertically integrated production processes. Namely, the simplified 3-step production allowing to expand scope will begin with “raw material input” placed into a process where a “bunch of stuff happens”, before the delivery of the “finished goods”. The Gigafactory will use cutting edge technology to reach manufacturing efficiency.

The factory will also be the biggest building in the world, stretching on a surface of 6 million m². To put it in perspective, Musk jokingly stated that it could be able to fit 93 Boeing 747 Jets and 50 billion hamsters.

In terms of production, its predicted capacity will amount to 50 GWh batteries sufficing for 500,000 cars in 2018, while full capacity will settle at 150 GWh batteries for 1,500,000 cars.

According to estimates from 2014, the total global output of Lithium-ion batteries was equivalent to 30 GWh, implying that once the Gigafactory is built, it will produce more than the world combined.

Master Plan: Part Deux

Musk used the occasion to also present the second part of the Master Plan going forward, focusing on four key areas:

  • Beautiful Solar and Storage
  • Expand to Major Vehicle Segments
  • Self-driving 10X Safer than Human
  • Your Car Makes Money for You

Concluding the presentation, Tesla thanked their fans and clients, and reassured them about the sufficient demand for electric vehicles and storage leading to the construction of the Gigafactory.

Snezana Sokolovska

Snezana has extensive international background and business media experience. She is covering e-mobility, autonomous vehicles and smart technology at Electric Think.

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