MADE IN NEVADA: Tesla
Elon Musk broke ground on
Gigafactory 1 about 13 miles east of Sparks in June 2014.
His competitors said he was crazy, but now they're following his lead. Ten gigafactories are under construction across the world and Musk says he may add four more.
Thousands of workers report to 1 Electric Avenue off USA Parkway to make battery packs and drive units for Tesla cars.
They make battery packs and drive units (the motors) for Tesla cars, but primarily for the Model 3. The performance Model 3 can accelerate from 0 to 60 in 3.2 seconds, hit a top speed of 162 miles per hour, and it earns a 5 star safety rating.
The only way to produce an all-electric car of this sophistication and style for a world-wide market is inside a huge building once considered by some to be impossible, but it's now a reality.
The foot print is 1.9 million square feet. Add together the total space of the three floors inside and the square footage jumps to 5.4 million. To put this into perspective it would take the average person two hours to walk through the entire factory.
It's only 30 percent constructed today. "When complete I think it's about four of five times the size of the Pentagon," said Elon Musk during his unveiling of the Model Y. It would be the largest building on planet earth if nothing surpasses the plan in place now.
Gigafactory 1 off USA Parkway in Nevada provides 7,000 full time jobs to the local workforce to date, but the total workforce impact is 10,000 if you take into account Panasonic and other suppliers and contractors who are not all full time workers, according to a Tesla spokesperson.
Vice President of Operations at Tesla, Chris Lister, is in change of managing them. He also manages the work at Gigafactory 2 in Buffalo, New York.
The original investment to build and equip the Gigafactory was $3.5 billion.
"To date we've already invested $6 billion at Gigafactory including our capital investment," said Workforce Development & Education Programs, Chris Reilly.
It only takes seconds to see how this car manufacturing plant is completely different from any other in the world today. First, battery maker Panasonic takes up roughly half of the space inside.
Driverless machines called Automated Guided Vehicles or AGV's are moving all over the Gigafactory.
"These go back and forth all day long. Moving cells back and forth. Along the walks of the factory are reflectors. Sensors are used to triangulate the positions on the AGV's," Lister said.
One AGU is taking battery cells produced by Panasonic to a fast-moving conveyor belt on the Tesla side of the plant where the cells are tested to make sure they can measure up to the high standards set by Musk and his team.
Tesla is building roughly 50 Model 3 Tesla cars an hour, which is 1,000 a day. Each car needs 4,000 battery cells to operate so on any given day about 4 million battery cells will pass on the conveyor belts in the northern Nevada plant.
One-by-one the battery cells are assembled into battery packs to be installed in Model 3 cars. They will be shipped to Tesla's facility in Fremont, California for final assembly.
Gigafactory 1 is running 24-7 365 to keep up with the demand. Roughly 10,000 total people work there. That number is only expected to grow.