MADE IN NEVADA: Tesla (part 2)

By  | 

STOREY COUNTY, Nev. (KOLO) - Gigafactory 1 sits roughly 13 miles east of Sparks and provides 5.4 million square feet of working space even though it's only about 30 percent complete at this time.

Tesla Model 3

Self driving vehicles carry batteries from the Panasonic area of the building to the Tesla side of the plant where they are tested and fitted into battery packs for shipment and final assembly in Fremont, California.

The Tesla manufacturing plant is the site where more lithium ion batteries are made than the rest of the world combined, said Elon Musk during his Model Y unveiling presentation.

"The original vision was to focus on cell production and energy storage products and then that continued to expand," said workforce development and education lead, Chris Reilly.  

The Nevada workers make all of Tesla's electric Model 3 drive units (otherwise known as motors) in the north side of the warehouse.
.
"We're in the final assembly of the drive unit area so we actually make all of the drive units for Model 3 and now we're making Model S and Model X units as well...it's what gives the Tesla its signature speed, acceleration, power, and torque." said Vice President of Operations, Chris Lister.

The drive unit manufacturing line is 90 percent automated. "This is really the definition of the machine building the machine where you have robots coming and picking up material flow. You have control engineers and programming engineers on the line making sure that things are working as planned," Lister said.  
     
These drive units are also shipped to Fremont, California where they are used in the final car assembly. For now, there is no long term slow down in sight.

"Gigafactory will continue to grow and expand. It creates new opportunities for us to think about what we can do here in the future," said Reilly.
 
Despite production delays in the past Tesla's managers say things are picking up. From April to June of 2019 Model 3 deliveries reached an all-time record high of 77,634. As of June this year Tesla had $4.95 billion in cash and cash equivalents. Managers say they believe the business has grown to the point of being self-funding.
   
Elon says when finished Gigafactory 1 could have the largest footprint in the world, which could be four to five times the size of the Pentagon.     
Copyright KOLO-TV 2019