Tesla this week launched the Gigafactory with a press event on Wednesday, and then a party for invited guests and lottery winners on Friday evening. I was interested in attending in person but did not win the lottery. Those who were privileged enough to attend Friday’s event got a tour of the factory and then a 20 minute presentation with a very short Q&A.
The 5.8 million square feet Gigafactory will be the largest building in the world by footprint, the Boeing plant in Seattle is bigger by volume. The Gigafactory is currently only 14% complete with 1,000 people working on site. The To get an idea of the size gigafactory you can watch this short video by Wired.
The factory is currently producing packs for PowerWalls and Powerpacks. A report from the tour indicated that the current lines for these products was not particularly large. I have heard only a few actual customers who have received a Powerwall for their home.
Tesla did a (very poor quality) livestream of the short presentation. Ironically while Elon and JB were drinking from plastic water bottles, they discussed the subject of recycling. I’m not sure why they can’t use their own reusable water bottles that they sell in their store.
Lithium is a very abundant material on earth and there is plenty of it to convert every car in the world to electric. All battery recycling will be done at the Gigafactory, and the materials can be pulled out of old batteries and placed in new ones, which will greatly save on the cost of new batteries as the raw materials is the most expensive part of the batteries. When the factory is operational, it will operate only on Geothermal, wind, and solar energy.
I’m sure the attendees enjoyed the tour and the event, but there was not particularly much new information. I would have enjoyed the tour even just to get a sense of the enormous sense of scale of the factory.