While Tesla has been manufacturing battery packs at the Gigafactory for its energy storage division since last year, new battery cell production is expected to be the real hallmark of the giant battery factory and it has yet to happen.

Panasonic, Tesla’s strategic partner at the plant, is in charge of the cell production inside the facility and it is expected to begin the process by the end of the year. Now we learn that Panasonic is “gearing up for significant growth” at the Gigafactory and it will host a special invitation-only hiring event on location next week to for “positions in advanced manufacturing”.

Last month, we published the Q1 2016 Quarterly Activity Report by Nevada Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED). It confirmed that as of the end of Q1 2016, Tesla and Panasonic had 317 and 52 Gigafactory employees respectively.

Panasonic accelerated its investment in the factory in recent months. During the last quarter, it invested in the Gigafactory almost as much as Tesla – $64 million.

Now the company is seeking to fill some manufacturing positions ahead of the start of battery cell production and sent out a request for resumes through Northern Nevada JobConnect:

Northern Nevada JobConnect in conjunction with Panasonic Energy of North America will host a June 22 “by invitation only” hiring event for open positions in the Gigafactory.

“Panasonic Energy of North America is gearing up for significant growth at the Gigafactory where we will produce lithium ion cells for electric vehicles and other innovative products,” said Amy Martin-Charles, talent acquisition manager for Panasonic Energy Corporation of North America.

“PENA has partnered with Nevada JobConnect to fill full-time positions in advanced manufacturing and is seeking experienced manufacturing professionals for shift lead, maintenance Technician and operator positions. Those interested in charging up their careers in an advanced manufacturing facility that is one of a kind, please contact Nevada JobConnect.”

Panasonic has partnered with Tesla Motors, which is building its Gigafactory site east of Reno in Storey County.

Interested jobseekers must submit their resumes to Nevada JobConnect prior to June 22nd for application instructions and to receive an invitation to the event.

Panasonic will manufacture a new 20700 cell format – compared to the current 18650. It means the battery cells that will be produced at the factory later this year will be a little taller (70mm) and a little wider (20mm) than the current cells used in the Model S and X.

The chemistry is also expected to be different from the current cells the company is supplying to Tesla.

Again, cell production is expected to start by the end of the year at the first phase of the ‘Gigafactory 1’. The first phase offers about 1.9 million sq-ft of manufacturing and work-space. The final version of the factory is expected to have 13 million sq-ft.

Pictures by Joshua Mcdonald from Nevada Tailwheel commissioned by Electrek for Tesla Gigafactory update with new aerial shots [Gallery: June 2016]

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