Earlier this week, we reported on Tesla receiving $8 million in tax credit for the Gigafactory after passing an audit for job creation and investment requirements. The audit was based on Tesla’s progress at the plant as of June 2016: 331 jobs created and $450 million in investments.

Even though it satisfies the state’s requirements, the local media today highlighted the fact that job creation at the plant doesn’t align with a study of the impact of the battery factory dating back in 2014. While responding to the critic, Tesla confirmed that the Gigafactory now employs over 850 workers and that the company expects to add 1,000 more during the first half of 2017.

Update: those numbers are only for Tesla employees, Panasonic is also employing hundreds of people at the factory.

The company explains that the study, which projected employment would reach 1,700 before January 2017, assumed that the construction of the plant would start in “early 2014,” while it actually started in late 2014.

Here’s the statement sent to the media in full (emphasis my own):

“As the State of Nevada itself has indicated, Tesla is on track at the Gigafactory, where we are creating thousands of new jobs. The job numbers cited in the article are from almost six months ago. Today, Tesla employs more than 850 full time employees and there are more than 1,700 construction workers at the Gigafactory.
 
Moreover, the study’s expectations for where we would be today were based on the false assumption that construction commenced at the start of 2014. In reality, we did not begin significant construction until almost 2015. The study’s findings should be adjusted to reflect this discrepancy.
 
We are on schedule with our production, hiring and investment numbers. Tesla expects to hire more than 1,000 additional full time employees at the Gigafactory in the first half of 2017.” 
The recent significant increase in the Gigafactory workforce aligns with the expected start of battery cell production at the factory and the ramp of the second generation Tesla Energy products, Powerwall 2 and Powerpack 2. Tesla expects battery production at the plant to ramp up in 2017, hence the ramp up in new hires, in order to reach 35 GWh of battery production capacity in 2018.
Tesla first expected to create over 6,000 jobs at the Gigafactory upon its planned completion in 2020, but CEO Elon Musk has announced an acceleration of the company’s plans following the higher than expected demand for the Model 3. He thinks the Gigafactory could eventually produce up 150 GWh of battery capacity and employ around 10,000 people. As we recently reported, Tesla now has over 30,000 employees since the merger with SolarCity.

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