The latest drone footage taken at the Tesla Gigafactory site in Nevada shows progress on south and north expansions of the battery plant ahead of the impending production ramp of the second generation of Tesla Energy production, Powerwall 2 and Powerpack 2, and the start of battery cell production by Panasonic.
The structures of the two most recent expansions now appear to be completed.
The Gigafactory already had over 1.9 million square feet of operating space with the four center sections. With the expansion on the south end, Tesla has added 2.4 million square feet of space. The company also started putting the temporary wall on this new section.
As for the new expansion on the North end of the building, the structure now appears to be complete, which wasn’t the case on drone footage released last month: New Tesla Gigafactory drone footage – November 2016
Here’s a side-by-side of the plant this month (left) and the plant last month (right):
The new section on the North end is adding 930,000 square feet to the building, for a total of about 4.5 million square feet or about 30% of the overall plant once it is expected to be completed in 2020.
Tesla says that the new North end section “will house additional module and pack production and manufacturing to support Model 3.”
Here’s the new drone footage released by Matthew Roberts on Youtube today:
Earlier this month, Tesla confirmed that it is now employing over 850 full-time workers at the plant alone while over 1,000 construction workers are continuing their work on the plant. Panasonic, Tesla’s partner for battery cell production at the plant, is also employing hundreds of people at this point.
Both companies are increasing their hiring efforts and Tesla plans to hire 1,000 more workers at the plant in the next few months – more than doubling the factory’s workforce. The automaker also recently started hiring production engineers to build up new highly automated drivetrain production lines at the Gigafactory.
The Gigafactory timeline is crucial to Tesla’s Model 3 production timeline. The factory needs to be producing battery cells and packs in volumes in order to take advantage of economy of scale and to reduce the cost of the battery by at least 30% in order to enable the Model 3’s $35,000 starting price. Tesla believes the factory construction and production timeline to still be on schedule for volume production of the Model 3 during the second half of 2017.