Nevada’s Lt. Gov. Mark Hutchison recently went on a trade mission to China to promote tourism and his “biggest takeaway” from the mission is surprising: touring Tesla’s Gigafactory was a “near-constant theme” brought up by Chinese
industrial spies tourism officials.
Hutchison says that he plans to bring it up to Tesla officials in order to set up tours of the battery factory.
He said Wednesday on “Nevada Newsmakers” (via RGJ):
“One of my biggest takeaways from the trip is to speak to Tesla officials and just let them know (about the interest from Chinese tourism officials). I don’t know if they are interested or not interested but the big attraction, at least for the Chinese traveler, would be a tour through Tesla.”
In all seriousness, Tesla could be interested since CEO Elon Musk said at the July 2016 Grand Opening of the first phase of the factory that they plan to make tours available to the public – adding that “it’ll be worth seeing“.
He seemed to refer to the tours only for when the factory would be completed, which shouldn’t be before the end of the decade. The current structure has a 1.9 million square-foot footprint and about 4.9 million square feet of operational space. It represents only ~30 percent of the total finished Gigafactory since it’s expected to have a 5.8 million square feet footprint when completed.
Tesla expects that it will be the biggest building in the world once completed and it will be packed with highly automated production lines. Could such a sight compete with Las Vegas’s tourist attractions?
“Tesla was a big topic of conversation when I was over there. The Chinese tourists, the travelers, all of those who we met with, all loved the Tesla company and they wanted to come out and see the gigafactory.”
Tesla has made tours of its Fremont factory available to Tesla owners for a long time, but it would be a first for the Gigafactory outside of planned events, like the previously mentioned ‘Grand Opening’ of the first phase last year.