2018 is going to be an important test for Tesla Gigafactory 1 in Nevada. After starting battery cell production in early 2017, Tesla set a goal to reach a production of 35 GWh in 2018 to support the Model 3 ramp up.
Tesla increased its hiring effort this week in order to achieve that goal.
Gigafactory is now not only about battery cell production, which is Panasonic’s domain, but also production of Model 3 battery packs and drive units, as well as stationary energy storage systems, like Powerwalls and Powerpacks.
Tesla needs to increase the production of all those products this year, which will require a bigger workforce.
Earlier this year, Tesla said that over 1,000 people already work at Gigafactory 1, but the company expects the workforce to grow significantly as they ramp up production. The company previously guided up to 10,000 employees when at full production around 2020.
This week, Tesla promoted a new page advertising working at Gigafactory 1 and listed dozens of positions at the plant.
Both Tesla and CEO Elon Musk shared the page to their millions of followers:
The company reiterated its manufacturing goals for the Gigafactory:
“We began battery cell production at the Gigafactory in early 2017, and by 2018, it will produce 35 GWh/year of lithium-ion battery cells, nearly as much as the rest of the world’s entire battery production combined. With the Gigafactory online and ramping up production, our cost of battery cells will significantly decline due to increasing automation and process design to enhance yield, lowered capital investment per kWh of production and economies of scale.”
On the page, Tesla also promotes the Tahoe – Sparks region. The Gigafactory is quickly running out of local talent for its staff and they have a quota of Nevada residents to respect. Tesla and other companies based at Gigafactory 1, like Panasonic, have been known to recruit from other regions of Nevada and bring people to the Tahoe – Sparks region.
Over the last year, we heard from Tesla Gigafactory employees that there were some difficulties bringing people to the region to work at the somewhat secluded factory in the desert.
Aside from Reno, larger cities are nowhere near – though a new highway connecting Gigafactory 1 to Silver Spring was inaugurated this summer, which opened new opportunities for Tesla’s growing workforce at the factory.
Progress at Gigafactory 1, both with the workforce and the growing infrastructure, will be something to keep an eye on in 2018 since it is critical to the Model 3 production ramp. Furthermore, the source of the most important production bottleneck was identified to be battery module production at the factory.
We will keep a close eye on progress at the plant over the following months.