Tesla announces $3.6b Semi, 4680 battery factories in Nevada but questions abound

Tesla has officially announced its expected new battery and Semi factories in Northern Nevada, along with $3.6 billion in investment to make them happen. But are these actually new factories, or simply the completion of Gigafactory Nevada to its originally planned size?

Earlier today we reported on the Nevada Governor hinting at plans for Tesla’s new factory, which were expected to be officially unveiled today. Tesla has now put up a blog post describing its progress with its previous investments in Nevada and the plans for this new investment.

Tesla says that it has already spent $6.2 billion in Nevada and hired 11,000 employees, while creating 17,000 local construction jobs building out its Gigafactory there, and that the factory has produced:

  • 7.3 billion battery cells (37 GWh+ annually)
  • 1.5 million battery packs
  • 3.6 million drive units
  • 1 million energy modules (14 GWh+ total)

These numbers are higher than Tesla’s original 2014 plan, which was to spend $3.5 billion on a factory to produce 35 GWh of batteries annually, which would then hire 6,500 employees.

Since then, the EV market has expanded rapidly, which means 35GWh is still not enough to fulfill global demand for Tesla’s EVs.

Today, Tesla said:

We will be investing over $3.6 billion more to continue growing Gigafactory Nevada, adding 3,000 new team members and two new factories: a 100 GWh 4680 cell factory (with capacity to produce enough batteries for 2 million light duty vehicles annually), as well as our first high-volume Semi factory.

Tesla’s announcement is unclear about whether these factories will still be on the same property as its current gigafactory, which is still about 60% complete when comparing renders to the current status of the building.

Judging by the new render, these new factories may be in the same building. Compared to the existing building, which has an L-shape, and the original and new renders of the building, filling out that L-shape would complete the building to look more like the renders:

The announcement mentions that some of the $3.6 billion will be spent to continue growing the gigafactory, but also build two new factories. Previously, Electrek reported that Tesla was building a production line for the Tesla Semi in a new building near Gigafactory Nevada, so we’re not sure if it’s changing plans and will bring all this production under the same roof, or continue expanding that new building nearby. The new render shows assembled Tesla Semis coming off the line on the left side of the building, which could suggest their assembly will be done under the same roof – or maybe it’s just a render.

Top comment by JeffnReno

Liked by 4 people

The Semi delivery event was held at the NV Gigafactory and Panasonic is working with Tesla on the mass production of the new 4680 cells. It shouldn't be a huge surprise that Tesla will continue to invest in the property they already own along with the partnership they have on site with Panasonic. As far as solar on the roof, there are laws in NV that affect how much a company or business can supply themselves without buying power from the utility (NV Energy). I'm not current with those laws and not a lawyer but I know it's been in the news over the years when some of the large casinos tried to do a total off grid operation a few years ago and it either wasn't allowed or required a special wavier by the courts. The electric rates in NV are much cheaper than many places and for every solar panel Tesla puts on their own roof it's one less they have to sell to a consumer so the FUD needs to stop. There are issues in court right now about lithium mines trying to open in NV and a local company that generates power from geothermal is trying to open another plant near where Burning Man is held but that is also being challenged for those of you that are paying attention.

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This announcement comes the day before Tesla’s earnings report, which is certainly interesting timing. Tesla set a record for deliveries with 405,000 vehicles delivered in Q4 and 1.3 million in 2022, though the Q4 number came in under expectations. Near the end of the quarter, Tesla started offering discounts and has recently drastically cut prices, signaling that it needed to stoke demand a little after more than a year of significant price increases while EV demand skyrocketed.

Update: We’ve got some answers from the presentation which was released early on Jan 25th:

The big answer is that those 2 factories are within the planned Gigafactory Nevada:

Also current output of Gigafactory:

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Avatar for Jameson Dow Jameson Dow

Jameson has been driving electric vehicles since 2009, and has been writing about them and about clean energy for electrek.co since 2016.

You can contact him at jamie@electrek.co