Tesla Begins Battery Production

Jan 05, 2017 06:20 AM EST | Jeroah Sabado

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For a company that is usually criticized for setting goals it doesn't meet, Tesla announced on Wednesday a huge plan for its giant factory. Electric carmaker Tesla has started a mass production of lithium-ion battery cells at its facility in Nevada along with Japanese multinational electronics corporation, Panasonic.

Tesla is betting its entire future on Gigafactory. It will produce battery cells necessary for the Tesla Model 3, the car that may or may not break the company. That being said, Tesla already has hundreds of thousands of orders despite first deliveries being more than a year away.

Today, the Gigafactory is less than 30 percent complete, but the company officially held its grand opening last year, and is already operational with 4.9 million square feet of operating space across numerous floors. By 2018, Tesla says the factory will produce 35 gigawatt-hour per year of lithium-ion battery cells, which is almost at the current battery production capacity of all the battery suppliers in the world combined.

The CEO of Tesla, Elon Musk, has been bragging about the new battery over the past few months. He said that this will be the "highest energy density cell in the world and also the cheapest." The new batteries Tesla and Panasonic are producing are called '2170 cells' and will be used in the production Powerwall 2 and Powerpack 2 electricity storage devices, and the aim is to start producing battery cells for Model 3 cars by the second quarter of 2017.

The Gigafactory is being built in phases with Tesla and Panasonic's collaboration, and has nearly doubled in size since its opening. With the company aggressively building out the structure, it will continue to expand. According to Tesla, the Gigafactory is expected to employ 6,500 workers at peak productions and would create between 20,000 and 30,000 American manufacturing jobs in the surrounding area.

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