The Gigafactory has been activated. Hidden in the scrubland east of Reno, Nevada, where cowboys gamble and wild horses still roam, a diamond-shaped factory of outlandish proportions is emerging from the sweat and promises of Tesla chief executive Elon Musk.
It’s known as the Gigafactory, and today its first battery cells are rolling off production lines to power the company’s energy storage products and, before long, the Model 3 electric car.
The start of mass production is a huge milestone in Tesla’s quest to electrify transportation, and it brings to America a manufacturing industry – battery cells – that’s long been dominated by China, Japan, and South Korea.
More than 2900 people are already working at the 4.9 million square-foot (455,000 square metre) facility, and a further 4000 jobs (including temporary construction work) will be added this year through the partnership between Tesla and Panasonic.
By next year, the Gigafactory, which is less than a third complete, will double the world’s production capacity for lithium-ion batteries and employ 6500 full-time Reno-based workers, according to a new hiring forecast from Tesla. The company’s shares, having touched their highest point since August, closed up $US10 at $US226.99 in New York trading.
For the rest of this article, click here: http://www.afr.com/technology/tesla-starts-gigafactory-battery-cell-production-20170104-gtm472