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Tesla begins battery production at Gigafactory


Tesla has begun mass production of lithium-ion battery cells in its Gigafactory, which once at full capacity is expected to produce almost as many battery cells as the rest of the world combined.

Referred to as the “2170 cell”, production has begun on cells that will be used in Tesla’s Powerwall 2 and Powerpack 2 energy products. According to the company, cell production for its Model 3 vehicle will begin in the second half of 2017, and by 2018 the Gigafactory will produce 35GWh/year of lithium-ion battery cells, which is almost as much as the rest of the entire world’s battery production combined.

Construction of the Gigafactory itself has not been fully completed; it is being built in phases to allow Tesla, Panasonic and other partners to begin manufacturing immediately inside the finished sections. The Nevada-based factory is less than 30 per cent complete, but already has a footprint of 0.2 million square metres. It will be 1 million square metres upon completion, making it the biggest factory in the world.

In a recent blog post, Tesla claimed that the factory’s operations will lead to a significant decline in the cost of battery cells, due to “increasing automation and process design to enhance yield, lowered capital investment per Wh of production, the simple optimisation of locating most manufacturing processes under one roof, and economies of scale”.

The company added that the Gigafactory will directly employ 6500 people and indirectly create 20,000 – 30,000 jobs in surrounding regions.

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