Tesla Gigafactory commences battery cell production
Tesla has begun mass production of a new battery cell that will be used in Tesla's energy storage products and upcoming Model 3 at its Nevada-based Gigafactory.
The battery cell began production at the manufacturing plant on Wednesday (4 January), with plans to expand production to 35Gwh annually by 2018 – almost equal to current global battery production.
Tesla partnered with Japanese electronics firm Panasonic to develop the new high performance 2170 battery cell, which will be used as the cell in Tesla’s Powerwall 2 and Powerpack 2 energy storage solutions. The Powerwall 2 is set to hit the market “at some point in 2017” according to a recent blog post.
The production of the Model 3 variant of the cell production will follow the energy storage cells, starting production in Q2 this year. The Battery started production late December at Tesla's Buffalo, NY factory.
With this new battery cell, Tesla and Panasonic aim to “offer the best performance at the lowest production cost in an optimal form factor for both electric vehicles and energy products”.
The Gigafactory opened its doors last year, despite the manufacturing plant being only 14% complete with it being built in phases so that manufacturing could begin immediately in the finished areas and expand later.
Currently, the factory boasts an imposing footprint of 1.9 million square feet, housing 4.9 million square feet of operational space across several floors. As of now, the factory is only 30% complete.
Tesla aims to drive down the cost of developing its battery cells by increasing and refining its automation process, increasing yield and lowering capital investment per Wh of production. In doing this, Tesla looks to make its products available to a wider consumer market and accelerate the transition towards a sustainable energy future.
The Gigafactory and subsequent battery development form a fundamental part of Tesla’s plan to establish a holistic and "vertically integrated" clean energy empire. The company has partnered with SolarCity, streamlining an alignment with the Tesla Energy subsidiary, which already allows home owners to store energy through the Powerwall and Powerpack products.