Tesla’s Gigafactory has started mass production of its lithium-ion batteries.
The start of operations at the massive plant in Nevada is an important moment for Tesla and its partner Panasonic as a delay in battery production could have proved a chokepoint for the roll-out of the new ‘Model 3’ electric vehicles (EV), ‘Powerwall 2’ home energy supply units and ‘Powerpack 2’ commercial energy storage products.
The cylindrical ‘2170’ battery cell has been specifically designed to work with each of the above products whilst maximising performance and minimising cost.
It is predicted that by 2018, the Gigafactory will manufacture 35GWh of batteries every year – this is said to be nearly as much as the rest of the world’s battery production combined.
Tesla claims the huge economies of scale that can be achieved by focusing this volume into one site means the cost can be kept significantly lower.
The factory is being built in stages, with battery manufacture starting immediately as each section is finished.
Tesla has said it will open a second Gigafactory in Europe.