Tesla Gigafactory Adds Electric Motor Production For Model 3 With New $350 Million Investment

2 months ago by Jay Cole 36

Tesla Gigafactory progress from earlier this month (aprox. 30% complete)

Tesla Gigafactory progress from earlier this month (aprox. 30% complete)

We have known for some time that Tesla’s Gigafactory would ultimately build more than just the raw battery cells for the Tesla Model 3, but on Tuesday night we found out some specifics.

During Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval’s “State of the State” address (attended also by Tesla’s chief technology officer JB Straubel – watch below), we learned that the factory will produce both electric motors and gear boxes for the upcoming Model 3.

The governor stated that the additional investment will cost Tesla about $350 million, and will add 550 new “skilled” jobs to the battery facility.  Sandoval also noted that there was currently ~1,000 full-time workers employed at the Gigafactory, and some 2,000 construction persons.

“Tonight I am pleased to announce that Tesla will expand its investment in Nevada by producing the electric motors and gearboxes for the Model 3 at the Gigafactory,” – Brian Sandoval

Another look at the Tesla Gigafactory from this month

Another look at the Tesla Gigafactory from this month

Nevada had previously approved almost $1.4 billion in incentives that Tesla could be eligible for over time (and with the hiring of some 6,500 workers).

Tesla started battery production on site in Nevada in December

Tesla started battery production on site in Nevada in December

However, Sandoval’s Chief of Staff Mike Willden, told the media that these new production plans by Tesla announced today did not involve the introduction of any new incentives or tax rebates.

The governor also took time to thank Tesla for “doubling down” on Nevada, and took a moment to acknowledge the significant economic growth the EV maker had already brought to the state.

When completed the Gigafactory will have some 10 million+ square feet of operational space.

In December, Tesla started first production of new “2170” battery cells for its Tesla Energy products, with battery production for the Model 3 to begin in the second quarter.

Video (below): Watch Gov. Sandoval talk Tesla (from the 28:15 mark)

Reno-Gazette Journal

 

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37 responses to "Tesla Gigafactory Adds Electric Motor Production For Model 3 With New $350 Million Investment"

  1. Alan says:

    This was always on the cards, it wouldn’t surprise me if they extended the site further to actually start building cars on this site and keep everything under one roof so to speak.

    1. JohnF says:

      With the battery, motor, and gearbox all made in Nevada, Tesla would only need to build them into an autonomous driving chassis that would make the trip to Fremont for final assembly. Imagine a long ‘train’ of autonomous vehicles heading to Fremont at night after charging in the Nevada sun during the day. Wouldn’t that be a site!

      1. Alan says:

        It sounds a bit surreal but why not !

      2. Kdawg says:

        Hyperloop them there 🙂

        1. georgeS says:

          No, use the new Tesla all electric semi!!

          1. mhpr262 says:

            if the semi could somehow run on the batteries of the eight cars it is transporting that would even be possible, I suspect. Just make the charging port so the flow of current can be “bidirectional”.

            1. Batarnak says:

              Cool idea. It would also pave the way to make Tesla power your home during outages.

        2. speculawyer says:

          Naw. Old fashioned Train is fine for car parts. Hyperloop is needed for passengers that like to go fast.

          1. georgeS says:

            spec,
            I think the hyperloop cars are big enough to handle one of those large shipping containers.

          2. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

            One of the more serious Hyperloop development proposals starts with freight shipments only, to prove the concept and work out the safety measures before risking the lives of human passengers.

      3. ModernMarvelFan says:

        “Imagine a long ‘train’ of autonomous vehicles heading to Fremont at night after charging in the Nevada sun during the day. Wouldn’t that be a site!”

        They better pay for the road/use tax of I-80 then…

  2. Another (Euro) industrial point of view says:

    Now this $350M amount coming on top of need to increase their service centers network. I promise to insert “idiot” in my profile name if Tesla does not raise cash on the markets before end of Q2 2017.

    1. Another (Euro) industrial point of view says:

      Of course an announcement with a precise date in the very near future is valid as well…

      1. Alan says:

        No backtracking !

        That Battery cashcow should help a bit ?

        1. theflew says:

          Cell manufacturing and even packs are not cash cows. In theory they are commodities. Cells and packs are a race to the bottom.

          1. Alan says:

            Panasonic & all the other battery manufacturers are going to be very disappointed to hear that !

            1. ItsNotAboutTheMoney says:

              I’m sure that Panasonic Energy knows full well that it’s a commodity.

              However I’m sure that it’s also happy at the potential for mind-boggling huge growth in sales.

          2. Another (Euro) industrial point of view says:

            Exactly, that’s why it is urgent that the car makers jointly finds a win-win way to finance this battery making industry. When things will go large scale (2019 ?) the business plan of having EV enthusiasts/accounting illiterates to finance this through endless capital raises will not be sufficient.

            1. Sour much?

              It is so refreshing to hear from other Billionaire Business Men, like yourself, correcting their fellow Billionaire Friends, on the best way to make a business run! /sarc

              1. ffbj says:

                Ranking right up there with Monday Morning Quarterbacks and Armchair Generals.

            2. Alan says:

              It’s not just cars that Tesla’s gigafactory batteries are churning out, those energy storage powerpacks & powerwalls will start rolling out the door soon in large numbers.

              1. Get Real says:

                That is actually a key point Alan.

                While some of our resident anti-Tesla trolls whine and snivel about all things Tesla, the fact that energy storage is on the verge of a massive market expansion to aid in smoothing out renewables’ intermittency.

                This means that Tesla is naturally ahead of the competition in this growing field too and this market will help hedge the massive output of the Giga 1 at full production.

                Meanwhile most of the other laggard auto OEMs are also sniveling and whining about their own battery supplies as they are being disrupted and out-innovated by little upstart Tesla:

                http://insideevs.com/lithium-ion-battery-shortage-looming/

                1. georgeS says:

                  “While some of our resident anti-Tesla trolls whine”

                  I think you meant Tesla troll. An anti Tesla troll would be someone like PMPU who is fixated on Tesla trolls.

                  1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

                    I resemble that remark. 🙂

                    And no, he did mean “anti-Tesla troll”, as in a troll whose position is anti-Tesla.

                    For example, if one were to label one of the anti-EV FUDsters serially posting here as a “Big Oil troll”, one would mean someone who was pro Big Oil… not anti.

            3. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

              “…it is urgent that the car makers jointly finds a win-win way to finance this battery making industry.”

              No, precisely the opposite. It is important that every auto maker build its own battery factories independently, because battery packs are where EV makers are competing, and are going to continue to compete. As has been pointed out, electric motors for modern EVs are as alike as peas in a pod, leaving EV makers without the ability to compete there as they do with gasmobile engines. So it’s going to have to be the battery pack (and the power electronics) where they compete on things such as acceleration and energy efficiency.

              If EV makers were all to collaborate on building battery factories, then that would greatly reduce the competition for improved battery tech, which would greatly slow the pace of the EV revolution. That would in turn be bad for the environment as well as drivers worldwide.

          3. AlphaEdge says:

            They certainly don’t meet the definition of a commodity. The tech expertise in making the best cells and packs is held by only a few company’s.

            1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

              Perhaps the batteries Tesla currently uses don’t precisely fit the definition of “commodity batteries”, since they are made to Tesla’s specifications. But Tesla’s early roadmap certainly did depend on the use of commodity li-ion cells.

              For example:

              “In this paper, we will investigate the Tesla Roadster™, which uses commodity lithium-ion batteries instead of lead-acid batteries or nickel-metal-hydride batteries as most electric cars have used.”

              https://web.stanford.edu/group/greendorm/participate/cee124/TeslaReading.pdf

    2. ffbj says:

      Hopeful that will not happen as your name is currently long enough. Of course you could change it to: Another idiot’s point of view…

  3. Jay D says:

    Nice to hear, but what possible synergies are there between cell and motor manufacture. At least motors and gearboxes have some similarities, but last I heard, the cells didn’t need cast shells, bearings, windings, etc.. If the Gigiafactory has a long way to go to be large enough to meet its primary purpose, why start stuffing in extras?

    1. JakeY says:

      Maybe the cells won’t be, but the battery modules and packs will have lots of synergies. It’s going to have similar power cables (and use of copper), coolant lines, and extensive use of aluminum for casing material.

      And the timescale for expanding the factory for battery production (to 2010) is a lot longer than the upfront need to get Model 3 out the door this year.

      1. TomArt says:

        Good point. The motor and power electronics share the coolant loop, if I remember correctly.

    2. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      “If the Gigiafactory has a long way to go to be large enough to meet its primary purpose, why start stuffing in extras?”

      I find that puzzling too. But Tesla has repeatedly talked about making the Gigafactory’s footprint even larger than originally planned. Perhaps the reason for moving part or all of the powertrain manufacture to the Gigafactory is simply because land is cheaper there, so adding onto the factory space is easier. Elon has also lately started claiming that space inside the Gigafactory could be used far more efficiently that originally planned, perhaps enabling the Gigafactory to produce as much as three times its original planned output. I question that’s a realistic goal, but if Tesla thinks it won’t need as much room inside the Gigafactory to make batteries, that would be another reason for the company to view the space inside as potential room for Model ≡ subassembly work.

      We know that Tesla is expanding its operations in Fremont to other buildings in the area; it’s surely more expensive to rent in that area than to buy more land near the Gigafactory.

  4. speculawyer says:

    Nice! The labor, real estate, taxes, etc. costs are lower in Nevada. So moving more subassembly manufacturing to the Gigafactory site makes A LOT of sense.

    And the Gigafactory will be just a short train trip to the Fremont assembly plant.

    So build lots of subcomponents in the Gigafactory, send them by train to Fremont, and put them into the cars for final assembly.

  5. Neromanceres says:

    Good to hear. I’m surprised (or not) on how late this announcement is. I would have thought Tesla would have had these details worked out months ago. Hopefully this is just a belated announcement and the production equipment is already in place.

  6. ModernMarvelFan says:

    This makes sense as Nevada factory is cheaper and has lower taxes. It is also close enough to the Bay Area.

    That is what many other companies do with their regional warehouses.

    My local car dealer orders parts from Reno warehouse. If there is a big snow storm, then I-80 closes down, then you are SOL for your repair.

    But for Tesla, it makes sense as the two factory are close enough and NV is way cheaper than CA…

  7. Ballston Fuller says:

    I envision the Nevada site making complete sleds and shipping them to Fremont and Tilburg for meeting with bodies and interiors.

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