Work At Tesla’s Nevada Giga Factory Described As “Biblical”

3 years ago by Jay Cole 26

Is This Where The Tesla Giga Factory Will Be Located? (Photo Courtesy of Bob Tregilus)

Is This Where The Tesla Giga Factory Will Be Located? (Photo Courtesy of Bob Tregilus)

It is no secret that Tesla Motors wants to act as fast as it can when it comes to preparing suitable sites for its upcoming Gigafactory.

Cindy Pitts, co-owner of F and P construction who has been contracted by Tesla to prepare a Nevada site in the Tahoe Reno Industrial Center, tells RGJ just how hard her company pushed to get that site ready for a visit by Panasonic last month.

“We hired 250 men and women in the next week. We brought in $65 million worth of equipment — 200 pieces of equipment, bulldozers, excavators, haul trucks.”

And apparently that still wasn’t enough manpower to get the job done.  Faced with continued pressure from Tesla, they did what they had to do.

“We ran 24 hours a day, seven days a week. These men and women broke records,” Pitts told the Reno Gazetter-Journal. “We knew we had to get it done by July 21 when Panasonic was going to come in. We built that pad in less than 30 days.

“We told our men and women they were making history.  We paid them bonuses for working extra hours. As they got tired, we upped the wages. We fed them on the site. Nevada men and women met the challenge.”

Potential Gigafactory Pad Gets Laid In Nevada (via KTNV Channel 13)

Potential Gigafactory Pad Gets Laid In Nevada (via KTNV Channel 13)

Previously, Pitts had been sworn into secrecy by a non-disclosure agreement, but since Tesla CEO Elon Musk ‘officially’ let slip the news in a shareholder letter earlier this month, information is now flowing freely about the site construction.

F and P says that the site is as impressive a job as they have seen to date, and that they are thrilled for Nevada to be in contention now for the battery facility.

Today at the site, one would find that the pad is completed and now ready to move ahead on the project, but that the work itself has mostly been idled as Musk and company prepare other sites in the US (specifically  California, Texas, Arizona and New Mexico), while weighing the pros and cons of each location before making an ultimate decision.

Until Recently The Site Had Been Kept "Mostly" A Secret And The Work Completed Behind A Guarded Fence (via KTNV Channel 13)

Until Recently The Site Had Been Kept “Mostly” A Secret And The Work Completed Behind A Guarded Fence (via KTNV Channel 13)

TRIC (Tahoe Reno Industrial Center) developer Lance Gilman watched over the massive operation and commented the following:

“Building that pad in three and a half weeks was biblical. Work has not stopped. There’s still ongoing things, building catch basins, rerouting flood control, bank stabilization. But the pad is finished. It’s ready.”

Mr. Gilman did add a previous unknown factoid demonstrating how eager Tesla continues to be actually physically build the plant; specifically  that the steel for the Gigafactory has now all been ordered – as that component takes a fair amount of lead time.  The developer also noted that it was not earmarked for any particular location at this time.

Earlier this month Elon Musk made the following comment about the Reno site:

Giga Factory Rendering

Giga Factory Rendering

“We have  essentially completed the pad, the construction pad for the Gigafactory in Nevada. So in terms of creating a flat pad and getting the rocky foundation that is substantially complete. There’s still a little bit of work ongoing.  We are going to be doing something similar in one or two other states – which is something I previously said we’d do because I think it makes sense to have multiple things going in parallel.”

“Before we actually go to the next stage of pouring a lot of concrete though we want to make sure we have things sorted out at the state level – that the incentives are there that makes sense,…But I do want to emphasize that Tesla is not going to go for a deal that is unfair to the state or unfair to Tesla. We want to make sure it’s compelling for all parties.   I think on the Nevada side, at this point the ball is on the court of the governor and the state legislature.”

RGJ

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26 responses to "Work At Tesla’s Nevada Giga Factory Described As “Biblical”"

  1. kdawg says:

    I thought this article was going to describe how they found some golden plates. 🙂

    J/k aside, this sounds typical. Hurry up to slow down. Will the rest of the sites be able to pull off this ‘miracle’?

    1. James says:

      Oh brother! That would then mean that, like in the 1800s when some guy who used to be a diviner for farmers, following in the footsteps of his upstate New York father – whilst telling farmers he could find valuable minerals on their farms, just happened to cook up a new religion – becoming it’s “prophet”.

      So this would mean Elon Musk has seen God, and was asked to lead us all to Missouri, and then kicked out – and on to a great lake made of salt in order for each to marry several wives and build electric cars?

      I’m confused.

      As opposed to that fictional tale, I think Musk just might be playing the political system like a virtuoso violinist! Foreign automakers come to America and play politics every day. They build their factory on the highest bidder’s land, getting sweetheart deals with no property tax for decades. This is Musk’s way of getting the best deal, and perhaps political favor to sell his cars outside the franchise dealer box in that specific state on which he builds his gigafactory.

      I’d say it’s more genius than miracle.

  2. Rudy Clarke says:

    You got it right kdawg. Another military phrase applies here, “hurry up and wait” !!

  3. Who will get the orders for wind turbines and solar panels, that will be used at the Gigafactory?

    1. kdawg says:

      I would assume Elon would use his own company, Solar City, for the solar panels.

      1. Somehow, I forgot this …

        1. kdawg says:

          Well, it is a Monday.

    2. Josh says:

      JB Straubel quotes some prices (3-4 cents per kWh) for West Texas PPA prices on wind. It seems they are negotiating pricing with pipeline projects at all the sites.

      Cheap electricity could be a big driver for site selection.

      1. There’s no shortage of soar in Nevada, or wind from Oregon and hydro from Washington … all available through the same western electrical grid.

        There is nothing stopping Tesla starting of using existing cheap surplus power and adding solar capacity as needed. CA, OR, and WA all have state electric makeup that is ~30% renewable. (As high as 85%-95% for WA sourced electricity)

  4. ffbj says:

    Golden Plates? Good 1 kdawg.
    Maybe they build a gigafactory in Utah.

    In regards to the military there are so many good ones. Like SNAFU! or FUBAR!
    My personal favorite is: Military Justice is to Justice, as Military Music is to Music.

  5. Kosh says:

    Biblical?

    Except that unlike Solomon’s Temple, we have actual evidence that this place isn’t just a myth!

  6. Land says:

    So they have purchased 3 plots of land to build one factory? Are they building on someone else’s property?

  7. pete g says:

    Here’s what we know. Tesla owns one factory which at its hight turned out 300, 000 cars a year. Elon Musk announced plans to build a Gigafactory that has a compacty to produce batteries for 500,000 cars a year. Work is going on at 3 sights.
    Maybe instead of asking which sight will get the Gigafactory we should be asking what are your plans for the other 2?

    1. Big Solar says:

      So maybe one or 2 of the others will be car factories at some point? Good point….. I assumed the freemont factory could put out more than 300k cars but maybe not?

    2. Rob Stark says:

      The Toyota/GM joint venture at Fremont NUMMI built 300k cars per year before it folded but several Tesla executives and auto analyst said capacity was 500k under previous ownership and they believe that Tesla could build 500k cars per year.

      1. pete g says:

        When you look at size of auto manufacturing plants around the world 300k seems to be a magic number. I think its a logistics thing.

  8. scott franco says:

    Is it time yet for Elon to build and hide giant airplanes?

    1. Mikael says:

      Bringing sexy back to Area 51 🙂

  9. ffbj says:

    The Spruce Goose:

  10. Taser54 says:

    Not looking good for Cali.

  11. pete g says:

    With solar city, tesla and spacex all growing rapidly I’m not going to assume anything about what Elon Musk wants to build and where. I’m just saying he will build.

  12. Huffster says:

    And then he split the I.C.E. sea for BEV’s and renewable storage to cross. And it was good.

  13. Alonso Perez says:

    So it turns out that soft-spoken Musk plays hardball. Which explains quite a few things.

    Sure he wants the deal to be “fair”, but seriously, to start construction and just let it sit there is a high pressure tactic if I ever saw one.

    Brilliant, and kind of scary too. I would not want to be sitting across a table negotiating with this guy, unless I was Darth Vader or something, and I’m not.

    1. James says:

      Imagine the pressure foreign carmakers put on state governments in the USA when negotiating their billion-dollar car factories…

      At least this is an American carmaker hiring American workers and the profits mostly go to America.

      Japanese carmakers are famous for bending state governors over their barrel, promising local jobs yet taking 80% of the profits to Japanese suppliers. They then play the same game to build factories for their Japanese suppliers to build nearby. The state politicians can brag jobs they brought in, while most the profits go overseas.

  14. Spec9 says:

    They are parting the red rocks to make way for the Gigafactory in the promised land!

  15. Ellison says:

    Two sites doesn’t make a lot of sense for me unless they have a surprise for us, to turn it over to another company to finish similarly.

    Tesla also should have required green construction, biodiesel is simple to use and hybrid excavators are pretty common.