Tesla Gigafactory Begins 2170 Battery Cell Production


Tesla Gigafactory

Tesla Gigafactory

Tesla’s massive Gigfactory has just begun producing battery cells for the first time ever.

As promied by the end of 2015, Tesla Gigafactory battery production underway now

As promied by the end of 2015, Tesla Gigafactory battery production underway now

The automaker/ battery maker had previously stated that it would begin cell production at the Gigfactory by the end of 2016 and, according to the press release, Tesla actually hit that target:

“Production of 2170 cells for qualification started in December…”

But starting today, “mass” production of these jointly designed (Tesla & Panasonic) 2170 cells is now underway:

“…and today, production begins on cells that will be used in Tesla’s Powerwall 2 and Powerpack 2 energy products.”

Looking a bit into the future, Tesla says that cells for the Model 3 will be produced starting in Q2 of 2017. By 2018, “the Gigafactory will produce 35 GWh/year of lithium-ion battery cells, nearly as much as the rest of the entire world’s battery production combined,” according to Tesla.

Tesla adds:

“With the Gigafactory online and ramping up production, our cost of battery cells will significantly decline due to increasing automation and process design to enhance yield, lowered capital investment per Wh of production, the simple optimization of locating most manufacturing processes under one roof, and economies of scale. By bringing down the cost of batteries, we can make our products available to more and more people, allowing us to make the biggest possible impact on transitioning the world to sustainable energy.”

Tesla is currently hosting an investor’s fair at the Gigfactory where CEO Elon Musk (among other top execs) will be on hand to host a Q&A session. This invite-only event will host factory tours too.

Battery Cell Production Begins at the Gigafactory

Tesla Energy power module (with new 2170s)

Tesla Energy power module (with new 2170s)

Tesla’s mission is to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy through increasingly affordable electric vehicles in addition to renewable energy generation and storage. At the heart of these products are batteries. Today at the Gigafactory, Tesla and Panasonic began mass production of lithium-ion battery cells, which will be used in Tesla’s energy storage products and Model 3.

The high performance cylindrical “2170 cell” was jointly designed and engineered by Tesla and Panasonic to offer the best performance at the lowest production cost in an optimal form factor for both electric vehicles and energy products.

Production of 2170 cells for qualification started in December and today, production begins on cells that will be used in Tesla’s Powerwall 2 and Powerpack 2 energy products. Model 3 cell production will follow in Q2 and by 2018, the Gigafactory will produce 35 GWh/year of lithium-ion battery cells, nearly as much as the rest of the entire world’s battery production combined.

The Gigafactory is being built in phases so that Tesla, Panasonic, and other partners can begin manufacturing immediately inside the finished sections and continue to expand thereafter. Our phased approach also allows us to learn and continuously improve our construction and operational techniques as we continue to drive down the cost of energy storage. Already, the current structure has a footprint of 1.9M square feet, which houses 4.9 million square feet of operational space across several floors. And we are still less than 30 percent done. Once complete, we expect the Gigafactory to be the biggest building in the world.

With the Gigafactory online and ramping up production, our cost of battery cells will significantly decline due to increasing automation and process design to enhance yield, lowered capital investment per Wh of production, the simple optimization of locating most manufacturing processes under one roof, and economies of scale. By bringing down the cost of batteries, we can make our products available to more and more people, allowing us to make the biggest possible impact on transitioning the world to sustainable energy.

Finally, bringing cell production to the U.S. allows us to create thousands of American jobs. In 2017 alone, Tesla and Panasonic will hire several thousand local employees and at peak production, the Gigafactory will directly employ 6,500 people and indirectly create between 20,000 to 30,000 additional jobs in the surrounding regions.

Sources: Tesla, Bloomberg, Reuters

Categories: Tesla

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90 Comments on "Tesla Gigafactory Begins 2170 Battery Cell Production"

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Well done!

“ON TIME” Could it be because Panasonic has a hand in it, With the Panasonic Battery Making Expertise..

Could be, or not.

Tesla has been very upfront about the massive advantages of partnering with existing battery makers. That’s why they chose Panasonic and the 18650 format cells for the Roadster over a decade ago. It has been a very successful strategy, and yes Panasonic has experience in bringing battery factories online.

Tesla working with a reliable partner and leveraging their existing expertise to bring a new battery factory online on-time is a good thing. Because that’s exactly what it takes to get a complex product like a car into production. Choosing solid parts suppliers and working closely with them.

Another huge and disruptive accomplishment and another nail in the coffin of fossil fools and their minions plus the haters/shorters/losers who troll here!

Warren Buffet: Buy the management team.
Musk Delivers.

Reminder – there are 30-40 other firms making stationary storage batteries. It will become a commodity. There is little room for profit in a cmomodity – especially one with Silicon Valley appetites.

Except by having the lowest cost driven by MASS production. Are you and Smiegel feeling the heat?

Smiegol LOL!

The cells are a commodity. The software, sales model, and pack level electronics are not.

No the cells are not a commodity, However the lithium used to make them “could” become such. Currently lithium is not traded such as “copper, gold, silver, oil, platinum” etc. however with lithium on a “hockey stick” demand curve, and with multinational sources of the metal it may only be a matter of time before lithium futures hit the global stock markets. This alone “COULD” slow down any savings due to ramped production and investors seeking growth, or a hedge.

At the gigafactory grand opening Musk and Straubel both talked about the fallacy of peak lithium. Lithium is VERY abundant, it only comprises 12% of the cells and all the materials in the cells are recyclable. Musk and Straubel also said Tesla battery packs will be recycled at the gigafactory. Recycling is already IN the design of the gigafactory.

If someone is trying to tell you that there could be a shortfall in the supply of lithium, then he’s trying to sell you speculative mineral exploration stocks. That is quite literally the only source of FUD — and it is FUD — about a possible lithium shortage.

Here’s the reality: The Japanese have perfected a method of extracting lithium from seawater, which would essentially be an endless supply. The only reason that extraction method isn’t being used, is that cheaper sources of lithium are quite common and easily exploited. But if demand drives up the price high enough, you can be sure the Japanese method will be put into practice.


Bonaire said:

“It will become a commodity. There is little room for profit in a cmomodity…”

So what? Li-ion battery cells have been described as a “commodity” ever since the days of the Tesla Roadster.

Production in “commodity” volumes just means the manufacturer must make his profits on volume production rather than a fat profit margin. And that will be good for EV makers! So why the negativity, Bonaire?

Let’s remember that the primary purpose of the Gigafactory isn’t to make a profit for Tesla by selling batteries. The primary purpose is to enable Tesla to build cars, especially the Model ≡, at a lower price.

Sure, Tesla is creating a secondary market for Gigafactory cells with the Powerwall and the Powerpack. But make no mistake, that is a secondary market, at least at present. That could change in the future if grid storage sales take off in a big way, as I hope they will!

And if the stationary storage market does take off, then Tesla can get plenty of income there from volume sales.

Looking a bit into the future, Tesla says that cells for the Model 3 will be produced starting in Q2 of 2017.

Pretty perfect timing. Coincides with production parts delivery date. 6 months of Beta testing on Model 3 then first production vehicle out the door at 2017 end!!

Well, we can hope. It does seem that there will be some, maybe they can break the December Bolt debut. Something to shoot for.

Now when will the Model 3 reveal 2.5 happen?

“But I mean, it’s probably, yeah, I don’t know, the beginning of spring or something like that. Yeah, 3-4 months from now.”

Musk said that towards the end of November.

Sorry, cmina, I could not find the source of Your Quote, so what were you referring to?

Also – you mentioned – “Musk said that towards the end of November.” and – since I did not see that in this article, or in another comment – at least above yours, what were you referring to there – the start of Model 3 Production, or Model 3 Deliveries, or – Cell production start: 2016, or 2017?

I think he is referring to this story:


November 17, 2016

Thursday night, Tesla shareholders voted to go ahead with the SolarCity acquisition. CEO Elon Musk stuck around for a post-vote question-and-answer period, and let slip a huge hint about the status of the Tesla Model 3. An audience member, in true audience member style, elected to sneak in a non sequitur to the Q&A and ask about the Model 3 instead of the merger. Musk demurred, but then answered anyway. The third reveal, he suggested, would be in the spring of 2017.

“Today is not the time for that announcement, but, I mean — it’s probably, yes, I don’t know, beginning of spring or something like that, yes. Three or four months from now.”

After january 15 is my guess (free SC was extended untill 15th so i think somthing will hapen around then)

Well, I did see that they said “Model 3 cell production will follow in Q2”, but I wonder if that also means that No Cells for the Model 3 Beta Test Vehicles (As many as maybe – the full 300 they ordered parts for early) will be produced, before the “Model 3 Cell Production” begins?

I would think, they need some early samples, if not selections from the Volume Production – early – to get into the early Beta Test Vehicles, to allow them time to start road testing, and doing test cell analysis (like in Hot & Cold Test Cell Chambers), to make sure they have enough time to verify intended performance numbers, if not by March 2017, then by July, 2017!

They built test cells a long time ago (they were first talked about in Q2 2014 conference call).

These are production cells. Tesla has already put test cells through all the required testing long before they began production manufacturing. They are at the point where they can start Production
Validation testing for the M3. They aren’t starting from the beginning of development.

Just as random FYI, 2170 cell production is already underway with Panasonic in Japan, so those are the cells Tesla is currently utilizing in tests.

I did not know that.

Thanks very much for this post, Jay! 🙂

Man what a news day. Way to go IEV’s!!

Too much, too fast for me (at least while wearing my IEV Editor-in-Chief hat) since the Faraday reveal live last night in Las Vegas, (=

…but as an EV owner and enthusiast, its great to see all the (mostly) positive/big news of late. Been waiting for ~2017 since 2010 if you will, lol.

Thanks for all you do Jay!! Great work.

Yup, 2017 here we come!!! The year of the beginning of 200+ mile affordable EVs and the beginning of the acceleration to sustainable transport for all.

Hear, hear!

Well done indeed

😀 Keep up the hard work you guys. Its an exciting time to follow EV growth.

This type of news makes me happy 🙂

At least the Death Star is nearing competition.

Prepare to set a course to cripple Peabody Coal and OPEC.

But the reality is this is why the coal industry is going to exist in the future at 90% smaller then it is now.

There are so many uses for Coal & 0il Products & bi-products (ie Plastics & so on) This way the supply Will be wisely utilized for more necessary & fruitful applications instead of being burned 0ff destroying the enviroment as a result., Plus.,with a clean enviroment the supply will not be exhausted and will last for a long long time to come for future use with No Fear of running out.

Lots of uses for oil . . . coal, not so much. Met coal (coal for refining metals) will still be big but there are not that many other uses for ordinary thermal coal.

The Trumpkins that voted for Trump expecting him to save coal will be in for a rude awakening. Of course, if they had a clue they should know better . . . coal has been in decline for over 30 years now. It didn’t matter who was in the White House or who held Congress.

Coal is a fuel.

Batteries are a net-user of energy but do not create any – they store and output energy and doing so lose about 15% of the energy input.

Coal and NG and Nuclear and Renewables – are all needed to supply input “fuel” (electricity) to battery consumption devices.

Storage allows greater penetration of renewables, something Tesla also has a hand in. Given enough powerpacks we could effectively shut down all peaker plants in very little time. Keep trying to bring back those coal jobs though…

Yeah, coal as an energy creation fuel is in a death spiral. Already many projects are choosing solar and battery for peak load requirements, due to their flexibility.
Things do move at a glacial pace in the energy utility area, so this change is will take a decade or more, to be more completely realized. It will a gradual process as coal use in the U.S. has fallen 50% as a percentage of power generation, in the last 10 years.

I agree that batteries won’t be a big killer of coal . . . they will kill oil by replacing ICE vehicles with battery vehicles.

Batteries will contribute a bit to death of coal by helping allow for more renewables on the grid. But HVDC transmission lines to move renewable electricity around will do much more to help kill off coal than batteries.

Bonair, and – Coal Fired Power Plants – run at Hotter Temps than Nuclear, and Both are kind of tough to respond to rapidly varying Grid Demand Loads, and even though Natural Gas can handle some of the load variation better – that is where Batteries do much better on that, so there is also a place for Grid Power Battery Storage – even if there was no Wind, and Solar Power programs! Now – For Home Solar, Wind, and Even Off Grid Generators – Batteries perform similar functions: Fast Response and defined Capacity run time! Even Grid Connected Solar for Homes, really should have Battery Storage, up to at least about 1 Days Worth of Energy use per Home, to allow Solar Power to be produced when best, and the grid to access it, as well as the Home to access it’s stored energy, when better needed! V2G: Vehicle to Grid ( a reversal of the normal role of the grid to charge the vehicle – this allows energy to be drawn from the vehicle as needed, in small amounts, by the Grid Operator). H2G: Home to Grid – Just like V2G, but Does not leave you stuck in… Read more »

Round trip efficiencies of batteries are better than 85% (unless you charge/discharge at 5C and up without thermal management).

As for coal being a fuel/source of energy.. it’s also just an energy-carrier like batteries, just that in this case the energy has been harvested millennia ago ‘by nature’ over long times at a very low rate and is now converted in a fraction of that time into heat (and electricity at an efficiency of 30-45%, depending on age/tech of your power plant).

From an economic viewpoint, coal is an energy source in that it already contains energy which can be released to create useful work. We don’t have to pay to put energy into it, as we have to with, say, renewable hydrogen.

Yes, if we look back two or three steps in where the energy came from, the source was nuclear fusion in the sun. That’s an interesting fact of science, but is rather irrelevant to the real-world economics and practicality of energy production. And it’s rather pedantic to bring it up in this context.

Where are these cells going in the short term? They can’t be making too many if they don’t make a car that uses them.

Possibly Powerwall 2 and the other larger storage batteries use them?

Perhaps we’ll see Tesla change over their Model S/X packs to this form in a few months? Although It would seem like that could be difficult given they won’t fit into the space allocated for 18650s given the 3mm length change. Maybe they’ll just jack the car up 3.3mm or something?

I think what is holding Tesla back on a lot of production goals is a hard to get to battery supply.

Sorry, I meant 5mm length change and 5.5mm (gotta have room for expansion, just ask Samsung!) raising.

“they won’t fit into the space allocated for 18650s given the 3mm length change.” – Elon or JB – already said the new format will actually fit into the existing packs with Minimal to No Changes in Pack Height, about the time they announced the new cell size. Internals in the pack might be tighter, but the top cover does not currently ride on the exact tops of the current 65.0 mm tall cells, so – the new 70 mm tall cells will still fit OK. Also – the Cells (as said by Elon) Have been Planned to go out in this basic Order: Storage, Model 3, and finally Model S & X. So – Model 3 will be in production, and likely delivery, before any announcements ( suddenly, of course, as all other hardware changes by tesla!), which will likely happen about after some 10,000+ Model 3’s are already delivered; that the Model S & X Now (When it will be announced, ‘Now’) have the new 21-70 cells, and the new pack sizes are: ?80 kWh, ?115 kWh, and ?130 kWh! (Or they will go with slightly larger Pack Energies while reducing weights per pack – for more range… Read more »

It will probably roll out like this:

Day 1) insideevs reports a rumor from a Tesla insider that the MS and MX battery packs will change over to 2170 cells.
Day 2) Somebody will post a snip of Tesla code showing a placeholder for a P110DP car on their Facebook page.
Day 3) The 100’s all mysteriously disappear off of the Tesla ordering site.
Day 4) Elon answers a tweet, by announcing that the 100’s battery pack will now be replaced with 2170 cell 110 packs, and that the new battery packs enable Plaid mode….


Robert Weekley said:

“Internals in the pack might be tighter, but the top cover does not currently ride on the exact tops of the current 65.0 mm tall cells, so – the new 70 mm tall cells will still fit OK.”

Something else I didn’t know. I’m learning all kinds of new things today!

Thanks muchly, Robert.

You think Tesla left wasted space in there?

That would have been incredibly foresightful to do that 5 years ago when they were claiming they would use commodity cells.

If there’s extra space it’s likely to account for swelling. And you can’t just take out the swell space, it’s needed.

It’s possible Tesla could make something else in the pack thinner to recover some space. Or it’s also possible they’ll just redesign the car.

I just don’t think it’s likely Tesla left 5.5mm extra (height) space unused and available in there. It just doesn’t make any sense.

Samsung fixed their battery problem today. So it isn’t an issue anymore. Just move along!

They are going to Tesla storage products, power wall but much more importantly powerpacks. It’s a brilliant strategy to de-risk timing between GF1 and M3 being ready by soaking up all those batteries. Expect to start hearing more about very large storage contracts in future CC’s.

Yes, a brilliant strategy.

Awesome stuff! Likely to be rolling Model 3 test packs as early as May!

Some further details on how 2170 differs from 18650:
“doubling the level of charge, for a 50% increase in volume” From 3000MAH, to 5750-6000MAH per cell. Wow.

I wonder if 2170 will replace 18650 in more devices than just Tesla products. I know my laptop would like more power!

Hmm . . . interesting. But consumer digital electronics generally use different battery chemistries than automotive Li-Ions.

But perhaps the manufacturing equipment to make 2170 will become more popular and push consumer electronics over to it. I agree that it would be nice for laptops.

John asked: “I wonder if 2170 will replace 18650 in more devices than just Tesla products. I know my laptop would like more power!” Nope. The cylindrical form factor of the 21-70 cells isn’t good for modern notebook computers, which are thinner and thinner. The 21 mm diameter is nearly an inch (which equals 25 mm), so it’s pretty much a given that thin notebook computers will be using flat cells, either pouch cells or prismatic cells. Note that cells made for Tesla also lack certain safety features found in consumer grade cells; safety feature designed to help prevent runaway heating and fires. Tesla controls that with pack-level design. You certainly wouldn’t want to use cells without those safety features in your laptop! I think we’ll see the 21-70 cells only where space is less critical, such as in stationary storage and of course in BEVs. It will be interesting to see if, in the future, Tesla offers consumer grade 21-70 cells which either have those safety features added back in, or use a different chemistry less prone to overheating. Keep in mind that the “21-70” label refers only to the form factor — the size and shape; it’s a… Read more »

Wonder if the higher energy volume per cell, can handle beefier chargers?

Hmmm. Actually, I think it will probably make that situation a bit worse. They are going to need a better thermal management system. And we’ll need bigger batteries so we get more parallelism to increase charging speed.

Remember the Announcements around the new P100DL? They said that the new Thermal management system was designed with the Model 3 in mind, to offer improved Thermal Management, and be usable by the new cells (the now sized 2170 cells) that the Model 3 would be beginning with! When the non performance 100D gets announced, we will likely hear more about that, but – maybe not. It would be great to hear about the 100D getting announced, before the End of the extension for the Supercharging offer, but maybe it will be as late as – and even after – the next Model 3 Reveal! Maybe – it should be before: Showing up their continuing lead in EV Range, hitting 340-360 EPA Miles Range! I personally suspect, that GM hit hard on Tesla Model 3 Range that Elon Announced as ‘At least 215 Miles Range’ on the Reveal on March 31st, 2016, but Tesla will actually deliver more than 225 Miles Highway Range – in a base Model 3, and offer 1 or 2 even Higher Range Battery Choices, as options! That is why I think the 100D should be announced – even before the next Model 3 Reveal, even… Read more »

Tesla has been voluntarily lowering the EPA range rating for the 100’s. Even if the 100D did hit ranges that high, I’m not so sure Tesla would publish that number.

They seem to be slowly shifting to more conservative numbers, perhaps in a shift in policy to over-deliver and under-promise. Which would be a good shift for a maturing company.


Not so much. The larger capacity battery will not heat as much as the lower capacity battery at the same charge current. Therefore you can increase the charge current for the larger cell and have the same amount of heat evacuation capacity.

But running counter to that is another factor: The 21-70 cells, being larger than the 18650 cells, have a lower surface-to-volume ratio, and therefore radiate heat away more slowly, meaning more heat will build up inside.

Of course, that assumes all else is equal, which is never the case with something as complex as this. Tesla has also said or at least hinted they’ll be using a different chemistry in the 21-70 cells, so perhaps overheating won’t be as bad with the new cells.

‘level of charge’?
What should that be?
If people write about tech, can they at least learn the proper terms and use them?

In this case the amount of store-able energy nearly doubles with a 50% increase in volume.
Question is, compared to what state of tech?
Current 18650 cells with the same chemistry or some from 4-5 years ago?

U don’t think the chemistry of the cells changes every month, don’t u?
Of course it’s compared to the old cell design.

50% more volume
100% more capacity
that gives 133% increase in capacity for the the same volume.
P133DL anyone?
Kinda reminds me of Pentium 133 Mhz!

Reminds me of the old joke…
We are Pentium of Borg, division is futile, you will be approximated.

This is awesome and Welcomed News at the Very Least! Let’s get this EV Industry Humming at Full Tilt with a desirable line of Great Quality Products.

I wonder if they’ll eventually move the Model-S and X over to this new cell?

It would likely cost them more over time, not to.

I would assume they will do so. If the 2170 is more cost effective, they would be crazy not to.

As of last summer, there was this story:

“Musk said that after Tesla gets the Model 3 out the door it will revisit whether or not it wants to make new Model S and Model X cars with the 21-70 batteries.”


I don’t know if there have been any updates since then.

It’s hard to believe that Tesla won’t switch all its cars over to the 21-70 batteries, sooner or later. Why wouldn’t they, when that will obviously save a significant amount of money?

I agree. They are likely just being coy in order to avoid Osborning their current MS and MX sales using the current battery packs. Probably a smart business move, since they don’t want to repeat the Volt GEN II fiasco.

It would definitely be a prudent, cost effective course of action.

Not yet. Tesla has a contract with Panasonic for supply of 18650 cells for the S. That required some investment by Panasonic in expanded production. When that contract’s up, things could change.

I know it is not a priority right now and they have to watch their capital . . . but it would be so nice to at least see some token wind turbines and solar PV going up.

Yeah, I thought the GF was supposed to have a boatload of PV on the roof or off to the side somewhere.

They’ll get around to it eventually. But part of their deal with Nevada was cheap electricity for several years plus they are always struggling not to burn capital, so I’m sure solar & wind are very low priority.

Unfortunately, yes. I think that Tesla will eventually cover the top of the Gigafactory with solar panels; I think they will eventually follow through on that, in contrast to how Tesla has not followed through on its plans for making the Supercharger network solar powered.

As I understand it, Tesla will have to follow through on this, because it’s part of the deal they made with the State of Nevada.

But as you say, it’s not going to be a high priority item for them. Likely they won’t start spending money on installing solar panels until the energy needs of the Gigafactory begins to exceed what they can get from the local grid. From Tesla’s viewpoint, they have far more important things to spend money on, over the next two or three years at the very least!

Tesla is actually working on installing battery backup for the Superchargers in order to level out their demand spikes first, then they will be doing solar for superchargers. The batteries will help the future solar, along with reducing their utility bills right now.

Opening the gigafactory will allow them to move forward with that project too.

It is an incremental process, but they will get there.

I also always wondered why the people who build houses don’t at least (right after digging out the foundation hole) don’t put up some nice fence and some lawn in the backyard.. as a token, you know?

Are you guys for real?



You win.

Yes, all that sun and wind going to waste

It is in progress as they are waiting for the solar Giga for the panels and they are rightfully very focused on getting the Model 3 into mass production first and foremost.

This also allows Tesla to begin building production validation M3 battery packs to go in their 300 Model 3 pre-production cars.

With the original prototypes already built a year ago, and pencils down on design last summer, and the factory production assembly line going into unit testing in the fall of last year, we are starting to see the pieces fall into place.


Hey Sanna Sanna Sanna Hosanna
Hey Sanna Hosanna…

🙂 🙂 🙂

Jean-Francois Morissette

Anything else on the Q&A with Musk and Straubel?

So going forward, detractors won’t be able to say it’s powered by “laptop batteries”.
Unless, they start selling them to laptop manufacturers.

Solar + storage = distributed energy

Enabling human development and operations off the existing grid. I could see the DoD interested in such a system along the front lines instead of hauling gas in trucks for power. Bring in trucks of fully charged power packs and solar panels, light up a new base of operations.

Also, regarding just storage, it isn’t just a few large scale backups for the grid around the country. There are many many local uses for storage.

I don’t buy that batteries will be a commodity. There will be a trust factor in buying proven designs. Cheap knockoffs may disguise cheap production. Lots of people will choose to buy from the leader, allowing for profits to Tesla.