Tesla Gigafactory Pulls New Permits, Construction Costs Surpass $1.3B

2 weeks ago by Steven Loveday 34

Tesla Gigafactory

Tesla Gigafactory January 2018

It has been nearly a year since we’ve reported specifics regarding Tesla Gigafactory permitting and construction, but we’ve finally secured an official update.

A year ago, we published building permit information from BuildZoom showing Tesla Gigafactory permits exceeding some $1 billion. Not long after that, a few more permits were filed related to the Section G expansion, which now appears complete (at least from the outside). Below is a photo from about a year ago that further emphasizes the progress shown in the photo above:

Tesla Gigacfactory

Tesla Gigafactory January 2017

BuildZoom just pored over 2017 permits to get an idea of new developments related to the Gigafactory. The source points out that a majority of the structural work was permitted and completed prior to 2017, however, the year still brought 255 new permits. Of those 255, 112 are for new construction amounting to $379.9 million that wasn’t previously reported.

These 112 “new” permits primarily apply to work inside of the factory’s initial footprint and/or as supplemental construction or addendums to a prior permit. In fact, 50 of the 112 permits apply to an addendum, which collectively combine to increase anticipated construction costs by $165.6 million. Some are as simple as the installation of traditional manufacturing equipment, while others are for high tech contraptions that are clearly Tesla-specific. BuildZoom lists the most interesting of these additions, along with associated costs and dates (where applicable):

A metrology lab (November 8, 2017)
A brazing oven to automate metal joining (November 8, 2017)
$179,850 for a hazmat building addendum (November 1, 2017)
$13.7M for hot oil skid systems to store and transfer heat fluids (March 13, 2017)
$10.8M for air separation yards to separate atmospheric air into elemental components
$2.6M for chiller yards to remove heat from liquids

The 20 most expensive permits for 2017 are listed below:

Tesla Gigafactory

Tesla Gigafactory Updates – Top-20 Most Expensive Permits in 2017

Source: BuildZoom, 2

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34 responses to "Tesla Gigafactory Pulls New Permits, Construction Costs Surpass $1.3B"

  1. Mark Z says:

    Leeper, you are right!

    The text indicates, “Below is a photo from about a year ago…”

    Thanks to Steven for the update on the Gigafactory.

  2. Roy_H says:

    I have to admit that I do not understand what many of the items are, but these two stood out for me.

    “A metrology lab (November 8, 2017)”
    So what could this give Tesla that they can’t get from the local weather bureau?

    “$10.8M for air separation yards to separate atmospheric air into elemental components”
    What elements do they need from the air?
    Nitrogen? Oxygen? Do they need these to make batteries?

    1. G2 says:

      Perhaps the meteorology lab is more a climate simulation bay?

    2. GeorgeS says:

      Yes air separation is interesting!

      1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

        That’s a good question. Why does Gigafactory One need a plant “to separate atmospheric air into elemental components”?

        Wikipedia’s “Air separation” article says:

        Large amounts of oxygen are required for coal gasification projects; cryogenic plants producing 3000 tons/day are found in some projects. In steelmaking oxygen is required for the basic oxygen steelmaking. Large amounts of nitrogen with low oxygen impurities are used for inerting storage tanks of ships and tanks for petroleum products, or for protecting edible oil products from oxidation.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Air_separation#Applications

        None of that appears to coincide with what Panasonic and Tesla are doing at Gigafactory One.

        I do know that certain high-tech manufacturing processes need to be done in an oxygen-free, pure nitrogen atmosphere. So my guess is that certain parts of Panasonic’s cell manufacturing require that.

        Pure speculation on my part, though.

        1. Brad Allen says:

          Actually a lot of what you quoted from wikipedia seems related: They use steel in their products; but in chemistry, there are always lots of uses for all sorts of things. Air is a resource, so I would not be at all surprised that a chemist wants to use it. I hope they don’t use it all up, is my only main comment.

    3. Dude says:

      I would suggest, that metrology is something different than meteorology.
      Metrology is the science of measurement.
      So Tesla wants to measure the gaps of their panels in a better way 😉

      1. SJC says:

        It is better if someones understands the word before commenting.

        1. jimjfox says:

          Yes, indeed! Maybe USA clinging to “Imperial units” has confused some? Metrology has not much to do with the weather!

      2. Roy_H says:

        Thanks for the correction.

    4. HVACman says:

      A plant of this size and complexity would require all sorts of gasses that can be extracted from “air”.

      O2 for running plasma cutters producing sheet steel parts and pieces for battery modules and packs.

      CO2 is used for all sorts of things. Steel welding as a adjunct shielding gas (again, battery pack frame assembly). Cryogenic cooling processes. The factory break room soda-dispensing machine:)

      Many copper brazing processes are done in a nitrogen atmosphere, which eliminates oxidation issues during the process and keeps the copper “clean” and uncontaminated. Copper brazing for medical gas piping or for refrigerant lines, for example. This could be part of the copper winding process for motor assembly.

      Argon and Helium are inert gasses used as a shielding gas for welding aluminum and steel. Welding aluminum module pieces into frames. It is likely that the welding wire process that connects wires between all the cells to their aluminum current collectors requires an inert gas bath.

      With the volumes of gas required, it only makes sense to make your own rather than buy it from the local gas vendor.

    5. Brad Allen says:

      Probably metrology is not meterology. My first guess is metering, i.e., measuring, but I’m probably wrong.

    6. Dav8or says:

      Geezus Christ! Can’t you people read??! It says Metrology, NOT Meteorology. Metrology is about measurements. Precise measurements to an international standard.

      They want to calibrate their equipment themselves and not contract it out. Pretty simple and straight forward.

    7. I worked in the semiconductor industry (first in production and then engineering) for many years. Metrology refers to the Metrics of the parts they produce, using from plain microscopes to very sophisticated and very expensive scanning electron microscopes (SEM) to assure that the critical dimensions (transistor gates, capacitors, etc) of the parts on the wafer are within specs.
      As for air handlers I’d assume is for almost total air purification need to produce working parts unless in Tesla’s case it is something different.

  3. G2 says:

    All the new work is good news. Anyone know when the roof gets its solar panel farm?

  4. Mister G says:

    GO TESLA GO DESTROY DIRTY GAS GUZZLERS AND DIESELS LOL CONNECT THE DOTS ON CLEAN AIR WAKE UP FOLKS
    On February 10th we hit 410 ppm of CO2 NOT GOOD BELIEVE ME

    1. Whatever says:

      Posts like this make me want to buy a Diesel pickup truck and roll coal.

      1. Mister G says:

        Please do and to make it more exciting make a family member place their face at the exhaust pipe as you floor the accelerator and make sure they close their eyes mouth open LOL CONNECT THE DOTS ON CLEAN AIR WAKE UP PULL YOUR HEAD OUT OF YOUR STINKHOLE LOL

    2. Murrysville EV says:

      I’m all for clean air, but why should I care about 410 ppm of CO2 when it was 10x higher 500 million years ago?

      1. Mister G says:

        Where are you getting your figures? Fox news, infowars, your stinkhole? Ice core data goes back only 800,000 years CONNECT THE DOTS ON CLEAN AIR WAKE UP

        1. Another Euro point of view says:

          As I had no clue if Murrysville was correct I did a 10 min. crosscheck from various sources and figured out that what he wrote is indeed correct. I guess however that throwing around stupid comments in capital letters requires a lot less efforts.

          1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

            It’s correct. Of course, no mammals were around 400 million years ago, so we’re not adapted to that level of CO2. Saying “Well, there was X amount of this gas in the atmosphere XX millions of years ago, so it’s natural and therefore okay” is a pretty silly argument. It’s also “natural” for volcanoes to emit poisonous gases, but that doesn’t mean you’ll survive long if you breathe them in high concentrations!

            More importantly, the current level of CO2 in the atmosphere is causing acidification of the oceans, which is greatly contributing to an ongoing mass extinction of plants and animals, most obviously in the die-offs of coral reefs worldwide.

            Or, to put it bluntly, the human species is violating the “Don’t sh!t in your own nest” rule.

            1. Another Euro point of view says:

              We have indeed a big problem with those rising level of C02 and we should do all we can to decrease or curb this increase. Now as a matter of fact 500 millions years ago carbon dioxide level were much higher as compared to now but also fauna was much different then so we may agree that people using this fact to downplay how harmful current CO2 increase could be are of course wrong.

          2. Mister G says:

            Name one source.

            1. Big Solar says:

              the problem is particulates, not CO2 right?

            2. Another Euro point of view says:

              https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cambrian

              Period Murrysville is referring to (500 millions years ago) is named “cambrian”.

              There was at time a level of carbon dioxide of around 4’500ppm so indeed 10 times what we have now.

              Here a source:

              https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cambrian

              It indicates the C02 level on the right side .

              If that is not enough, another link from Yale university:

              https://e360.yale.edu/features/how-the-world-passed-a-carbon-threshold-400ppm-and-why-it-matters

              Here an excerpt from that research.

              “Some 500 million years ago, when the number of living things in the oceans exploded and creatures first stepped on land, the ancient atmosphere happened to be rich with about 7,000 ppm of carbon dioxide. Earth was very different back then: the Sun was cooler, our planet was in a different phase of its orbital cycles, and the continents were lumped together differently, changing ocean currents and the amount of ice on land.”

              Again, takes much more time than throwing non sense comments on the internet. I am not saying that rising C02 is not a problem. It is a big problem. All I am saying is that factuallly, Murrysvile was correct.

      2. Brad Allen says:

        500 million years ago you might have not survived that atmosphere.

      3. arne-nl says:

        Because sea levels were 70 m higher maybe?

        Who cares what it was 500 million years ago? 4 billion years ago the planet’s surface was above a thousand degrees. As far as I know, Earth survived just fine. But would you?

        It’s a lot smarter to ask yourself: “What will 410 ppm do to us NOW?” And: “What will 500, 600, 700 ppm do to us in the near future?”

      4. Someone out there says:

        Because the earth is very different now from 500 million years ago. We have a completely different flora and fauna which is adapted to today’s levels of CO2 and not the 500 million years ago level.

      5. jimjfox says:

        TROLL.

  5. Shane says:

    Calling Reno/Sparks drone pilots: Get lots of likes just by posting some recent Gigafactory pics.

  6. Dr. Steelgood says:

    My Netatmo shows 478 ppm co2 currently in my living room to be in the green arc. I am not a chemist, so up to now I thought that would be good.

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