Tesla Gigafactory Nevada was the first-ever Gigafactory that Tesla built.
It was built out of necessity owing to the sheer volume of batteries that Tesla needed for their foreseeable production of electric vehicles. Because Tesla was way ahead of its time, there was no supply of batteries. So, they decided to build their own factory.
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What Does The Term Gigafactory Mean?
It may seem like something Elon Musk just conjured out of thin air, but the Gigafactory name actually makes sense.
The term Giga is actually derived from the Greek for “giant” and means billions. In Tesla’s case, it is used to label a factory that is able to produce “Gigawatts” of batteries.
Tesla’s stated goal with Giga Nevada was to produce at least 20 GW (Gigawatts) of battery capacity for its vehicle and stationary storage products.
Interestingly, Elon Musk is already talking today, in 2022, of Terafactories which are their next Gigafactories that will be able to produce Terawatts of battery capacity – such as in Austin, Texas.
They are still called Gigafactories, but they are going to be a whole lot bigger!
Where Is Giga Nevada?
Electric Ave, Sparks, Nevada 89437, United States
Giga Nevada appears in photos as if it is built in the middle of the desert but is actually in the Tahoe Reno Industrial Centre (TRIC) outside Sparks, Nevada. It is actually only some 20 miles from Reno, Nevada, with easy access to an airport.
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How Many People Does Giga Nevada Employ?
Since the factory opened on July 29, 2016, the exact employee count in Gigafactory Nevada has changed a lot.
The latest official count at the end of 2019 was over 7000 people employed at Giga Nevada. This information was taken from a Nevada Governor’s Office Report of official employees both in the Tesla and Panasonic areas of the factory. Controlling how many people were employed was important for Nevada as they gave Tesla some subsidies for this project.
Is Giga Nevada Complete?
Officially, Giga Nevada is only around 30% complete when compared to the original plans.
And given that many of the new battery production facilities are being built either at Kato Road in Freemont or in the new Gigafactories in Texas and Berlin, it is unlikely it will grow significantly from today.
However, one saving grace is perhaps the Tesla Semi production facility at the back of the factory. It is only in its infancy and will likely grow once production scales in the coming years.
What Does Giga Nevada Make
Gigafactory Nevada was originally conceived to make batteries for Tesla. However, over time it has expanded to create all of the following:
- Panasonic product Litihium-ion batteries on site
- Tesla produce battery packs for their for vehicles
- Batteries are also used for Powerwalls and Megapack stationary storage
- Vehicle components such as electric motors are also produced here
- Tesla Semi is in limited production on site
As you can see, although batteries are what Gigafactory Nevada was built for, this factory has come to have a multitude of talents. The latest of which is apparent with the installation of Megachargers for the Semis that have been produced for Pepsi last year.
Is Giga Nevada Running On 100% Renewables?
Since its inception, Tesla Gigafactory Nevada was always planned to be 100% renewable.
A combination of both wind and solar is installed on site and delivers power to the factory.
The current factory is only about 30% of what was planned, and the solar array on the roof has also been scaled back in 2021 to plans of around 30MW instead of the original 70MW. However, given the factory is nothing like the size it was planned to be, perhaps that is enough? We have no official word on exactly what percentage of their power usage is renewable at Giga Nevada.
You can see from a Google Maps satellite view today that the roof is barely covered compared to the planned 100% you see in the image at the top of this post!
However, by August of 2021 when the following drone flyover was done, the roof had significantly more solar panels installed.