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: Tesla Motors Gigafactory Unveiling in Storey County, NV

Tesla Motors Gigafactory Unveiling in Storey County, NV

07 Aug

Tesla Motors staged its first public unveiling of the company’s Gigafactory, a lithium-ion battery manufacturing plant at the Tahoe Reno Industrial Park in Storey County, Nevada on July 29, 2016.

Chairman of the Board and CEO Elon Musk, accompanied by Chief Technical Officer J.B. Straubel, addressed the visitors during the opening ceremonies:

https://www.tesla.com/videos/tesla-gigafactory-grand-opening

The completed gigafactory will have a footprint of 6 million square feet. Tesla Motors claims it will become the building with the largest footprint in the world. The factory construction is now 14 percent completed and already producing Power Wall and Power Pack battery storage products for the Tesla Energy division of Tesla Motors.

When fully built out by 2018, the gigafactory should produce about 50 GigaWatt-hours of lithium-ion battery storage per year, enough energy modules to build 500,000 Tesla Motors Model 3 cars each year. Full capacity is estimated at 150 Gigawatt-hours, or enough battery cells to complete battery packs for 1.5 million Tesla Motors Model 3 cars per year.

Raw materials like lithium carbonate powder, solvent, rolls of raw metal components, and other ingredients are brought into the the factory and rapidly processed by robots and automated machinery working with skilled human technicians to produce battery cells.

After assembly, the cells are formed and aged by the application of electric current to their internal chemistry. Quality of each cell is monitored by automated test equipment and supervised by human test engineers.

Final pack assembly includes integration of battery management electronics and cooling systems within the module of interconnected cells

By consolidating all processes for the manufacture and testing of the lithium-ion battery cells and storage packs under one roof, while also scaling up the volume of production to billions of cells per year, Tesla Motors hopes to drive down the cost per kilowatt-hour of its battery packs by at least 30% to $100 per kilowatt-hour.

The Tesla Model 3 electric car will have a battery pack of 60 kilowatt-hours, so the cost of each pack will need to be $6000, in order to make a profit on a vehicle that will have a base sales price of $35,000.

Musk emphasized that the gigafactory should be conceived as a giant machine that would create many other machines, so the efficiency and speed of the factory, as well as its flow of input supply chain materials and components, are even more important than the design of the final product.

Lithium-ion battery materials can also be recycled once a battery pack has reached end of life, so efficient recycling processes will also help diminish raw material costs over time at the gigafactory.

The facility will also have a low carbon footprint, harnessing a large-scale photovoltaic solar farm on the roof of the factory, coupled with lithium-ion battery storage systems to offset factory energy consumption. Water will also be conserved as pneumatic air plumbing and other efficiency features should minimize water usage.

Musk noted that Tesla Motors now has a building construction division with construction engineers and development teams that are focused on building efficient factories and other commercial structures.

This industry expansion aligns with a recent announcement that Tesla Motors is planning to purchase SolarCity for $2.6 billion in stock, pending approval by the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The integration of photovoltaic rooftop panels, lithium-ion battery storage systems, and electric vehicles creates a combined energy and transportation company that can realize even more efficiency for its customers.

Elon Musk announced that Tesla Motors will develop its own smart inverter systems for commercial buildings that convert DC power from photovoltaic solar panels and lithium-ion storage batteries into a continuous flow of AC power to a commercial building or residential home.

The smart inverter technology is based on the inverter electronics systems that are used to drive the AC electric motor in Tesla Motors cars from the lithium-ion DC battery power pack under the floorboard in its vehicles.

Tesla Motors Supercharger Station Unveiling in Reno, NV

While visitors were touring the new gigafactory in Storey County, another group of people gathered in Reno, NV at the Atlantis Resort and Casino to unveil the latest Tesla Motors Supercharger station in that nearby city.

Tesla Motors continues to build out its Supercharger network across the country and recently added more sites in Nevada along US Highway 95 in Beatty, Tonopah, and Hawthorne.

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Beatty Supercharger Installation now active on US Highway 95.

Beatty Supercharger Installation now active on US Highway 95.

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Supercharger sites along interstate highway I-80 also include Lovelock, Winnemucca, Elko, and West Wendover.

Supercharger sites along interstate highway I-50 have also begun with the first installation in Gardnerville.

Supercharger sites along interstate highway I-15 include Primm at the California/Nevada stateline and downtown Las Vegas at Bridger Street and Eighth Street.

A map of Supercharger locations across the country and in Nevada can be found at this company webpage:

https://www.tesla.com/supercharger

This network of high-power recharging stations will allow Tesla Model S and Model X owners to travel more quickly between Las Vegas and Reno, as well as to California. A Supercharger can replenish a Tesla Model S or Model X 85 kilowatt-hour battery pack with 240 miles of range in about one hour.

The new Tesla Motors Model 3 will also be equipped to use the Supercharger network, but owners may have to pay for this amenity due to the electric vehicle’s reduced purchase cost.

Blog posted by Stan Hanel, NEVA Outreach Coordinator

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