Tesla starts construction on massive plant’s interior
Tesla is turning its attention to interior projects at its Northern Nevada battery manufacturing plant, as it begins construction on an in-house data center, first-phase roofing, and flooring, according to three months of permits filed in Storey County, where the factory is located.
The county recently issued a temporary certificate of occupancy for a small portion of the plant, known as the Gigafactory, to allow Tesla employees to do work inside. The certificate paves the way for the company to prepare manufacturing in a portion of the factory facility, as it continues to build the rest of a plant that will eventually span at least 5.5 million square feet and cost around $5 billion.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk has said that the company could be making cells by 2016, placing it on an accelerated timeline. The company’s website originally predicted cell manufacturing to start in 2017 and for the factory to reach its full capacity by 2020.
The Storey County permits suggest much of the new construction will be completed early next year.
The phase-one roofing, expected to cost $4.5 million, is scheduled for completion in mid-February. Initial electrical infrastructure, expected to cost $300,000, has the same February completion date, according to the Storey County permits. A nearly $13 million project to construct flooring has an estimated completion date of later that month. And $10 million in architectural interiors are also expected to be completed early in February. Construction on most of the interior projects started in September, the Storey County permits show.
While Tesla is known for manufacturing premium electric vehicles, the Gigafactory is a part of Tesla’s efforts to produce a lower-cost product. The Gigafactory is expected to produce low-cost batteries for a mass-market car that Tesla hopes to price at about $35,000.
“We haven’t yet got that mass-market product,” Tesla Vice President Diarmuid O’Connell said at UNLV on Wednesday. “What’s going to help us get to that mass-market product … is going to be the project we’re undertaking outside of Reno at the Gigafactory.”
The lithium-ion battery factory is also expected to play a role in manufacturing batteries for home energy storage.
Storey County also gives Tesla permission to build an interior data center at the Gigafactory.