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. At the Gigafactory, Tesla and Panasonic have begun 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 now 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. The phased approach also allows Tesla to learn and continuously improve construction and operational techniques. Already, the current structure has a footprint of 1.9 million square feet, which houses 4.9 million square feet of operational space across several floors. And this is still less than 30 percent done. Once complete, Tesla expects the Gigafactory to be the biggest building in the world.
With the Gigafactory online and ramping up production, Tesla's 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.
Finally, bringing cell production to the U.S. allows Tesla 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.
Formore see Lithium-ion Batteries 2016-2026
Source and top image: Tesla
Learn more at the next leading event on the topic: Energy Storage Innovations Europe 2017 on 10 - 11 May 2017 in Berlin, Germany hosted by IDTechEx.