The electric vehicle revolution is well underway, and huge EV factories are becoming increasingly common. Tesla’s Elon Musk coined the term “Gigafactory” to refer to the huge facilities where Tesla churns out vehicles and batteries.
Tesla’s Gigafactories are monstrous and are responsible for producing many of the electric vehicles you see on the road today. Tesla has invested heavily in establishing its Gigafactories all over the world, and these expansive facilities are jam-packed with amazing tech.
What Is a Gigafactory?
Gigafactory is a term that Elon Musk supposedly coined. He allegedly made a comment referencing that a gigafactory was needed to meet the insane levels of demand for Model 3.
Giga refers to a billion of something, and “gigafactories” use the prefix to refer to the output that these monstrous facilities can churn out in terms of total battery capacity.
This means that for a factory to qualify as a gigafactory, it must have a total output of at least one GWh of total battery capacity yearly. This figure equates to roughly 14k vehicles produced if you consider that each one has an average battery capacity of 70 kWh.
This is a very big number indeed, but Tesla outpaces this number handily every year. Tesla’s Gigafactories are enormous production facilities that arose out of a necessity to ramp up manufacturing of their vehicle lineup, especially due to the ever-increasing demand.
1. Renewable Energy
According to Tesla, its original Gigafactory, located in Nevada, will be mostly powered by solar energy, and the aim is to make it a net-zero facility.
Tesla is doing everything in its power to not only bring clean cars to the market but also create a green manufacturing process. It’s very important that the emissions related to creating electric vehicles are kept to a minimum, especially because EVs are supposed to be products that ultimately save the environment.
Creating electric vehicles that emit fewer gases than traditional cars is not enough; it’s also necessary to curb emissions during the entire EV supply chain and manufacturing process. This is something that Tesla is working towards by powering its Gigafactory with clean energy.
Other EV manufacturers are using renewable materials in EV interiors, which will also help curb the wastefulness surrounding the manufacturing process of electric vehicles.
2. Automated Robots
Gigafactory Nevada uses tons of robots to accomplish a variety of tasks that would otherwise involve human labor. One of the most important types is the automated guided vehicle (AGV), which moves around the factory transporting battery cells from the Panasonic battery division to the Tesla section of the manufacturing space.
Other types of robots help with various tasks around a Tesla Gigafactory, such as the robotic arms that Tesla uses in its assembly line. It’s clear Tesla is all in on automation, but the Gigafactory still has human employees who perform vital tasks.
The reason there are still humans working the assembly lines. Despite Tesla’s best efforts to automate most processes, humans are still better at performing certain specific tasks better than robots.
Regardless, this is very telling of the state of human importance in the world of manufacturing. Every chance that presents itself to automate a process, the company will take it. The only reason humans still work some assembly lines is that machines can’t perform the human-assigned task efficiently—for the time being.
3. The Completed Gigafactory Nevada Will Be the Largest Building in the World
As big as the Gigafactory Nevada is in its current state, Tesla says the building isn’t even close to finished. According to Tesla’s estimates, the building is currently around 30% complete, which indicates how massive the finished product will be.
Gigafactory Nevada is currently around 1.9 million square feet, but the facility is much bigger when you take into account the total space contained in the factory.
Already, the current structure has a footprint of more than 1.9 million square feet, which houses approximately 5.3 million square feet of operational space across several floors.
Tesla has said that the facility will be the world’s biggest building when complete, which is a tall order. It will be interesting to see if Tesla can deliver on its promise of finishing Gigafactory Nevada and making it the colossal building it envisioned.
This is no easy task, though, because Tesla is also building Gigafactories worldwide, and focusing all of its attention on the Nevada facility seems impossible. As a result, it’s easy to criticize Tesla for overpromising and failing to deliver on many of its goals.
But this is a company that wasn’t even making cars in the early 2000s, and the way it has ramped up production is nothing short of miraculous. Other vehicle startups’ struggles are even more proof of Tesla’s brilliance in the EV sector.
4. Gigafactory Texas Is Producing 3,000 Model Y Teslas Per Week
Tesla is ramping up production, and the Texas Gigafactory is an important part of Tesla’s ability to churn out as many EVs as possible. For example, Gigafactory Austin manufactures the Tesla Model Y, and the factory has been able to ramp up production to 3,000 Model Ys per week, which is a huge milestone. Obviously, Tesla is very proud of the production capabilities it has been able to build from the ground up.
5. The 9,000 Pound Giga-Press
Tesla will manufacture the Cybertruck in its Gigafactory Austin facility. Special machines are required to produce such a massive vehicle and reach Tesla’s high-efficiency standards.
Tesla actually ordered a huge Giga-Press from an Italian company, IDRA Group, which is the world’s largest.
This enormous machine makes the production process more efficient. Since Tesla has an insane number of reservations for Cybertruck, it’s no surprise it’s going all out to ensure that manufacturing the Cybertruck is as streamlined as possible.
Tesla Has Changed the Way We Think About Factories
Before Tesla, nobody was ever interested in car factories. Factories were boring manufacturing facilities that assembled vehicles behind the scenes. But Tesla has made factories cool. Now, other automobile manufacturers are also scrambling to get in on the gigafactory craze.
Technology Explained,Electric Car,Automotive Technology,Transportation,Travel,Batteries