Tesla is working hard to finish the Gigafactory in time for the Model 3 roll-out. To take care of demand for its less expensive car and power its new vehicles, the EV firm is scrambling to wrap up its gigantic $5 billion battery production ahead of schedule.
Tesla employing more workers
Tesla has multiplied the number of workers developing the Gigafactory, which sits on more than 3,000 acres close to Reno, Nevada. Presently, 1,000 laborers work seven days a week on two shifts with an end goal of producing lithium-particle cells by mid-2017, according to The Wall Street Journal.
“We got to be ready with the cell and the pack production ahead of vehicle production,” Tesla Chief Technical Officer and Co-founder JB Straubel told the media outlet during a walk-through of the factory. “We are gathering speed in picking up the pace of our construction plans and our planned ramp up for cell production.”
The objective is to have the factory fully-equipped and outfitted before next year’s launch of the $35,000 sedan, which is about half the base price of the Model S. Earlier this year, the EV firm began taking bookings for the Model 3, and solid interest drove Tesla CEO Elon Musk to pull ahead their 500,000 sales target by two years to 2018. The automaker also raised $1.7 billion through a stock offering with expectations of accelerating battery production, thus bringing down battery expenses for the electric vehicles.
Struggling to find qualified workers
Presently, the Gigafcatory’s structure is less than one-sixth of the size the final building is expected to occupy. Most exterior walls are temporary and can be relocated. The four-story rectangular portion housing 1.9 million square-feet of floor space has already been completed.
For its storage business, Tesla has started creating battery packs but is importing the battery cells from Panasonic. Musk expects the new plant to be fit for creating an aggregate of 105 gigawatt-hours of battery cells by 2020. Panasonic has committed up to $1.6 billion to the plant. According to Joe Taylor, chief executive of Panasonic North America, the company is struggling to find qualified workers with manufacturing abilities.
“We are running around like crazy hiring people,” the executive said.
The Japanese giant is looking after the management of cell manufacturing and pulled forward the installation of equipment.
In recent weeks, Musk has laid out plans for including heavier vehicles and an energy-storage business to merge Tesla’s battery business with SolarCity. Musk, being chairman of SolarCity, CEO of Tesla, and the largest shareholder of both companies, has proposed a $2.8 billion merger.