An early look at Elon Musk's Gigafactory, a building that could change the world

Tesla gigafactoryTesla MotorsEarly concept art for Tesla’s Gigafactory.

Tesla’s Gigafactory could change the world.

For those unfamiliar, Tesla describes its massive 5.5 million square-foot Gigafactory as a way to “accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable transportation.”

The first Gigafactory, located outside Sparks, Nevada, is an ambitious manufacturing facility that plans to build the batteries for Tesla’s electric cars for the foreseeable future. Tesla wants to build batteries that cost significantly less “using economies of scale, innovative manufacturing, reduction of waste, and the simple optimization of locating most manufacturing process under one roof.”

The Gigafactory is also notable since it will be powered completely by renewable energy, according to Tesla.

Tesla’s first Gigafactory aims to start building battery cells by 2017, reaching full capacity by 2020. But for now, all we can do is view the Gigafactory from the outside. And thanks to a drone pilot and his low-altitude quadrocopter, we can see how construction on the $US5 billion building is coming along.

Here's Tesla's first Gigafactory, located just outside Sparks, Nevada.

YouTube/Black66

Most recently, Tesla spent an estimated $4.5 million to build the first phase of the Gigafactory's roof, according to work permits obtained by the Reno Gazette-Journal.

YouTube/Black66

Tesla expects the roof to be complete by February 2016. Solar panels are coming later, but the white foundation will ensure the roof stays cool, thus optimising the efficiency of the solar panels.

YouTube/Black66

Tesla has spent millions of dollars building the 'trailer city' around the Gigafactory, with several hundred thousand dollars spent on building a fire command center and guard shack, according to work permits.

YouTube/Black66

The Gigafactory's foundation alone cost an estimated $16 million.

YouTube/Black66

This summer, Tesla spent nearly $13 million on the steel and concrete for the building's mezzanine.

YouTube/Black66

The electrical infrastructure for the Gigafactory reportedly cost Tesla about $300,000.

YouTube/Black66

As Tesla puts the finishing touches on the exterior, it will begin building out the building's interior, which aims to be completed by February. The 'architectural interiors' will reportedly cost $10 million.

YouTube/Black66

If you want the full drone's-eye-view experience, check out the video below.

NOW WATCH: Briefing videos

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.