Tesla’s giant battery factory, which hopes to accelerate the global transition to sustainable mass transportation, is gearing up for production.
During a Solar City event in New York City on Friday, CEO Elon Musk said Tesla’s Gigafactory received its certificate of occupancy on Thursday and will begin producing its first lithium-ion cells by spring.
The factory, which will make lithium-ion batteries for Tesla’s vehicles, broke ground in June 2014 and was originally expected to begin production in 2017, according to Tesla’s website.
The Gigafactory will reach full capacity by 2020 and will produce more lithium-ion batteries annually than were produced worldwide in 2013, Tesla states on its site.
Tesla aims to build 500,000 cars per year over the next five years. This new battery factory, which is located just outside of Sparks, Nevada, will help make that all possible. It will also enable the company to build its first mass market car, the Tesla Model 3, which will reportedly be priced at around $US35,000.
In September, Musk said Tesla will reveal the Model 3 in March 2016, but will not begin production until the following year.
Tesla partnered with Panasonic and other companies to help with production at its Gigafactory. The carmaker has also been signing deals recently with firms developing lithium mines: Just last month, Pure Energy Minerals announced it had signed a deal with Tesla to develop a lithium mine in Nevada. And in August, Tesla signed a deal with the mining companies Bacanora Minerals and Rare Earth Minerals to buy lithium from their proposed mining sites in Mexico.
Tesla’s Gigafactory will be completely self-powered by solar, wind, and geothermal energy. It will also have its own recycling plant onsite.
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