Tesla MotorsElon Musk has lofty ambitions for Tesla during the next few years.
By 2017, the company aims to begin production of its more affordable Model 3. And by 2020 it plans to ramp up production to build as many as 500,000 vehicles per year, an ambitious goal considering the company currently only produces about 50,000 vehicles a year.
For any of this to be possible, though, Tesla must first complete its Gigafactory, a giant battery plant appropriately located in Sparks, Nevada on Electric Avenue.
While the plant isn't expected to be complete until next year, Tesla and Musk have already revealed quite a few details about the factory that are pretty mind blowing.
Here’s a look at the 12 most incredible facts that have been revealed about the Gigafactory so far.
The factory is located on a plot of land that is more than three times the size of Central Park.
The factory is located in Storey County, Nevada on a 3,000 acre lot of land.
The original site was 1,000 acres, but in June 2015, the company purchased an additional 1,864 acres of adjacent land.
The purchase will enable the company to expand the size of the factory by 50 or 100 times, Musk has said.
The factory itself is also huge and may get even bigger.
The Tesla Gigafactory is shown under construction outside Reno, Nevada May 9, 2015. Picture taken May 9, 2015. REUTERS/James Glover IIReuters/James Glover
Currently, the factory is 71 feet tall and stretches for more than 5.5 million square feet, or the equivalent of 126 acres.
To put that into perspective, that is more than 95 football fields. It’s so big, in fact that, Musk even gets blown away when he visits the plant.
“It will blow your mind. You see it in person and then realize, F---, this is big," Musk recently told Fast Company.
It’s so big, in fact, that it will be the world’s second-largest building.
Construction site of Tesla's new 'Gigafactory' near Reno, Nevada. Bob Tregilus
By 2020, total planned floor space is 13.6 million square feet.
Once it’s complete, it will be the second largest building by footprint. It will only be slightly smaller the Boeing’s Everett, Washington, plant, which is the world’s largest building by volume.
It is built to sustain earthquakes.
According to a recent Fast Company report, the factory is composed of four different structures built on four separate foundations so that it can better withstand earthquakes.
According to the Reno-Gazette Journal, Tesla spent an estimated $16 million on the foundation alone.
It will make Tesla’s next car much more affordable.
According to Tesla’s website, the giant factory will help it dramatically cut the cost of its batteries by “using economies of scale, innovative manufacturing, reduction of waste, and the simple optimization of locating most manufacturing process under one roof.”
Once the factory is fully operational by 2020, Tesla estimates the factory will enable it to reduce its battery prices by about 30%.
The lowered cost of the batteries will enable the company to price its Model 3 at about $35,000.
Old trains will come into the factory in their entirety and come out as batteries.
Though Tesla hasn’t revealed all of the ways it will reach “extreme economies of scale” at the Gigafactory, we know that recycling will be a huge part of the effort. So much so that Tesla will do things that no other battery manufacturer has ever done before, Musk said recently at the Baron investors' conference.
“We will bring in trains that come out as batteries,” Musk recently said during the Baron’s investors conference, though he didn't go into detail about the plans.
Everything will be recycled.
Tesla Motors Model S baseWikipedia/Oleg Alexandrov
Old trains won't be the only thing recycled, though.
The factory will be decked out with a state-of-the-art recycling system and will provide recycling capability for old battery packs.
It will be completely powered by renewable energy.
The factory will create all of the energy it needs.
Solar panels will line the roof of the factory and additional panels will be placed on surrounding hilltops to capture more energy.
The company will also utilize geothermal and wind power to meet energy demands.
It will be the largest lithium-ion battery factory in the world.
Tesla is already the biggest consumer of lithium ion on the planet, surpassing even device manufacturers like Apple and Samsung. But it will soon also become the biggest producer of lithium ion batteries.
Tesla aims to build 500,000 cars per year by the later half of this decade, but long-term Musk recently said that he thinks that number could reach into the millions.
To power all of those cars, the company will produce more battery cells at its plant by 2020 than all of the lithium-ion battery makers combined created in 2013.
It will cost Tesla and its partners billions.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk overseeing the construction of Gigafactory Flickr / Steve Jurvetson
Tesla and its partners will collectively invest a total of $5 billion into the factory by 2020. Tesla itself will directly invest about $2 billion in the Gigafactory.
More than 6,000 employees will work at the facility.
Once the factory is finished in 2020, it will house some 6,500 employees.
According to Tesla's website, the company has already started hiring for some positions at the facility, including people who work in human resources and engineering technicians.
It will be shaped like a diamond and be aesthetically pleasing.
Just like with Tesla's vehicles, a lot of attention is being given to the factory's design.
"We are taking care to make sure that it looks good, that it fits in with the surroundings. It's a factory, but we care about aesthetics," Musk said during a press conference in Nevada.
"So the factory will actually be shaped like a diamond and the reason for that is if you make it a box shape, we would have had to move a lot more Earth. So in order to have it fit more in the environment, we had it shaped like a diamond," he said.
The factory is also aligned on true north so that Tesla can map out where the equipment is going to be by GPS and so the solar panels on the roof are properly aligned.
"I think it's kind of romantic to say that it is shaped like a diamond and aligned on the true north, but there are practical reasons for it as well," Musk said during the conference.