Tesla’s Gigafactory Nevada has achieved an incredible milestone. As seen in an image recently shared online, the expansive battery facility has formally produced its 1 millionth battery pack. This is a notable achievement, especially considering the uphill battle that Tesla and its battery partner, Panasonic, had to go through to ramp the facility’s battery production activities.
A picture of Gigafactory Nevada’s 1,000,000th battery was posted on the r/TeslaMotors subreddit. The special occasion was commemorated by the Giga Nevada team, with the battery pack being signed by numerous employees. A sign that read, “We have officially built 1,000,000 packs at Gigafactory Nevada,” could also be seen in the image.
Since starting its battery production activities in January 2017, Gigafactory Nevada has played a key role in Tesla’s overall operations. The facility does not produce vehicles, but it manufactures powertrains and 2170 battery cells for the Model 3 and Model Y, Tesla’s two mass-market cars. When it was initially pitched by CEO Elon Musk, however, the skepticism surrounding Gigafactory Nevada was notable.
It should be noted that Giga Nevada was announced by Tesla at a time when the company was only producing the Model S, a mid-volume EV. And while the Model S was an impressive car that proved that EVs could be better than comparable combustion-powered cars, there were still evident reservations about whether the demand for EVs is long-term or not. This, at least for skeptics, made a capital-intensive facility such as Giga Nevada very risky.
These reservations were outlined by the MIT Technology Review in 2014, with the publication stating that “electric car sales so far come nowhere close to justifying” Giga Nevada’s construction.
“Musk is betting that Tesla can generate a much bigger market for electric cars. To keep the factory humming, he will have to sell more than 10 times as many electric vehicles in a year as Nissan managed last year (and Nissan has sold more electric cars than any other automaker). Musk has some reason for confidence—last year Tesla sold as many electric cars as Nissan in the United States, even though Tesla’s Model S costs two to three times as much as Nissan’s electric car, the Leaf.
“He seems to be betting that a huge factory will significantly reduce the cost of making batteries, which remain the most expensive part of electric cars. In the ideal scenario, that cost reduction would help Tesla produce a mass-market car similar in cost to the Nissan Leaf or Chevrolet Volt but that, crucially, will be able to go more than twice as far on a charge (the car would also be able to accelerate faster than the Leaf),” the Review noted back then.
Tesla, of course, proved its skeptics wrong, particularly when the Model 3 proved itself as a massive hit. With the Model 3 becoming the world’s best-selling electric car, it was no surprise that the Model Y, its crossover sibling that also sources its batteries and powertrains from Giga Nevada, also became a formidable competitor in the auto market. With this in mind, Giga Nevada would likely remain extremely busy for years to come, and there’s a good chance that its 2 millionth battery pack would be manufactured in the near future.
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