It appears that Tesla will be meeting its workforce goals in its Gigafactory New York facility, with the company reportedly only a few hundred workers short of its 1,460 target for April 2020. With this in mind, Tesla seems poised to meet its end of its deal with the state, avoiding a potential $41.2 million penalty in the process.
Tesla’s Giga New York was not originally a facility of the electric car maker. Instead, it was a factory of SolarCity before the company was acquired by Tesla. Giga New York was intended to be a facility for Tesla Energy, producing the company’s flagship residential energy product, the Solar Roof, among others. Tesla received benefits for Giga New York, to the tune of more than $950 million.
Yet, inasmuch as Tesla’s plans for Giga New York were aggressive, the facility and its operations were put aside during the company’s well-documented Model 3 production ramp. Over this time, Tesla shared only a limited amount of information about the Buffalo, NY facility, at one point simply conducting a controlled press tour.
But Tesla is no longer struggling with the Model 3 ramp. Elon Musk’s recent tweets and statements indicate that Tesla is now at a point where it can scale and ramp its energy and solar business. Tesla has released the Solarglass Roof V3 tiles, which are larger than the original Solar Roof and easier to install. Elon Musk has been very supportive of the product, promoting it on his Twitter account and even noting that the shingles will be released in territories beyond the United States such as Europe and China.
For Tesla to accomplish this, Giga New York would have to be working at an optimal pace. According to Assemblyman Sean Ryan (D-Buffalo), and Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown, both of whom were able to tour the facility, this does seem to be the case, with Giga New York now employing over 1,100 workers. That’s a bit over 300 short of its April 2020 goal. Tesla seems intent on hiring even more employees for the facility as well, with Elon Musk mentioning that an upcoming “company talk” will be held at the factory this coming April.
“I was pleasantly surprised. It was encouraging to see solar roofs, batteries and charging stations being built in the facility,” Ryan said. The Buffalo Mayor was even more optimistic after his visit, noting that his confidence in the facility has been raised after seeing the factory’s activities firsthand. “I was impressed. A lot of people working,” Brown said Thursday. My confidence is certainly much higher after taking the tour. It certainly gives me a great sense of confidence that they will meet the goals,” Brown remarked.
True to Elon Musk’s words last year, Tesla appears to be focusing more of its attention and efforts on its energy business. Together with the Solarglass Roof V3, the company has also launched a more aggressively-priced residential solar program, as well as a large scale battery called the Megapack. Propelled by this momentum, Tesla’s Giga New York may soon find itself working at full capacity to meet the company’s demand for its energy products. When this happens, the 1,460-worker target this April might very well be just a drop in the bucket in the grand scheme of things.