Behold the Gigafactory.
Tesla is building the biggest battery factory in the world, in the desert near Reno, Nevada. Actually, at 10 million square feet, it won't just be the biggest battery factory in the world—it will be one of the biggest factories in the world, period.
Telsa declined requests for a visit and hasn't brought reporters onto the site. That's why this drone footage of the so-called Gigafactory is so awesome. Shot in high definition by a first-time drone videographer "for fun," it offers the best glimpse yet of how the factory is progressing (we've added the music and text). The scale of the factory images, taken while workers were away from the site, can be deceiving. The finished two-story factory will cover hundreds of acres, according to Tesla.
In a Tweet, CEO Elon Musk said that what the drone footage shows is "not the full Gigafactory, it is just the pilot plant (1/4 size)." Tesla is building the factory in phases, according to spokeswoman Khobi Brooklyn, in order "to begin producing batteries as soon as possible."
Things are moving quickly. The original plans were for battery production to begin in 2017. Tesla has since moved that timeline forward. Full battery-pack production, from beginning to end, is now on track to begin next year, Musk told analysts on the company's quarterly earnings call on May 6.
Quadcopter Visions of the Future
For Tesla, the sooner the better. The company plans to launch its first electric SUV, the Model X, later this year and its more affordable Model 3 in 2017. Tesla's new storage batteries for homes, businesses and utilities have enough demand to soak up a Gigafactory of batteries on their own, according to Musk.
The original drone video, posted on YouTube after it was taken last Sunday, has already had more than 200,000 views—not too shabby for a two-minute flyby of a construction site. The video was filmed from a mile away with a DJI Phantom 3 Professional Quadcopter Drone, according to Emory Peterson, who shot it.
"This video was shot 'for fun,' quite literally my first video ever made," Peterson said in an e-mail. "I merely posted it on my small company (Quick Laptop Cash) YouTube page because it is the only page I have... I'm happy to see it shining a light on our local economy."
Peterson's local economy is about to get bigger. The finished factory is expected to employ roughly 6,500 people when it's fully up and running.
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