The Gigafactory is coming.
Tesla is building the biggest battery factory in the world, in the desert near Reno, Nevada. Here are some of the latest images of the project, taken this week.
At 10 million square feet, this will be one of the biggest industrial factories ever built. Tesla has been secretive about the operations, declining requests to take reporters onto the site. These photos were shot by Bob Tregilus, an electrical-vehicle evangelist and producer of the PlugInAmerica podcast.
“Security is tight out there these days, and one has to drive a considerable distance off road and then hike several miles to get a view,” Tregilus, a Nevada resident, said in an e-mail. After shooting the photos, he was caught in a summer downpour that turned the clay soil into what he calls “Nevada gumbo,” gumming up his car.
In the image above, the buildings in the background are older developments in the 107,000-acre Tahoe-Reno Industrial Center. They include distribution centers for Wal-Mart Stores and PetSmart, according to Google Maps. The green trees to the right grow from the Truckee River, which flows along the I-80 highway.
Gigafactory plans are moving quickly. Full battery-pack production is now on track to begin next year, Musk told analysts on the company's quarterly earnings call on May 6.
Tesla needs those batteries soon. The company plans to launch its first electric SUV, the Model X, in the next two months 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.
Tesla has purchased thousands of acres of property in the Tahoe-Reno Industrial Center near the Gigafactory, much of it with views like these.