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I'm driving up to the Tesla Gigafactory right now, located outside of Reno, Nevada.
It's huge, you can already see it from what feels like a mile away.
It's that signature Tesla red, that's outlining the top of the production facility.
Let's go check it out.
I'm getting rare access inside Tesla's Gigafactory.
The name originates from the word 'Giga,' the unit of measurement representing 'billion.'
And, as it suggests, the building is ginormous.
Right now it's about 5.3 million square feet of operational space.
Its current footprint is the equivalent to about 33 American football fields.
And it's not finished yet either.
Elon Musk, Tesla's co-founder and CEO, has referred to the Gigafactory as
the “machine that builds the machine,”
and it's all part of his master plan to make electric cars more affordable.
It's planning to do that by mass producing its own batteries.
Tesla says it currently produces more batteries in terms of kilowatts per hour
than all other carmakers combined, making up about 60% of the world's lithium-ion batteries.
As big as the building looks behind me, it only represents about
30% of the entire facility when it's fully built out.
It really does feel like we're in the wild here, you have wild horses over on my right.
Even where I parked my car will eventually be more of the production facility.
There's 7,000 employees working on site here, things are really only just getting started.
Once completed, Tesla's Gigafactory here is expected to be the largest building in the world by footprint.
And while Tesla already has factories in California and New York,
this is the first one that it's completely built from scratch.
There are also plans to add Gigafactories to Europe and China.
At the start of the year, construction began on a third Gigafactory in Shanghai.
There's actually more spots for expectant mothers than just visitors.
Tesla's Model 3, an electric sedan, is the company's first mass market vehicle.
Yet production here at the Gigafactory has encountered delays and some quality issues,
which means output has fallen below expectations.
Being able to smooth things out here, is seen as imperative for Tesla.
Before I enter the production facility, I have to wear these safety glasses and these safety boots as well.
This factory produces Model 3 electric motors and battery packs,
along with Tesla's energy storage products, Powerwall and Powerpack.
Panasonic is Tesla's exclusive battery cell supplier for Model 3
and its plant is technically part of the Gigafactory.
This is where I start my tour.
This is the area where Panasonic and Tesla meet.
So all day long, these vehicles are delivering battery cells from Panasonic to Tesla,
dropping them off and then going back to Panasonic to pick up more.
The entire process is completely automated, there's no human labor in this process.
Each Model 3 vehicle requires more than 4,000 battery cells.
And after the battery cells are assembled into modules, the modules are then assembled into packs.
The handoff between Panasonic and Tesla occurs through these,
they're what's called Automated Guided Vehicles.
It's the equivalent of a driverless forklift, if that makes sense.
Yeah, like an autonomous car, right?
It's like an autonomous car but it's a forklift.
Chris Lister runs operations here.
In order to transition the world to sustainable energy, we really needed to build this big,
build this boldly and really build as many battery cells as we possibly could to really accelerate this transition.
The factory operates 24/7, and Chris tells me he's seen explosive growth
in production output and new product innovation over the past year and a half.
Tesla expanded its workforce by 30% in 2018.
But it's also announced company-wide layoffs multiple times as well,
as it struggles to rein in costs while expanding in a relatively new industry.
But hiccups at the factory have caused significant production delays
and even sparked some safety concerns.
We're very committed to safety.
You'll see things like forklifts, and we saw auto guided vehicles.
For those who have never been in a factory environment before it's important to understand
how to operate safely, and as we scale up it's really important to think through with safety in mind.
Safety reminders are posted throughout the area.
I even noticed this sign as I entered the site.
So, who are the people working here?
The adjectives I would use to describe the people here: Passionate, scrappy, ambitious,
very excited to change the world.
But I don't see as many people as I expected.
Well, that's because automation is everywhere you look.
I don't see a lot of human labor in this part of the factory.
This area is actually about 90% automated.
Not every part of the factory is that way.
But the way we designed the drive unit, as you can see behind us, very modular stations,
that we swapped in and out where we've got redundancies, we have different technologies
that we employ here that make the drive unit final assembly very automatable.
Chris tells me the area we're in is 90% automated.
But they've had to back off in other areas and add more humans back in.
It's easier to grab things like hoses out of mid air and attach them together
as a person looking at those, as opposed to trying to get a robot to do that.
He says automation makes sense in portions of the production
that are highly repetitive with less variables overall.
Not everything has to be automated to make an optimal end-to-end manufacturing solution.
I take a break from my tour, because, well, it's lunchtime.
Apparently today there's a big sale on merchandise for employees, so there is a line out the door
of people waiting to buy things like hats, gloves, shirts.
I don't think I'm eligible for an employee discount though.
So, it's lunchtime at the Gigafactory.
In addition to the food trucks outside, there's also this cafeteria here,
where you can get things like soups, salads, but I'm going to get a burrito bowl.
So, lunch cost me $9.68.
Where do I go?
This is a lot of soda options, it says the Gigafactory here.
There's a ton of options of Jones Soda, it's almost like the Giga Jones soda counter.
After lunch, I head to the rooftop to see how the factory is building its solar panels.
Although, it's only just started.
Tesla says that once completed the Gigafactory will completely run off of renewable energy.
Not just solar, but wind too.
And once the production is finally finished,
this is expected to be the largest rooftop solar array in the world.
That means 200,000 tiles on this roof alone.
It aims to be a net-zero factory when finished.
That means the total amount of energy used by the building will be
about equal to the amount of renewable energy created on site.
I end the day where all the different pieces of manufacturing come together.
You know those rides at the carnival you pay to flip you?
Probably some of the same principles designed into those.
This is the final area where the drive unit is assembled.
What you see behind us is a high-speed crane system, where we're able to get
different variance down to this floor, very very quickly.
This elevator system goes up and down three floors and it's basically an automated warehouse.
Once the battery packs and motors are completed they're brought to this area where they're
then loaded onto these semi-trucks behind me and then transported to Fremont, California,
which is about a 4-hour drive from here.
And then from there, they're assembled into vehicles.
Every hour, trailers get dispatched to California.
Chris tells me that they're taking the things they've learned here to use in the new Shanghai factory.
In fact, they're aiming to make these operations the model for all future Gigafactories.
Elon Musk says there could eventually be 10 to 12 Gigafactories around the world.
This Gigafactory is an exciting thing to be part of and so many people
have invested so much of their lives into making this successful, it's a very prideful thing.
This is a great thing for the city of Reno, this is a great thing for the state of Nevada,
this is a great thing for the world.
As I end my day taking a spin in the Model 3,
I'm reminded of the reason why this entire operation exists in the first place.
Elon Musk's ambitious plan for Tesla and its Gigafactories is beginning to take shape,
but with plenty of construction and adjustments still ahead, the road to achieving that vision has just begun.
Hey guys, it's Uptin. Thanks so much for watching!
Let me know what you think about Tesla's business model in the comments below
and while you're at it subscribe to our channel.
We'll see you next time.


Take a tour inside Teslas first Gigafactory | CNBC Reports

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PENG 2019 年 5 月 3 日 に公開
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