Tesla has a bunch of lofty goals for the next few years — and all of them rely on its massive battery plant known as the Gigafactory.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk has always been forthcoming about the size of the Gigafactory. He has said it will be the world’s largest building by footprint — big enough to fit 100 Boeing 747 jets. But from the ground, it can be difficult to appreciate the sheer size of the facility, which stretches 5.5 million square feet.
The Gigafactory will play a key role in helping Tesla meet its lofty goal of producing 500,000 vehicles annually in 2018, a five-fold production increase. The electric car maker is producing its lithium-ion batteries at the plant as part of a partnership with Panasonic.
The $6 billion plant doesn’t only supply the batteries for the Model S, Model X, and newly released Model 3 vehicles. It also supports Tesla’s growing energy division, which develops the company’s at-home battery, the Powerwall, and commercial battery, the Powerpack.
Tesla will aim to sell more Powerwall batteries now that it has entered the solar business with the launch of its solar roof product. The company acquired solar panel installer SolarCity in a deal worth $2.1 billion in November.
But Tesla is also making strides with its Powerpack projects — Tesla announced last Friday that it will build the world’s largest battery in Australia. The Powerpack system will store energy from a wind farm in South Australia to power up to 50,000 homes.
The Gigafactory is already producing batteries, but it won’t be fully operational until 2020. Tesla aims to build up to five Gigafactories and is interested in building its second one in Europe.
But Tesla is far from the only company making a big investment in battery production.
Daimler, Mercedes’ parent company, broke ground on its second battery plant in Germany in May, which will begin production in 2018. Chinese companies are also set to bury Tesla when it comes to battery production in 2021, Bloomberg reported.