Tesla to open lithium-ion battery factory ahead of schedule

Tesla to open lithium-ion battery factory ahead of schedule

Energy storage giant Tesla Motors, Inc. (NASDAQ:TSLA) has doubled its labour force for the construction of a US$5 billion lithium-ion battery factory in the Nevada desert, with the goal of opening it years ahead of schedule.

Telsa wants to have the “Gigafactory” ready for the launch of its Model 3, a $35,000 car meant to be a more affordable version of its high-end electric sedans and sports cars by next year.

The project’s original completion date was expected to be in 2020, but Tesla CEO Elon Musk now has 1,000 construction workers on two shifts, seven days a week.

The plant is located on 3,000 acres and is now around one-sixth its final size. Once completed, Tesla plans the 13 million-square foot plant to produce more lithium-ion batteries than the total produced worldwide in 2013.

The ramp up of Gigafactory’s construction and production is essential to help the company meet a goal of reaching a 500,000-unit annual vehicle production pace over the next two years.

Tesla’s manufacturing team in Fremont, California is currently working to fill the 400,000 advance orders received for the company’s $35,000 Model 3 electric sedan planned for 2017.

Tesla will hold a “grand opening” of the Gigafactory later this week.