In short: Tesla’s gigafactory in Nevada will continue to grow thanks to an additional infusion of money. The electric car maker has announced plans to invest more than $3.6 billion more in a massive 5.4 million square foot battery and component complex. The expansion requires two new facilities, including a 100 GWh 4680 cell plant capable of producing batteries sufficient for 1.5 million light-duty vehicles per year, and the company’s first large-scale Semi plant.
Tesla unveiled its 4680 battery format during its 2020 Battery Day keynote. The 46 mm x 80 mm cell size (hence the name 4680) provides five times more energy, six times more power and provides a 16 percent increase in power reserve thanks to the new design. .
Semi was introduced back in 2017 and was supposed to go into production in a couple of years. However, production will not begin until 2022, as Pepsi received its first production units at the end of last year. Others reportedly placed orders for Tesla Semi trucks include United Parcel Service and Walmart.
The estimated power reserve of the Semi is 500 miles, it consumes less than 2 kWh per mile and can restore 70 percent of the power reserve in a 30-minute charge. Tesla notes that charging with electricity is about 2.5 times cheaper per mile than refueling with diesel, and can save operators up to $200,000 during the first three years of ownership.
The expansion of the Gigafactory Nevada, located near Reno, will also create 3,000 new jobs.
Tesla currently operates five gigafactories worldwide with additional offices in New York, Austin and Shanghai. It is reported that the sixth plant is planned to be built in the northern Mexican state of Nuevo Leon.
In September, experts told Reuters that Tesla had problems with the dry coating method used in the production of 4680 batteries. Because the technology is so new and untested, the automaker has reportedly struggled to scale production to a level where significant savings could be made.