Elon Musk's Master Plan to accelerate the world's transition to sustainable energy is becoming reality. Tesla and Panasonic have officially kicked off the mass production of lithium-ion battery cells at the massive Gigafactory outside Sparks, Nevada.
"Tesla's mission is to accelerate the world's transition to sustainable energy through increasingly affordable electric vehicles in addition to renewable energy generation and storage," the company announced in a blog post on Wednesday. "At the heart of these products are batteries."
The high-performance cylindrical "2170 cell" was jointly developed by Tesla and Panasonic engineers. The cells will be used for Tesla's suite of battery storage products, the Powerwall 2 and Powerpack 2, as well as the company's mass-market electric car, the Model 3.
Tesla's highly vaunted Gigafactory is currently being built in phases so that the company and its partners can manufacture products while the building continues to expand. Construction is expected for completion by 2018, at which point the Gigafactory stands to claim the title of world's largest building by footprint.
According to Electrek, "Tesla aims for the Gigafactory to become the biggest building in the world by footprint at 5.8 million square feet and second largest building in the world by total square footage of over 13 million."
Tesla touts that its current structure already has a footprint of 1.9 million square feet, which houses 4.9 million square feet of operational space across several floors.
"And we are still less than 30 percent done," the firm adds.
Not only that, as EcoWatch reported in July, the enormous building will be powered 100 percent by renewables such as solar, wind and geothermal, and will feature energy-storage technology. The company also plans for the building to achieve net zero energy.
Tesla built the Gigafactory in order to fast-track a cleaner, more sustainable future.
"With the Gigafactory online and ramping up production, our cost of battery cells will significantly decline due to increasing automation and process design to enhance yield, lowered capital investment per Wh of production, the simple optimization of locating most manufacturing processes under one roof, and economies of scale," the company explained in the blog post.
"By bringing down the cost of batteries, we can make our products available to more and more people, allowing us to make the biggest possible impact on transitioning the world to sustainable energy."
Tesla said that bringing cell production to the U.S. will create thousands of American jobs.
"In 2017 alone, Tesla and Panasonic will hire several thousand local employees and at peak production, the Gigafactory will directly employ 6,500 people and indirectly create between 20,000 to 30,000 additional jobs in the surrounding regions," the company said.