New drone footage shows massive progress on Tesla’s giant Gigafactory

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YouTube/Above Reno

Tesla is making progress on its massive battery cell production facility, the Gigafactory.

Tesla first broke ground on the Gigafactory in 2014 and plans to have it operating at full capacity in 2018. New drone footage shows us how much of the factory is already completed and provides a new level of appreciation for how huge the facility is.

Scroll down for a closer look:


Behold: Tesla’s Gigafactory in Sparks, Nevada.

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YouTube/Matthew Roberts

New drone footage shows that a large portion of the factory, which in total will stretch for about 6 million square feet, is already done.

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To put its size into perspective, that makes it the world’s largest building by footprint.
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YouTube/Matthew Roberts

But clearly, there’s still some more work that needs to be done. The factory is currently producing battery packs, but will begin producing battery cells in 2017. It won’t be fully operational until 2020.

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The factory will also come with a recycling system to recycle old battery packs.
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YouTube/Matthew Roberts

The drone footage really lets you appreciate how massive the Gigafactory is — those people on the roof look like ants!

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YouTube/Matthew Roberts

And you can also see just how large the campus is. The factory is located on a 3,000-acre plot of land.

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Tesla CEO Elon Musk has said that amount of land will allow Tesla to expand the factory by 50 or 100 times.
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YouTube/Matthew Roberts

“The Gigafactory, when it’s complete, will have the biggest footprint of any building in the world. Counting multiple levels it could be as much as 15 million square feet,” Musk said in an an interview with Leonardo DiCaprio for the documentary “Before the Flood.”

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YouTube/Matthew Roberts

Tesla said the factory will help reduce the price of its batteries by about 30% when it’s fully operational in 2020.

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YouTube/Matthew Roberts

Tesla will become the biggest producer of lithium-ion batteries once the factory is complete.

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Tesla is already the biggest consumer of lithium-ion on the planet, surpassing Apple and Samsung.
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YouTube/Matthew Roberts

But a building this big comes at a price — Tesla and its partners will invest a collective $5 billion in the factory by 2020.

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Tesla itself is investing $2 billion in the factory. Panasonic, which manufactures and supplies Tesla’s lithium-ion cells, will invest $1.6 billion.
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YouTube/Matthew Roberts

When complete, the factory will house around 6,500 employees. Robots will also perform some tasks.

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YouTube/Matthew Roberts

There are some other cool elements to Tesla’s Gigafactory campus that the drone footage didn’t pick up, like wild horses that roam the premises.

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AP/Scott Sonner

There’s also rail cars that transport the raw materials that will be turned into batteries.

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Reuters/Max Whittaker

Tesla plans to build another Gigafactory in Europe and will begin looking for a location for its second battery plant in 2017. Until then, take a look at the drone footage of Tesla’s very first Gigafactory.

A previous version of this article was written by Business Insider’s Cadie Thompson.