Designboom exaggerates a bit with their title Construction progress of the world's largest building: Tesla's gigafactory in Reno, Nevada; Tesla says it will have a footprint approaching 10 million square feet while the Aalsmeer Flower Auction Building is 10.6 million square feet. But who cares, it is still huge. (Mike shared earlier area data that contradicts this)
It's not very pretty either, a big plain box sitting in the desert. The drone operator here is no Duncan Sinfield and the building is no Apple Campus 2, but still it's very impressive. According to Dana Hull of Bloomberg,
Tesla says that the Gigafactory is designed to reduce battery costs by at least 30 percent, with capacity to produce 35 gigawatt-hours of battery cells and 50 gigawatt-hours of battery packs per year. (“Giga” is a unit of measurement that represents billions: 1 GWh is the equivalent of consuming, or generating, 1 billion watts for one hour.)
Just last week, Elon Musk announced that he was going to produce 500,000 cars every year starting in 2018, which is pretty insane. He's quoted in Bloomberg:
"Tesla is going to be hell-bent on becoming the best manufacturer on Earth," Musk said during an earnings conference call Wednesday. "My desk is at the end of the production line. I have a sleeping bag and a conference room adjacent to the production line, which I use quite frequently. The whole team is super focused."
However Tom Randall of Bloomberg also notes that " Tesla has never managed to hit one of Musk's timelines for a new product launch. Not once." The number, 500,000 sounds daunting, borderline on impossible, but the largest car plant in the world turns out three times that many for Hyundai, and a single Ford plant in Kansas City turns out 460,000, so perhaps it isn't as outlandish as it seems.
And is there demand for all those electric cars, twice as many as were built in the entire world last year? I know it is just anecdata, but I was at a dinner party on Saturday night where three of the guests had put down deposits on Model 3s and are counting the days. And another guest arrived in his Model S.