There is nothing cheap, easy, or quick about building a factory, let alone a Gigafactory. However, Tesla’s Gigafactory 3 in Shanghai amazingly completed construction within 11 months, all thanks to the EV automaker’s professional planning and management process. Now, it seems Berlin’s Gigafactory (known as Gigafactory 4) could surpass that timeframe. There has been rapid progress since construction started in June 2020 and even more development since mid-August.
The Giga Berlin construction team is making leaps and bounds with the north and south walls of the Drive Unit nearing completion and with the installation of the roof.
The Paint Shop’s progress shows it now also has more walls and a roof. As quoted by Musk in April this year,
“Giga Berlin will have the world’s most advanced paint shop, with more layers of stunning colors that subtly change with curvature.”
Musk has also said that Tesla’s paint shop at the Fremont Tesla Factory and Tesla Gigafactory 3 in Shanghai will both be getting upgrades too.
Berlin grants Tesla early construction permit
Today, Berlin granted Tesla permission for the early construction of piling to accelerate the global transition to sustainable energy. German officials have approved the construction of additional sites on Giga Berlin’s territory. The permit consents to install driven piles as part of the foundation and allows the water supply and power lines to be switched on.
Tesla is cutting back on the concrete piles that reach groundwater 1,500 to only about 550. Only the Press Shop will be built on piles and the Casting will use different technology to be constructed. These environmental changes are a result of the concerns raised regarding the impact on nature and groundwater. Tesla doesn’t mind because it also brings a big cost saving.
Although there is only an estimated count of one hundred workers on the Giga Berlin site, it is expected to increase significantly once internal work begins. An employee has commented that the construction project is rigorously supervised by Tesla and US-based representatives live on European time to coordinate daily work being carried out in Berlin. It is also reported than Tesla boss, Elon Musk, keeps his finger on the pulse by regularly being in contact with the construction site.
Meticulous project management is probably something we would expect from the EV giant who prides itself on efficiency and successful projects. While it may seem Tesla runs things with an iron fist, one of the builders commended the working atmosphere saying it is better than anything he ever experienced with a German project before.
The Gigafactory in Berlin will manufacture batteries, battery packs, powertrains, and seats with work including casting, stamping, painting, drivetrain assembly, and the final assembly of Model 3, Model Y, and future models. The estimated cost for the factory is around €4 billion and is expected to begin operation in July 2021…or at this rate, perhaps sooner.
How many Gigafactories are there?
Tesla operates eight factories worldwide. But there are five Tesla Gigafactories with a lot more planned in the future:
- Giga Nevada (Gigafactory 1) completed in 2016 in Storey County, Nevada, USA for the production of the lithium-ion battery and electric vehicle subassembly.
- Giga New York (Gigafactory 2) completed in 2017 in Buffalo, New York, USA is a photovoltaic (PV) cell factory.
- Giga Shanghai (Gigafactory 3) completed in 2019 in Shanghai, China produces the final assemblies of the Tesla Model 3 and will produce Tesla Model Y in the future.
- Giga Texas (Gigafactory 5 or Cybertruck Gigafactory) is currently under construction in Austin, Texas, USA. It is planned to be the main factory for the Tesla Cybertruck and the Tesla Semi, and it will also produce Model 3 and Model Y cars for the Eastern United States.