Tesla's Gigafactory facility in Nevada is all about battery production, but it will have another, equally vital role in bringing the more affordable car to life.
After Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval brought it up in a speech, Tesla confirmed that the Gigafactory would be responsible for producing the Model 3's electric motors and transmissions when it enters production. The Model 3 is slated to start production later this year, with initial deliveries taking place toward the end of 2017.
Even better, this assembly will require some new jobs. Moving this part of production to the Gigafactory should add about 550 jobs there. Right now, about 1,000 full-time Tesla employees work at the facility, in addition to a number of Panasonic employees and construction workers still bolting the building together. When the Gigafactory is fully operational, there should be about 6,500 workers there.
The majority of Model 3 construction will take place at the rejiggered NUMMI facility in Fremont, California, which Tesla purchased after Toyota and General Motors left it vacant. The Gigafactory will build both the aforementioned parts, as well as the batteries that will give the car its stated 200-plus-mile range.
The Gigafactory is quite the endeavor. This billion-dollar project is a joint venture between Tesla and Panasonic, and it should help address the lithium-ion battery manufacturing shortage that prevents electric cars from being built in large quantities. Battery production is already underway, although it won't be running at full capacity for at least another year.