Tesla has announced a big plan to expand its gigafactory in Nevada.
The Elon Musk-led electric vehicle company said Tuesday it will invest more than $3.6 billion to add two more production facilities at the site — one that will be the first high-volume plant for its recently launched Semi truck, and another to be produced. a new 4680 battery cell.
Tesla’s announcement will be welcomed by customers on the waiting list for the automaker’s new all-electric semi-electric truck. The company unveiled the vehicle in 2017, but the first one wasn’t delivered until late 2022 due to multiple production delays.
Pepsi was the first customer after ordering 100 of the trucks, and other customers include UPS, Walmart, food delivery company Sysco, and brewing firm Anheuser-Busch. The first production Semis have a range of 500 miles, although Tesla will also provide a version that can travel for 300 miles on a single charge.
As for the new cell factory, Tesla said it will have the capacity to produce enough batteries for two million light-duty vehicles each year. Tesla has found it challenging to ramp up production of the 4680 cell at its factories in Fremont, California, and Austin, Texas, according to a Reuters report. This appears to be because production techniques for making the larger cells have been difficult to scale up to the point where they are financially viable. However, the expansion of its Nevada factory suggests that the company is ready to make progress in that area.
The massive expansion will create 3,000 jobs, adding to the existing workforce of 11,000. Positions available include supervisors, technicians, and production associates. The Nevada site in its current state produces electric motors for the Model 3, as well as battery packs.
Tesla also has gigafactories in New York, Germany and China, and a new one came online last year in Texas.
The news of Tesla’s gigafactory expansion in Nevada comes as Musk defends himself in a San Francisco court against a class action lawsuit over his 2018 tweet about taking Tesla private. Investors claim the tweet cost them millions of dollars when a private deal failed, though Musk insists he did nothing wrong.