Video: One Year After First Tesla Gigafactory 4k Drone Video, Beautiful Followup Shows How Far Things Have Progressed

Nearly a year ago, we shared with you a gorgeous 4k video of the Tesla Gigafactory construction site taken by aerial photography specialists Above Reno. In addition to showcasing just how massive the Tesla Gigafactory site is where Tesla will make enormous amounts of lithium-ion battery cells every year, the video showed the breakneck speed at which Tesla had begun construction following the official groundbreaking at the site mid-2014.

This afternoon, Emory Peterson, boss man at Emory LLC (the company behind Above Reno) reached out to Transport Evolved to let us know he’s just completed editing a second Gigafactory drone video.

Before and after: these two photographs were taken about 9 months apart.

Before and after: these two photographs were taken about 9 months apart.

Just as beautiful as the first, the 4k flyby — filmed by one of the few legal drone camera operators in the area — shows an incredible amount of work on the Gigafactory site. Instead of makeshift parking lots and access roads in the dusty desert, there are now clearly-visible two-lane highways leading up to the Gigafactory site. There’s a painted parking with a handful of workers’ cars in it. And at one side of the facility, things look just about just about finished.

One end of the facility is pretty much completed.

One end of the facility is pretty much completed.

That ties in with what we know from Tesla — which is that the Gigafactory is already producing Tesla Energy battery packs for customers around the world. Although part of the facility is clearly now being used, the other end of the Gigafactory site remains something of a construction site, with the skeletal structure of the massive 1,000-acre facility still clearly visible.

Shot over the weekend — which is why there are so few vehicles on site — the fly-by might show Tesla’s impressive progress, but it also shows a lot of hard work to still be completed on the site. Indeed, at the unfinished end of the building, you can still clearly see foundation points which have yet to be build upon.

It’s something which hasn’t been lost on Peterson, who sent the following Tweet to Tesla CEO Elon Musk this afternoon.

That comment is in relation to a remark Musk made last year when the first video was posted on Transport Evolved. At the time, we’d commented that the skeletal structure showed how large the Gigafactory would eventually be, only to be correct by Musk who said that the video only covered 1/4 of the total planned construction.

The most recent video above shows that no further building erection has occurred — only a gradual completion of the structure we saw last year.

...the other end is still very much under construction.

…the other end is still very much under construction.

Does this mean that construction is running behind schedule, as certain recent rumors suggest?

Not exactly. You see, while Tesla has recently been quoted as having said that the Gigafactory won’t be fully completed until 2020, leading some to question if it is indeed behind schedule, Tesla clarified the situation earlier this week by explaining that it intends to build the Gigafactory facility in stages rather than all-at-once.

A statement released today by Tesla clarifies the situation and addresses concerns by some that Tesla was not fulfilling its promise to employ Nevada residents at the facility.

Tesla is currently ahead of schedule on both construction and production at the Gigafactory.  To date, we have built 1.9 million square feet of manufacturing space and have started production in a portion of the facility while equipment installation continues throughout other areas.  As stated previously, we will be building in phases over time and while our original forecast was to begin production in January, 2017, we actually started battery pack production in October, 2015, over a year ahead of schedule.

In terms of hiring, the Gigafactory will employee up to 6,500 people at full production. As we build the Gigafactory, Tesla continues to show an overwhelming commitment to the Nevada workforce. We have gone way beyond the state’s intention that 50% of the Gigafactory workforce be Nevada residents. Nevada residents currently comprise 80% of the construction workforce at the Gigafactory, and each and every contractor at the Gigafactory exceeds the 50% threshold. Additionally, 94% of Tesla employees at the Gigafactory are Nevada residents.

Based on the progress made between last year’s video and this year’s one, we think this particular portion of Gigafactory construction will be well and truly finished by the end of this year. If demand for Tesla’s upcoming Model 3 electric sedan — reservations for which are going live now — are high enough, we can see Tesla building a second portion of the Gigafactory fairly shortly.

But for now, we’re just going to sit back and enjoy the view — and suggest you do too.

Image credit: Above Reno (used with permission)


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  • Iain Baker

    I’ll be honest, I expected to see more PV Solar Panels on the roof…
    But aside from that, it’s looking impressive

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