The Tesla Gigafactory’s Construction Just Passed $1 Billion


Tesla’s massive Gigafactory in Nevada just keeps getting bigger, and according to the most recent list of building permits filed for the expansive site in the desert, the construction contracts alone so far have passed $1 billion. In ways, it’s not surprising: when complete, the factory will be the world’s largest building, and it’s estimated that 100 Gigafactories would be enough to transition the world onto renewables.

In total, 153 permits have been filed with Storey County Community Development for the Electric Avenue property in McCarran over the past three years. The total valuation of the permits reaches nearly $1.03 billion.

But what’s striking about the list of permits is the number that make changes to a previous permit — essentially, a “welp, gotta tack this on too.” These addendums total up to a staggering $542.65 million, accounting for over half the entire permit values.

One addendum, issued on December 9, is worth $404 million. This is the fourth addendum to a permit issued on June 13, which began expansion of factory section D into section E.

To explain what this means, look at the picture below:

The gigafactory, as seen in a Tesla blog post in January, taken at an unknown time during construction. 


Each square block represents a section. The four sections with the white roofs are sections A to D. When compared to the first image, you’ll notice that the four sections are a sliver of the intended finished building, so there’s still a lot of work to be done.

The initial expansion permit into section E was valued at $63 million. Including the four addendums, the permits expanding section D into E come to over $481 million. Tesla has also received permits for section F construction. Section F-related permits currently total over $80 million.

Tesla has started using the completed areas to start producing “2170 cell” lithium-ion batteries for the Powerwall 2, Powerpack 2, and forthcoming Model 3 electric car.

It’s a lot of expensive work, but it’ll be worth it. “The exit rate of cells from Gigafactory will be faster than bullets from a machine gun,” CEO Elon Musk said during a SolarCity acquisition conference call in June.