Tesla Gigafactory Looks Stunning in New Aerial Footage

Elon Musk's "machine that builds the machine" is coming together.

Tesla’s biggest factory is taking shape. The Gigafactory, a behemoth of a building situated in the Nevada desert, is expected to measure 5.8 million square feet when completed. Initial sections already started producing batteries back in January, but when complete, the entire factory will produce around 35 gigawatt-hours worth of energy storage per year. It will produce batteries at a rate faster than bullets leaving a machine gun. It’s potentially Tesla’s most ambitious project, and new drone footage reveals it’s taking shape.

On Thursday, YouTube user California Phantom shared aerial drone footage of construction, and it looks promising. The video is backed by audio from Before the Flood, a documentary on climate change presented by Leonardo DiCaprio, an issue the factory is designed to help solve.

It was only in November that drone footage showed the plant was a barebones operation, a far cry from the polished facility that stands in its place today. The current structure measures 1.9 million square feet, and with the multiple levels it provides 4.9 million square feet of operational space.

“The factory is coming along great with TONS of activity,” California Phantom said on the video page. “For those of you who have pre-ordered your Model 3; safe to say everything seems to be on schedule. The building is truly a sight to behold.”

Here’s how it looked in November:

Duncan Sinfield/YouTube

And here’s how it looks now:

Impressive work, eh?

It looks impressive, but there’s still work to be done. Here’s how the factory is expected to look when finished, complete with solar panels adorning the roof:

Now that's impressive.


Renewable energy is critical to the Gigafactory’s mission. With the projected annual output, Musk has claimed that 100 similarly-sized factories would be enough to transition the whole world onto renewables. The company plans three more Gigafactories, and third party competitors are also planning factories of a similar scale. These efforts could lead to a decentralized power grid supported by renewables.

“The advantage of solar and batteries is you can avoid building electricity plants at all,” Musk said in the Before the Flood documentary. “So you can be a remote village and have solar panels that charge a battery pack that then supplies power to the whole village without ever having to run thousands of miles of high voltage cable all over the place.”