Tesla has finally set a date to give its massive130-acre Nevada Gigafactory an official debut where the electric automaker will manufacture the batteries for its vehicles. Though the Nevada-based facility has been partially operational since a few months, it was only recently that the electric car maker completed 14 percent of the factory.
According to reports, the electric automaker plans to hold a grand opening ceremony on July 29 to officially open the facility. So far, the invites for the event has been sent only to a few VIPs and customers, who received invitations to the event by referring five customers through the company's Model S sales referral program. The electric car maker has also confirmed that it will hold a customer-focused launch of the factory.
Tesla has not actually revealed what exactly will take place at the opening ceremony, though this would be the first time that customers will get to see what's inside the factory. The Reno, Nevada based factory’s construction began in June 2014, and the costs for foundation alone reached an estimated $16 million.
While the automaker’s Gigafactory isn't due to begin manufacturing of lithium ion cells until 2017, the company hosted some events in those areas where it has completed construction. One was in March with SolarCity where it discussed the future of solar power in Nevada with state legislators.
The facility is already manufacturing batteries, which is being sold to utilities, companies and building owners, who can then make use of the batteries to store solar energy at night to better manage the power grids. The factory is actually designed to be a net-zero energy facility, meaning it will be powered by renewable energy resources such as solar, wind and geothermal energy.
The electric car maker aims to reach a yearly production of 50 GWh batteries, which will be sufficient for 500,000 vehicles. The new in-house manufacturing will both boost vehicle production and reduce the cost for consumers. It has also come out with an advanced recycling system that will gather lithium, nickel and aluminum and use them in new batteries.
The total cost of the facility is set to be $5 billion and currently Panasonic is supplying the facility with equipment for battery production. The factory will focus on producing batteries for Tesla's electric vehicles, including the recently launched Model 3 ($35,000), Model S ($80,000) and Model X ($150,000).