Come to Elon Musk's 'Grand Opening' Party in a Probably Unfinished Factory

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
come to elon musk s grand opening party in a probably unfinished factory

If you’re a Tesla owner who spent the past year diligently convincing your friends and family to join the club, clear your schedule for July 29.

The electric automaker recently mailed out invites to a grand opening party for its battery-producing Gigafactory, located (like a Bond villain’s lair) in the desert outside Reno, Nevada. The chances of guests being wowed by a fully operational factory humming with workers busily cranking out EV batteries is doubtful, though.

The letters, confirmed as legit after one was posted to Reddit, promise a swanky shindig in the $5 billion, 5.8 million square foot building. Stay at the Whitney Peak Hotel, folks — you’ll get a killer rate!

It’s an exclusive event. Only owners who referred more than five customers to the automaker get an invite.

Still, the term ‘grand opening’ needs a Gigafactory-sized grain of salt. Sure, Tesla plans to ramp up production to 500,000 units a year by 2018, and CEO Elon Musk is busy flinging money at potential problems with feverish gusto. That doesn’t mean guests at the July 29 party are going to see the finished product.

According to Bloomberg, the Gigafactory was only 14 percent completed at the beginning of the month, with 90 percent of existing interior areas under construction. Tesla representatives said that despite the accelerated schedule, vehicle batteries won’t roll out of the factory until the end of the year.

Gigafactory production is key to getting the Model 3 rolling out the door of Tesla’s California assembly plant on time. Musk wants at least 100,000 units of that model built by the end of 2017.

A lot of work can be accomplished in two months (see any World War Two engineering project as an example), but Musk’s Gigafactory soirée probably has more to do with shoring up public confidence in his company’s abilities than anything to do with concrete and steel.

[Sources: Bloomberg, Fortune] [Image: Tesla Motors]

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  • Shaker Shaker on Jun 01, 2016

    Another Space X booster successfully landed on a floating barge - tail first. This used to be the stuff of science fiction - now fact. I'm always pulling for this guy.

    • See 1 previous
    • Bunkie Bunkie on Jun 01, 2016

      @mcs You hit the nail on the head. SpaceX is, in some respects, a real throwback to the early days of American missile development. They are incredibly vertically-integrated. That's a concept that much of modern industry sees as outmoded, but it offers a huge advantage in quality control. Furthermore, SpaceX seems to be devoted to the notion of all-up testing, last successfully used by NASA on the Saturn V project which suffered exactly zero launch failures. All-up testing really needs to be examined by more organizations. We have made component testing into a doctrine with sometimes horrifying results. I'm sure that every individual subsystem created for the troubled F-35 was thoroughly tested using whatever test parameters were defined early in the project. Is it a surprise that when systems integration occurs, so many "we didn't realize that..." issues pop up? The Saturn V design and development, by contrast, was completely integrated from the start. It appears that SpaceX has adopted this philosophy. They are willing accept the risk of an occasional catastrophic launch failure (an RUD or "rapid unintentional disassembly" in rocket engineer parlance) in exchange for the advantages of all-up testing.

  • Bazza Bazza on Jun 01, 2016

    " witness the mAh-power of this fully charged and operational battery station!"

  • Lorenzo This series is epic, but I now fear you'll never get to the gigantic Falcon/Dart/Nova comparison.
  • Chris P Bacon Ford and GM have decided that if you can't beat 'em, join 'em. Odds are Chrysler/Cerberus/FCA/Stellantis is next to join in. If any of the companies like Electrify America had been even close to Tesla in reliability, we wouldn't be here.
  • Inside Looking Out China will decide which EV charging protocol will become world wide standard.
  • Chris P Bacon I see no reference to Sweden or South Carolina. I hate to assume, but is this thing built in China? I can't help but wonder if EVs would be more affordable to the masses if they weren't all stuffed full of horsepower most drivers will never use. How much could the price be reduced if it had, say, 200hp. Combined with the instant torque of an EV, that really is plenty of power for the daily commuter, which is what this vehicle really is.
  • Ajla It's weird how Polestar apparently has better BEVs than Volvo. And this is the same price as a Pilot and Plus optioned Polestar 2 AWD.