Tesla officially opened the company’s newest vehicle production facility in Austin, Texas this April. The new factory, called Giga Texas, initially started production with the refreshed Model Y with 4680 cells and a structural battery pack.
Currently, Tesla has been selling this new version of the Model Y for a little more than 8 months. And to the disappointment of a lot of people, the refreshed Model Y did not live up to the hype of the 4680 cells and the structural pack architecture.
According to Tesla’s Battery Day presentation, the new cells together with a structural battery pack were expected to increase vehicle range by as much as 54% and improve performance by decreasing the weight of the vehicle.
However, from early owners of the refreshed Model Y, we know the vehicle has a 279-mile EPA range, 5 seconds 0 to 60 time, and a starting price of $60,000.
In comparison, the Model Y Long Range, which is a version of the all-electric crossover produced at Tesla’s Fremont California plant, and that ships with the EV maker’s last generation 2170 cells, has a 330-mile EPA range, 4.8 seconds 0 to 60 time, and after a series of price increases has a starting price of $68,000.
This, at least on paper, has made the Model Y Long Range a more compelling vehicle to get over the refreshed Model Y with the 4680 cells.
And lucky for those interested in the Model Y Long Range, a few months back we reported Tesla has made its first delivery of a Model Y Long Range produced at Giga Texas.
The new vehicle produced at Tesla’s Austin facility is practically identical to the Model Y Long Range produced at the Fremont plant. The new Giga Texas Model Y uses the same 2170 cells, has similar specs, and the only differences are in small interior features.
The reason Tesla is operating two Model Y production lines, with fundamentally different architectures is that the EV maker has had difficulties ramping up 4680 cell production. As a result, until Tesla figures out high volume production of the 4680 cells, the EV maker has to produce vehicles with the last generation 2170 cells as a stopgap.
For this reason, Tesla’s decision to build the 2170 Model Y in Giga Texas makes a lot of sense. However, what has been incredible is the level at which Tesla has been able to ramp 2170 Model Y production at Giga Texas.
According to Tesla’s official Twitter page, only eight months after the inauguration and five months after beginning a second production line, this week Giga Texas has been able to reach a production rate of 3000 Model Ys per week.
In the announcement, Tesla congratulated the Giga Texas team that was able to achieve this feat and together shared a picture of the hard-working Tesla Giga Texas employees.
This is certainly exciting and suggests Giga Texas has already reached a production rate of 150,000 vehicles a year. Just to put this into context, 150,000 vehicles a year is 50% more than all the vehicles Tesla was able to produce only 5 years ago.
Having said that, 150,000 vehicles a year is still a tiny amount compared to Giga Texas’ full potential. When Tesla first opened the plant with the Cyber Rodeo party, Elon Musk said this is the largest production facility in the world.
At the time Musk compared the factory with some of the largest buildings in the world. For example, Musk said Giga Texas is 3 times the size of the Pentagon which in its own right is one of the largest buildings in the world.
This means when fully built out Giga Texas has the potential to reach a production rate of more than 1 million vehicles a year. Currently, it’s impossible to say how quickly Giga Texas will reach this scale however, we will be sure to keep you posted as Tesla increases production capacity.
Until then, make sure to visit our site torquenews.com/Tesla regularly for the latest updates.
So what do you think? Excited to learn Tesla was able to grow Giga Texas’ production to 3000 vehicles a week only months after its inauguration? Also, how long do you think it’ll take for the plant to reach a production rate of more than 1 million vehicles a year? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.
Image: Courtesy of Tesla
For more information check out: Tesla's Christmas Gift to Electric Vehicle Owners: The Holiday Update
Tinsae Aregay has been following Tesla and The evolution of the EV space on a daily basis for several years. He covers everything about Tesla from the cars to Elon Musk, the energy business, and autonomy. Follow Tinsae on Twitter at @TinsaeAregay for daily Tesla news.