Tesla Scrambles To Finish ‘Gigafactory’ to Meet Model 3 Launch Date

Tesla Motors has yet to deliver its electric vehicles on schedule and has struggled to build them.

Now the California auto manufacturer is reportedly behind the proverbial eight ball again

In a recent interview with the New York Times, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said the company is scrambling to finish the $5 billion gigafactory in Sparks, Nevada in time for the $35,000 Model 3 debut in late 2017.

According to a report by the Wall Street Journal, Tesla has doubled the construction workers to 1,000 who work seven days a week on two shifts in an effort to start rolling out lithium-ion cells by late 2016.

“We have to be ready with cell and pack production well ahead of vehicle production,” JB Straubel, Tesla’s chief technical officer and co-founder, told the Journal. “We’re accelerating our construction plans and accelerating our planned ramp up of cell production.”

SEE ALSO: Workers Walk Off Tesla Gigafactory Site Over Hiring Practices

Earlier this year, Tesla opened reservations for the Model 3 with demand so strong Musk pulled a 500,000 sales target ahead by two years.

Confounding the problem even more is battery partner Panasonic Corp. is struggling to find qualified workers with manufacturing abilities to manufacture battery cells.

The massive battery factory, which sits on more than 3,000 acres, will offer 13 million square feet of work space when completed.

At present, the structure is less than one-sixth of the size the final building. Finished is a four-story rectangular portion of the facility, totaling 1.9 million square feet.

The roof of the new factory may be covered in solar panels with a solar-panel field nearby to provide additional power to the factory.

Once the factory is completed, Musk says the plant will be capable of producing an overall 105 gigawatt hours of battery cells by 2020, or enough to power 1.2 million Model S sedans.

A grand opening for the gigafactory takes place this Friday.

Wall Street Journal