Tesla’s gigafactory will make batteries in 2016 for Model S & X

Tesla is moving incredibly fast on getting its massive battery factory built. According to the company’s recent annual filing, Tesla plans to produce batteries in the factory as early as 2016 for its Model S and Model X cars initially. So yeah, next year. The site only broke ground in the summer of 2014.

Ultimately Tesla needs the gigafactory to reduce the costs of its batteries by 30 percent for its third-generation car the Model 3, which is supposed to be significantly less expensive than the Model S and the X. The Model 3 is targeted to launch in 2017 and the gigafactory is supposed to be able to reach large-scale production of batteries by 2020.

But getting the battery factory built out enough to produce batteries by next year shows the extremely fast pace at which Tesla is now moving. Because the battery factory is a new facility, and Tesla has limited experience being a battery manufacturer, Tesla needs to be able to produce batteries significantly before its Model 3 launch in 2017 — it needs to test them, and make sure they’re operating correctly. So using them in earlier models, and not first in the Model 3, makes sense.

Local resident Bob Tregilus took these photos of progress on the gigafactory two days ago and you can see that some of the buildings are starting to be framed and roofed. Tesla has a deal with Panasonic to partner on the battery factory, but will likely bring in other partners as well.