An early look at Elon Musk's Gigafactory, a building that could change the world

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tesla gigafactory

Tesla Motors

Early concept art for Tesla's Gigafactory.

Everyone's excited about Tesla's new Model 3 car, but mass producing that electric vehicle is going to require a ton of batteries.

That's where Tesla's Gigafactory comes into play.

For those unfamiliar, Tesla describes its massive 5.5 million square-foot Gigafactory as a way to "accelerate the world's transition to sustainable transportation."

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The first Gigafactory, located outside Sparks, Nevada, is an ambitious manufacturing facility that plans to build batteries for Tesla's electric cars for the foreseeable future. To make these batteries, Tesla will use "economies of scale, innovative manufacturing, reduction of waste, and the simple optimization of locating most manufacturing process under one roof."

The Gigafactory is also notable since it will be powered completely by renewable energy, according to Tesla.

Tesla's first Gigafactory aims to start building battery cells by 2017, to coincide with the launch of the Model 3, reaching full capacity by 2020. But for now, all we can do is view the Gigafactory from the outside. And thanks to a drone pilot and his low-altitude quadrocopter, we can see how construction on the $5 billion building is coming along.

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