Tesla is adding production for Model 3 electric motors and gearbox components to its Nevada-based Gigafactory, expanding the production by 550 new jobs and an extra $350 million USD in investment.
Tesla’s Gigafactory began production on lithium-ion batteries earlier this month and currently employs 1,000 full-time workers and 2,000 construction workers.
The factory is approximately one-third complete with 4.9 million square feet of operational space. When the project is complete, it is expected to reach over 10 million square feet of operational space, spanning, as The Verge notes, the size of 107 NFL football fields.
In creating the factory, Tesla agreed to create 6,500 jobs in the state, receiving an incentive package that totalled $1.3 billion USD in value return.
The company hopes to boost its production to 500,000 cars per year by 2018, and the Gigafactory is a necessary step in those plans.
In November 2016, the company released a blog post announcing its acquisition of automated manufacturing company Grohmann Engineering that put emphasis on the importance of developing its factory.
“As the machine that builds the machine, our factories are so important that we believe they will ultimately deserve an order of magnitude more attention in engineering than what they produce,” says the post.
“At very high production volumes, the factory becomes more of a product than the product itself.”