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Most of us perceive Tesla as a company that makes cars and great software for them. But Tesla also manufactures energy storage and solar-related products. Behind the scenes, Tesla is working on its own batteries, which are likely to soon start production. With the spotlight on its premium vehicles and software, though, we all forget about Tesla's largest and most complex product: Gigafactories.
Gigafactory is the product even more than the car— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 15, 2020
We know Tesla is a company that responds rapidly to arising situations, and corrects these issues at lightning speed. It does not need long months of discussion to take action; solutions are often rendered immediately after a problem is recognized.
This quality allows Tesla to quickly build new plants and expand production. Giga Shanghai began production in less than a year after the start of construction. This is an unprecedented feat for the automotive industry. For example, a new Volvo plant in South Carolina took about two years to move from construction to production.
Another distinguishing feature of Tesla Gigafactories is the intelligent automation of the production process. After all, the entirety of the company's cars are produced through a combination of artificial intelligence and automation. Robots are building robots.
By 2018, Tesla's factory in Fremont, California was already one of the most advanced automobile plants in the world. The company has clearly dedicated itself to--simply put--creating the world's most automated production systems. Most factory workforce is already trained in advanced skills unique to Tesla’s production processes.
The company's secret is that the factories are autonomous. Gigafactories have all the necessary equipment to independently produce the components for their products. Much of Tesla's supply chain is owned by the company. And each unit in the company's supply chain makes its own products. Products are then combined to meet a common need.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk is actively developing solutions for industrial automation. He acknowledges that intelligent automation--to reduce costs and increase efficiency--requires new approaches and a constantly revised, forward-looking vision for an automated future. This is why Tesla's factories are so different from factories of other automakers.