TWENTY MILES EAST of Sparks, Nevada, a factory is rising from the red dirt of the high desert. It doesn’t look like much yet, but this building, dubbed the Gigafactory, is the key to Elon Musk’s sweeping plan to remake transportation.
It’s where Tesla will build the batteries that power its electric vehicles. The company has long imported batteries from Asia, but if it is to meet its goal of producing 500,000 cars a year, it must build those batteries here.
The company expects to use more batteries in 2020 than were produced worldwide in 2013.
When finished, the Gigafactory will cover 5.8 million square feet. Musk, never given to understatement, promises it will be beautiful. Plans call for a jewel-shaped building topped by a roof glittering with solar panels.