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Tesla aims to have 20,000 employees at Gigafactory 1, could invest in local housing, says Elon Musk

Tesla Gigafactory 1 in Nevada is already the world’s largest battery factory, but CEO Elon Musk wants to expand it significantly.

He is now talking about having up to 20,000 employees at the factory – twice as many as the company previously guided.

The CEO made the comment at a small technology and innovation summit with Governor Sandoval at the factory yesterday.

At the summit, Musk sat down with Governor Sandoval to discuss why Tesla chose Nevada to build Gigafactory 1.

He reiterated that he believes Nevada is a “get it done state” and that it’s a place that “feels like freedom.”

When discussing future opportunities in the region, Musk stated that he sees the workforce growing significantly at the factory.

As we reported based on the most recent data from the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, Tesla Gigafactory 1 now employs over 3,000 workers.

But that report is always about six months behind. Musk claimed at the meeting that roughly 7,000 people currently work at Gigafactory 1 and sees the workforce growing “to upward of 20,000 in the future.”

Previously, Tesla has only mentioned a potential workforce of about 10,000 workers at most.

Tesla’s CEO and Governor Sandoval discussed what it would take to support this growth.

Musk believes that housing and infrastructure are the biggest constraints and he said Tesla is considering investing itself in local housings (via Las Vegas Review-Journal):

“The biggest constraint on growth here is housing and infrastructure. We’re looking at creating a housing compound on site at the Gigafactory, using kind of high-quality mobile homes,”

The battery factory is located in a relatively remote industrial park in the desert about 25 miles outside of Reno.

Local real-estate prices and rent increased significantly over the last few years as Tesla and several other companies came to the industrial park.

The vacancy rate for apartments is reportedly less than 2% and average monthly rent increased by over 50% in just 6 years to now an average of $1,318, according to real estate appraiser Johnson Perkins Griffin.

A similar situation is happening with home prices, which are at an all-time high in the Reno-Sparks region.

It doesn’t look like it will slow down if Tesla aims to more than double its workforce in the next few years.

Originally, the plant was supposed to produce 35 GWh of battery cells and 50 GWh of battery packs. The first projected headcount was at about 4,000 workers.

The company later claimed to have found ways to improve efficiency and increase production capacity to 105 GWh of battery cells and 150 GWh of battery packs within the same structure.

At that point, Tesla was talking about ~10,000 employees.

Tesla recently claimed to be at 20 GWh of battery production and plans to ramp up to 35 GWh by the end of the year.

Here’s a quick video of the interview at Gigafactory 1 from yesterday:

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