Tesla has hired a new executive to lead the expansion of its Gigafactory Nevada site.
The EV maker last month recruited Michael Hildebrand for the role of “Leader of Gigafactory Nevada Expansion Engineering and Construction,” according to his LinkedIn profile seen by Electrek.
Hildebrand has almost three decades of experience in the pharmaceutical industry, where he led many manufacturing projects. He was most recently executive director of projects at Eli Lilly, where he spent the previous 19 years of his career.
The executive describes himself as a “highly motivated manufacturing operations leader with extensive capital project leadership and pharmaceutical manufacturing operations senior leadership experience.”
Hopefully, the fact Tesla has hired a new experienced manufacturing executive means that the expansion of Gigafactory Nevada will finally start to show some progress. In January, the EV maker announced a massive $3.6 billion expansion for the site to add high-volume production of Tesla Semi and 4680 battery cells in two new manufacturing facilities.
Tesla said the new factories would be part of Giga Nevada’s Phase 2 expansion, adding 4 million square feet of new manufacturing footprint to the site and creating 3,000 jobs, in addition to the approximately 11,000 current jobs at the site.
The EV maker said the new 4680 cell factory would have an annual capacity of 100 Gigawatt-hours, enough to produce batteries for 1.5 million light duty vehicles annually. In the longterm, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said the 4680 cell manufacturing facility in Nevada could achieve production as high as 500 GWh a year.
Gigafactory Nevada is currently about 30 percent complete and builds battery cells as part of a joint venture with Panasonic. Until recently, the plant also made Megapacks, but it stopped making them in early May, with production reportedly moving to Tesla’s Lathrop Megafactory in California.
In light of the $3.6 billion investment announced at the start of the year, Gigafactory Nevada will have a critical role for the Tesla Semi and 4680 cell programs. The new investment will add to the $6.2 billion Tesla has invested in Gigafactory Nevada since the plant opened in July 2016.