Tesla’s Gigafactory in Las Vegas is a crucial part of the company’s ambitious plan to manufacture more than 500,000 cars annually by 2018. Though Tesla’s initial goal was to reach the 500,000 milestone by 2020, the company earlier this year decided to put even more pressure upon itself by accelerating its production goal a full two years ahead of time. As for how the Gigafactory fits into this equation, well, it’s really quite simple. To manufacture cars at the scale Tesla envisions, the company needs an insane amount of batteries. Indeed, Tesla’s Gigafactory will ultimately double the current level of lithium-ion battery production across the world.

With Model 3 mass production on track to begin next month, Tesla CTO and all-around battery technology expert JB Straubel recently confirmed that Tesla has already begun producing lithium-ion batteries for the company’s forthcoming Model 3. Straubel’s remarks came over the weekend during an appearance at the Midwest Renewable Energy Association’s Energy Fair in Wisconsin.

Electrek notes:

Straubel said that they were “right now” starting the production lines for the new Model 3 battery cells and preparing to ramp then up as needed for the production of the car.

Tesla has designed a new battery module and pack architecture to use the 2170 battery cells in the Model 3. The cells are manufactured by Panasonic, while Tesla is in charge of manufacturing the modules and overall battery packs. Everything is done under one roof at Tesla’s Gigafactory 1 in Nevada.

On a related note, Tesla not too long ago released some specs for the Model 3, noting that the entry-level model will carry a range of 215 miles on a single charge.

For anyone interested, Straubel’s full presentation can be viewed below.

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